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jade, 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. The commoner and less costly variety of jade is nephrite, a calcium magnesium iron silicate of varying composition, white to dark green in color. Jade has been prized by the Chinese and Japanese, as well as by pre-Colombian Mesoamerican peoples, as the most precious of all gems. The Chinese in particular are known for the objets d'art they carve from it, and they traditionally associated it with the five cardinal virtues: charity, modesty, courage, justice, and wisdom; they also attributed healing powers to it. It was much used for implements by ancient peoples, especially in Mexico, Switzerland, France, Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and New Zealand. Jadeite is found in upper Myanmar, in Japan, and in Guatemala; nephrite in New Zealand, Turkistan, Siberia, China, Silesia, Wyoming, California, and British Columbia.


See S. C. Nott, Chinese Jade throughout the Ages (2d ed. 1962); R. Gump, Jade (1962); J. M. Hartman, Chinese Jade of Five Centuries (1969, repr. 1987); G. Wills, Jade of the East (1972); A. Levy and C. Scott-Clark, The Stone of Heaven (2002).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Greek nephros, “kidney”; in antiquity it was believed to be a remedy for kidney disease), a mineral variety of actinolite and tremolite, occurring as a compact microcrystalline aggregate with a minutely fibrous, felted structure. Extremely tough, nephrite readily acquires a polish. Its color varies from milky white or greenish to dark green, sometimes exhibiting mottled patterns owing to the inclusion of other minerals. It has been valued as a semiprecious stone since antiquity; tools and art objects have been fashioned out of it in various countries, particularly China, Burma, and India.

Nephrite is formed during the metamorphism of basic rocks, such as serpentinites and pyroxene and amphibole schists. It is generally extracted from alluvial deposits, where it occurs in the form of pebbles and large boulders. Major deposits of the mineral are found in the USSR (Vostochnyi Saian, the Baikal Region), China (Kunlun Mountains, basins of the Ho-t’ien and Yarkand rivers), New Zealand, and Polynesia.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An exceptionally tough, compact, fine-grained, greenish or bluish amphibole constituting the less valuable type of jade; formerly worn as a remedy for kidney diseases. Also known as greenstone; kidney stone.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nephrite: can be backed at 20-1 for the 2,000 Guineas
The Smithsonian specimens included diamonds from Texas, Indiana and Brazil, a kunzite from Pala, two faceted kunzites from North Carolina (!), two faceted vesuvianites from Italy, a Michigan copper, Siberian nephrite, numerous uraniferous specimens from Czechoslovakia and Germany, and a synthetic emerald from I.
He looked good on his debut before pulling muscles when beaten by Nephrite, but I just get the strong impression that the Oxx team have a higher opinion of Akeed Mofeed and at 16-1 he's worth backing.
Sea The Stars' half-brother was sent off the 8-11 favourite to add to his Listed debut victory, but found Nephrite, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by son Joseph (inset), a length and a half too strong.
Addressing a news conference at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday, tribal elder Daud Mohmand said that local tribesmen had developed serious differences over the ownership of nephrite mines but the administration was reluctant to resolve the issue.
These include salt, coal, copper, gold, iron, chromite, bauxite and various gemstones like peridot, aquamarine, topaz, ruby, emerald, rare-earth minerals bastnaesite, xenotime, sphene, tourmaline, jade, onyx, marble, granite nephrite and many types of quartz.
A silver and nephrite heart-shaped box containing a bean carried by the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean Islands to the Isle of Uist is estimated at PS300-PS500.
Dagger (khankjar), mid 17th century, Mughal, India, nephrite steel, rubies, ht 34.5cm; scabbard, 19th century, India, wood, textile, gold.
Similarly the region is rich in Gypsum with 200 million tons, Chromite 10, Manganese 5, Silica Sand 600, Dolomite 11, Quartz 3, Cement grade limestone 800, Laterite 20, and Nephrite 10 million tons respectively.
Nephrite, an iron silicate, is another form of jade, and was an important material in Chinese art for more than 1,000 years.
The same dealer has a King George VI coronation royal trumpeter brooch set throughout with sapphires, rubies and diamonds mounted in 18ct gold by the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company Ltd, and dating from 1937, while a pretty pair of 14 carat white gold lily of the valley earrings set with brilliant and single-cut diamonds, cultured pearls and nephrite, is on sale with Antwerp dealers Precious Flora.
Also found were a slate blade (as on Saddle Island), a nephrite drill, a hammerstone, reworked chert fragments, and a steatite pendant associated with a string of seal vertebrae.