Jade / by Janice Christensen-Heller

We got in some new jade pieces and decided to do a post about jade.

The name "jade" originates from the Spanish "piedra de ijada", meaning "stone for the pain in the side". It was named by Spanish explorers who saw natives of Central America (Mayans and Aztecs) holding pieces of jade to their sides, believing that it would cure their ills.

The term jade is applied to two types of metamorphic rock, nephrite and jadeite. For thousands of years they have been used for tools, jewelry and ornaments.

Nephrite is more common than jadeite and deposits have been found in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, Zimbabwe, Russia, Taiwan, Alaska and Poland. The main source of jadeite is Myanmar (Burma). Jadeite is also found in Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Cuba and the USA.

In the history of the art of the Chinese empire, jade has had a special significance, comparable with that of gold and diamonds in the West. Jade was used for the finest objects and cult figures, and for grave furnishings for high-ranking members of the imperial family.

In Maori culture, jade objects were believed to have their own mana and were handed down as valuable heirlooms, often given as gifts to seal important agreements.

Jade is an ancient symbol of love and virtue. Ancient people thought that wearing jade would increase body strength and add longevity.