Mineral Class: Amphibole/Pyroxene
Crystal System: Monoclinic
Luster: Vitreous to Waxy
Diaphaneity: Translucent to Opaque
Source: China, Italy, Middle East, Myanmar, Russia, and USA
Jade refers to a green ornamental mineral used prolifically in Asian cultures throughout the ages, as well in numerous other cultures, notably in mesoamerica. Jade can also be referring to nephrite, as well as Jadeite. Nephrite consists of a microcrystalline interlocking fibrous matrix of calcium, magnesium-iron rich amphibole, ferro actinolite. The higher the iron content, the greener the color. Jadeite by contrast is a sodium- and aluminium-rich pyroxene. The precious form of Jadeite Jade is a microcrystalline interlocking growth of Jadeite crystals.
We know Jade has been used by human cultures since at least the neolithic age, where now depleted deposits in China existed close to the Yangtze river. We have archaeological evidence of Jade being mined as far back as 6000 BC in multiple parts of China and Mongolia. Jade is seen in prominence in China, as well as in Ancient Korea, India and parts of the Caucasus regions. Jade has been used in the past for ornamentation of rulers and noble classes, as well as decoration for temples and weapons. Archaeologists now know Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines as well numerous other cultures in Southeast Asia used Jade in their daily lives for ornamentation as well as offerings in religious effigies and ceremonies.