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Difference Between Nephrite and Jadeite

Nephrite vs Jadeite
 

• Jade is a generic name, whereas jadeite and nephrite are the two minerals that are referred to as jade.

• Jadeite is denser and harder than nephrite.

• Jadeite has grainy crystals inside while nephrite has fibrous crystals.

• Jadeite has a range of colors while nephrite is mainly found in cream and green colors.

 

The world of gemstones is a fascinating one with so many shapes and colors of stones. Jade is one gemstone that is known to the mankind since ancient times. However, it was discovered only as late as 1863 that two distinct minerals by the name of nephrite and jadeite were actually referred to by the same generic name Jade. In fact, there are thousands of people around the world who think the other variety to be not jade or fake jade if they have or bought one variety of jade. There are also people who find it hard to distinguish between jadeite and nephrite because of their similar appearances. This article takes a closer look at the two forms of the same gemstone jade by highlighting their differences.

Nephrite

Nephrite is a mineral that is found on earth more often than jadeite. It is available in many different colors though dark to mid green and grey green are the common colors of this form of jade gemstone. One can even find a reddish, yellowish or whitish nephrite. As far as hardness is concerned, nephrite gets a score of 6-6.5 on Mohs scale. Nephrite is an iron silicate containing magnesium and calcium. It has a density of 2.9-3.0 g/cm3. The form of jade that comes from China is all nephrite. Chinese revere nephrite since ages.

Jadeite

Jadeite is the 2nd form in which jade is found on earth. It is, however, found much less on earth than Nephrite. This is why it is more expensive than nephrite. Burma is one country where jadeite is found in abundance. Jadeite has a score of 6.5-7 on Mohs scale. It has a chemical composition that is quite different from that of nephrite as it is a silicate of aluminum and also contains sodium. Jadeite has a density of 3.3-3.38 g/cm3. The internal structure of jadeite is such that it is full of grainy crystals. Though jadeite is also found in green color like nephrite, it can also be found in red, yellow, orange, black, lavender, and brown colors. Because jadeite comes mainly from Burma, it is also sometimes referred to as Burmese jade.

The value of a jadeite is dependent upon its transparency and intensity of color. The more transparent a jadeite is the more expensive it is. Opaque jadeite can be very cheap. Imperial jade is the name of the most expensive jadeite that comes in medium green color. It is semitransparent and has an even color.

Nephrite vs Jadeite

• Jade is a generic name, whereas jadeite and nephrite are the two minerals that are referred to as jade.

• Jadeite is an aluminum silicate whereas nephrite is an iron silicate.

• Nephrite is found more commonly on earth than jadeite.

• Jadeite is denser than nephrite.

• Jadeite is harder than nephrite.

• Jadeite has grainy crystals inside while nephrite has fibrous crystals.

• Nephrite comes mainly from China while jadeite comes mainly from Burma.

• Jadeite is rarer and more expensive than nephrite.

• Jadeite has a range of colors while nephrite is mainly found in cream and green colors.


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