Jade Jewellery

All about jade and jade jewellery


Pantone LLC,  the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, picked out ‘Pantone Margarita’ (a refreshing yellow-green) in its trends report for 2012 last winter, along with ‘Pantone Cockatoo’ (a turquoise blue-green), hence our flurry of recent turquoise jewellery editions and our new found love of jade jewellery.   Indeed, Sugarpuss has been open now for about 4 years but this is the first year we’ve incorporated jade into our collections – and both types of jade, in fact: nephrite jade and jadeite jade (or ‘a-jade’, as its sometimes known).

If you’re unfamiliar with gemstones, you’d be forgiven for thinking that jade is jade – a green stone that people often use for carving.  And that’s correct to a point but jade actually comes in a vast array of different shades and colours and is split into the two types above, as they have slightly different chemical compositions.  Indeed, the most valuable type of jade is most often ‘a-jade’ or jadeite, as it is less plentiful than nephrite jade and slightly higher up the Mohs scale (hardness scale).  Good quality nephrite jade, however, can also be costly, so long as the fibres are tough and interlocking and, this, suitable for carving and setting.

For those who like ‘the science bit’ (and being Big Bang Theory geeky, we do):



Chemical composition Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si6O22(OH) NaAISi2O6
Mineral composition Amphibole Group Pyroxene Group
Crystalline structure fibrous micro-granular
Hardness 6-6.5 6.5-7
Specific gravity 2.9-3.1 around 3.33
Refractive index 1.62 1.65-1.66
Polished surface Smooth with a waxy sheen Hard, with lustre
Common colours Evenly distributed; translucent
white, dark green, black
Spotty or clustered distribution; white, grey, green

Both types of jade are graded according to ‘The Three T’s’:

Tone – describes the specific colour grade. The finest colours are bright and true from a distance, being free of brown and grey tones.

Texture – this runs from fine to coarse, with specimens that are clear and free of irregularities being the most valuable.

Translucency – this runs from transparent to opaque and, as with most gemstones, the more transparent a piece of jade (so that it is clear and resembles fine honey) the more valuable.

Because we love contemporary jewellery, however, and because another huge jewellery trend this year is natural forms (think hammered/textured shard beads, Herkimer diamonds and geode slices), we’ve not just stuck to introducing the precious emerald green variety of jade so often sort after, but varied our choices.  Take this designer jadeite necklace, for instance,  with it’s lovely natural shading between white and green (which gives a great almost ‘dip-dyed’ look):

The necklace is a one off design and probably the darling of our current jade offerings.  We haven’t seen any other jade briolettes like this one but if we ever find a pair suitable for earrings, we’ll be snapping them up!

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