There are two types of jade: jadeite and nephrite. The name jade originated with the Portuguese phrase piedre de ilharga meaning “stone of the loins” describing its use to relieve kidney problems. In Spanish it is piedra de ijade and French piedra de l’ejade. Nephrite comes from the Greek nephros meaning kidney. Lapis nephriticus is Latin for stone of the kidney.

Both types of jade are technically rocks made up of microscopic interlocking crystals. Jadeite has a slightly more coarse crystalline structure.

Nephrite is the jade that was used in ancient China as early as 3000 B.C.E. It was a status symbol and believed to endow powers of immortality. For these reasons it was used in the tombs of emperors and other important people. It was also a symbol of love and virtue. While the ancient Chinese were familiar with jadeite, they did not consider it “real” jade and preferred their nephrite.

In the Americas, jadeite was used by Aztecs, Olmecs and Mayans for adornment and carvings. In Europe, jadeite axes and tools date back to the Neolithic period. It was also popular through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Today it is the jadeite that is generally considered the “real” jade. There are three grades of jade: “A” jade is a natural stone with no enhancements, “B” jade is stone that has been treated to diminish any secondary colors; “C” jade is artificially colored.

A plethora of imitators exist. These include aventurine, carnelian, chrysoprase, emerald, garnet, jasper, quartz, glass, plastic and others.

Jade has been called the “stone of fidelity” because of its connection with love and virtue. It is also called a “dream stone” as it aids in remembering dreams. Like herkimer diamond it can be placed under your pillow for dream work. Unlike herkimer diamond it does not need a companion stone to soothe the energy. Jade promotes peace and harmony, and is connected with longevity. It helps in finding wisdom to solve problems and bring good luck.

Color(s) - Jadeite – black, brown, green, lavender, red, white, yellow

Nephrite – black, brown, green, red, white, yellow

Associations - Aries, Gemini, Libra, Taurus; crown chakra; Neptune, Venus; yin

Uses - harmony; partners/love; wisdom; longevity; solve problems/bring luck