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Jadeite Jade and Nephrite Jade: The Two Types of Jade Gemstones

Jadeite Jade and Nephrite Jade: The Two Types of Jade Gemstones

Although all jades may appear to be the same due to their vibrant green color, there are two different types of jade. They differ in the way they were formed, and thus their values may be massively different. These two types of jade are nephrite jade and jadeite jade. You're probably wondering how we would know which jade is which and what makes them distinct? 


With a glance, you can tell that the jadeite has a vibrant green color, whereas the nephrite is more dark and dull. That is one of the distinct differences in appearance, but sometimes it is hard to tell as very high quality nephrite can also appear to be as vibrant.


The Differences Between Jadeite and Nephrite

A chart displaying the differences in hardness, density, and chemistry of jadeite and nephrite.

Jadeite jade is brighter and harder than nephrite jade because the crystal structures of the two types of jade are very different. While jadeite has a structure composed of an arrangement of grainy crystals, nephrite is composed of fibrous crystals that interlock in a matted texture. These densely packed and interwoven fibers are extremely fracture resistant. While jadeite is the denser and harder of the two jades, nephrite is the tougher of the two. Nephrite jade is more common and widely used, but jadeite is rarer and more valuable. As a result, jadeite is often more expensive than nephrite. That being said, jadeite jade is the more valuable and sought-after variety of the two. It is far rarer than nephrite and commands much higher prices. 


Nephrite and jadeite have different variations in their crystal structures, which makes their texture different. The chemical makeup of nephrite jade is calcium magnesium iron silicate while the chemical makeup of jadeite jade is sodium aluminum silicate. As a result, nephrite jade’s interwoven structure does not make it as smooth as jadeite jade, but it does make itself tougher despite not being as hard as jadeite jade. As a result, jadeite is more valuable because its internal crystal formation allows for finer and smoother surfaces. You can learn more about what makes jade valuable here.


No matter the type, authentic jade stones are valuable and extremely beautiful. As such, jade jewelry is always a great choice. Always purchase jade from a reputable seller such as here at Dahlia so you can ensure that the jade you’re purchasing is what it’s claimed to be. Be sure to look up the history of the jeweler to ensure that they know how to correctly inspect jade. You can be assured that Dahlia jade is real jade.


In our blogs, we tend to focus more on jadeite jade rather than nephrite because Dahlia sells jadeite jade jewelry.


Curious about more information on jade? Interested in purchasing your personal jadeite jade jewelry? Visit us at 

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  • Angela Hu