Jade is the common name for one of the most beautiful green stones in the gem world. Green Jade comes in two varieties, but Jade is available from nature in white, gray, black, reddish-orange, violet, and yellow also. Greens can range from apple green to moss to emerald color, which gets its deep shade from chromium in the Jade. Most people think of green Jade, the variety known as Nephrite, which is usually spinach green to dark green, or white, reddish, or yellowish. The rarer, and thus more costly, Jadeite comes in more colors, including pink, black and violet. Both Jades are more valuable when the color is uniformly dispersed within the nearly opaque, softly lustered stone. The complex color hues of this gemstone make it desirable for feminine styles of jewelry, often coupled with silver and gold, and nicely contrasted with coral, opal, sugilite, onyx, and chalcedonies. Jade is sometimes treated with wax or resin, and some less perfectly colored stones may be dyed to improve shade uniformity.
The deep greens of Nephrite Jade may be grass or apple green or darker, thicker emerald color. This intense color has little transparency and is not often faceted for gemstones, but the sheer beauty of the exquisite greens offsets those features. This deep green stone may have swirls of darker and lighter colors, similar to malachite (without the extensive darker banding), and may be carved, polished into cabochons, teardrop or cylinder shapes, or made into bangles.
Jadeite ranks 6.5-7 on the Mohs Scale and is harder than Nephrite (5.5-6). It is most commonly seen in pale, aventurine green colors of green with variegated luster that may run from slightly yellow-orange to nearly moonstone white. White Jadeite was often carved during Chinese history into fanciful dragons and figurines for the royal families. Traditionally, both types of Jade have played an important part in the history of Chinese and other Asian countries, with one type of rarest being called Imperial Jade.