Jade is the term applied to forms of jadeite and nephrite. These minerals are similar in appearance and a distinction between the two often was not made, but today it is jadeite that is considered the true jade and commands prices much higher than nephrite. Jadeite is a much more vivid green with finer translucency than nephrite.
The most valuable form of jade is known as imperial jade and comes from Burma, now known as Myanmar and is an emerald green color. Jades also appear in mottled green and white, and the rarer colors of yellow, pink, purple, and black. The range of greens are light to dark, creamy, grayish, and also white. A leek green variety called "Russian Jade" is found near Lake Baikal in Russia.
Jade is also found in Mexico, and Central and South America. Because of its smooth even texture, jade has long been a preferred material for carving and is usually cut into cabochons for jewelry.
Although color is the most important factor in considering value, translucency, texture, and pattern are important criteria. Jade is a 6 1/2-7 on the Mohs' scale.
Helps to protect the kidney, heart, larynx, liver, spleen, thymus, thyroid and strengthens the body. It also adds longevity. Jade is known as a symbol of love and virtue.