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Confused about Stone Names

Hi! I did search the archives on this one. It added more questions!

I need to find out what stone is currently being sold as “new jade”.
Its color ranges in shades of yellow green to a deeper shade of leaf
green. It is somewhat translucent is spots, milky and it has a
"greasy" feeling, but not as much as turquoise. It is not as heavy
as aventurine. This stone is not aventurine. I can tell that much.
In the archives it is called Serpentine. However, according to my
books Serpentine (I’ve seen it called Zebra Jasper) is heavily banded
and tends to break along the layers. "Green Jade " is much more
durable. It is not glass. It has neither bubbles or grains and feels
warmer to the touch.

Not having any formal gemological education or the tools to test this
stone any suggestion is greatly appreciated. I want to give my
customers the correct


Vera B.

Hi Vera, It could be chrysoprase, but you may have a bigger problem.
The Federal Trade Commission says that if you are in the business of
selling stones to someone there are some rules that apply. YOU are
responsible for accuracy and you can get into some deep trouble by
ignoring those rules. One unhappy person can easily cause a lawsuit
over what you thought was just a tiny transaction. Deal with
recognized dealers who can provide you with accurate and
you’ll be much better off. When people buy from you they have a right
to rely on what you say and to know that it’s accurate. In fact, it’s
the law.

Wayne Emery

Vera B and All, You have asked a very complex question. Several
mineral groups can look just like each other and still be quite
different. All the data I am about to give you comes from the book
"Description of Gem Materials" third edition by Glenn and Martha
Vargas. Jadeite is sodium aluminum silicate. Hardness 6.5 - 7,
fracture is splintery, streak is uncolored. Colors are white, gray,
green, blue, purple, reddish, and black. I have also seen yellow.
The stone is almost transparent to opaque and the feel is greasy to
vitreous. Nephrite is the second kind of jade. The chemical formula
is hydrous calcium magnesium iron silicate. Hardness is 6-6.5, the
fracture is splintery and the streak is uncolored. Colors are white,
shades of green, reddish, and black. The stone is translucent to
opaque. Luster is dull. Serpentine is the jade look a like. The
chemical formula is basic magnesium silicate. Hardness is 2.5-4,
rarely 5. Fracture is conchoidal to splintery and the streak is
white. Colors are leek to dark green, yellow, and brownish. It has a
greasy luster and is often substituted for jade. How do you tell one
apart from the other in a bin of slabs at a rock show? It is very
difficult. I once bought a 12 square inch slab of the most beautiful
green rock with flower inclusions in it. I thought it was
translucent Wyoming USA flower jade. I paid $75.00 US for the slab.
If it was jade the cabs would sell for over $100 each in 15 carat
sizes. It turned out to be beautiful serpentine. Cabs worth about
$10.00 US each. Lesson learned.

Gerry Galarneau

Hello Vera, I’ve seen “new jade” beads being sold by Fire Mountain
Gems They did have an
explanation in one of their catalogues as to what stone it actually
is. You might contact them (or whoever your supplier is) for the
Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Extension Associate
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681

Judy, Thank you for your suggestion. I did get the answer!! It was
right on my shelf all along… I didn’t think to look at the

So, here is the answer: The banded stone is called Zebra Jasper and
it comes from South Africa. The green “milky” stone is Serpentine,
or “New Jade”. Since I don’t like the name New Jade (it sounds like
a marketing ploy) I can now correctly inform my customers that it is

Thanks to all the folks that replied to my e-mail and to those who
make Orchid possible.

My special thanks to John Burgess in New Zealand.

Vera B.