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common name for either of two minerals used as gems. The rarer variety of jade is jadeite, a sodium aluminum silicate, NaAl(SiO3)2, usually white or green in color; the green variety is the more valuable.
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a mineral belonging to the group of alkaline clinopyroxenes; a silicate of so-called chain structure. Its chemical composition is NaAl[Si2O6], and it contains slight admixtures of CaO, FeO, and MgO. It usually forms very dense, grainy, tough cryptocrystalline masses that range in color from white and bluish white to apple green. The coloring is often spotty. Jadeite is semitranslucent and very similar to nephrite. Its hardness on the mineralogical scale is 6.5–7.0, and its density is 3,300–3,400 kg/m3.
Jadeite is rare. It forms in alkaline metamorphic rocks and, less frequently, in contact-metamorphic complexes of rock associated with alkaline metasomatism. The largest known deposits are in Burma. In the USSR it is found in Kazakhstan and in the Pamirs. It is a valuable industrial stone, which has been used since ancient times for jewelry and artistic and decorative articles.