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Enhanced jade and semi-jade

When GE made their jadeite they first had to make a glass of the
right stoichiometry and then that was heated under a pressure of
several GPa. That is hundreds of times greater pressure than you
need for forming your amphibolites. They also only made pieces
about 1mm thick and these werent homogenous. 

Perhaps then they are trying to perfect the purest of the jade
minerals with colourants (or colorants bilingually-speaking). The
result would be the highest grade “created” jade stones in the world
which could sell very well to the Hong Kong billionaires who have
residences in Vancouver (like Mr. Li and Mr. Ho). And I am still
curious as to which jade would rate the highest in value. Indeed if
we relax the coloration ratio and find that jade is better enhanced
as a rock than a mineral, we may discover that there are a lot more
than two jades. For example what would a high Cr % do to the colour
green? HIgh Se? Mg? Ga? Also does Al have a sort of “alloy” effect,
strengthening the gem?

Yes that is likely too low for melting jade as solid or crushed rock
but jade powder would allow the heat to reach liberated silicates
with their lower melting temperature.

Would this “enhanced jade” still be “jade”? That depends on your
definition. That is why I keep saying on Orchid that definitions are
not an idle armchair pursuit as they are part of a very useful and
practical exercise in taxonomy and nomenclature.

Send me a few grams of powder this summer and I will test it in my
kiln. I will mail back the glass. You can judge for yourself if it
is still “jade” or whatever after comparing the exact same mixes in
your oven. I make the same offer to any Orchidian who has the
temerity to smash up some nice jewelry-grade jade (I did it
reluctantly). I would also like to co-operate on batch assays at
Acme (they assay as small as one gram which makes mailing cheap and
easy).

You say you want to enhance your jade by making it clearer. The
assays prove that high quality BC jade is >90% NOT
actinolite/tremolite so why not throw in some plain old quartz
(powdered) and use your oven? Does the jade definition break down?
That depends on the definition of course. You have lots of green and
purple river stone chalcedony in Washington State so try that for
allochromatic colouring. Do you find any pink rhodonite? I find very
little here in the Fraser River.

Leaming refers to ongoing research with colour and hardness
enhancement of jade. No doubt the researchers are also considering
other enhancements as well. Given that H can be increased 50% as
Leaming reports why not jade rock strength or toughness? Can you get
an enhancing alloy effect (strengthening) with your oven? Does Al
work as an alloy?

The proven petrological picture is that jade as found in BC’s
leading jewelry souces is a ROCK and not a mineral. The assays are
extremely helpful in establishing a mineral ratio of >90% NOT being
actinolite/tremolite. My best guesses? Feldspar, corundum and
hornblende. Your guess? How much is quartz? Quartz may give you
better idiochromatic (light absorbing) effects and other lighting
effects as well as mineral/element colour-mixing (allochromatic)
effects.

Since jade can still be jade with that >90% other-mineral content,
what minerals are allowed in idiochromatic and allochromatic
anhancement? Why not quartz? That is not a rhetorical question since
it is central to the enhancement topic. I would very much like
somebody on Orchid to answer and suggest the ratios allowed without
deviating from “true” jade.

Had a good laugh about your adventures with the modern day
moonshiners. I have faced bears over my 50 years of prospecting but
never bears with a belly full of wacky tobacco. When I was young and
not so smart I had no fear of bears in the woods because I thought
they were friendly. Since they did not smell fear they probably
figured I was inedible. BC free enterprisers guard their wilderness
crops by putting bear feeds in the middle of them. But bears are
omnivores so why would they not eat cannabis too? Hey, why not
diversify and plant some other fun herbs like loco weed with its
Selenium mineral enhancement? Even our brave RCMP do not want to
mess with “Herby the Bear” (cousin of Smoky the Bear).

Peter,

you can define it as you like but the only characteristic any person
buying it would be interested in is the colour. Yes, you get
monomineralic rocks that are valued because they are just that,
marble being the commonest example. You claim about jade being a rock
is not a point that anyone will argue against, the argument is
whether you have jade because you havent offered any characterisation
that would enable people to agree with the common definition of jade.

Your assays dont prove the presence or absence of amphiboles because
your analysis is a whole rock chemical analysis that determines the
presence or absence of selected elements and their weight percent
content where present, commonly expressed as an oxide. This tells
you nothing about the rystallography so your assumptions about the
amphiboles can only be validated by other methods which can include
very simple observation and comparison.

Your continued reference to superjade and increases in hardness are
meaningless unless you have a reference point. For example, what is
the Knoop hardness of the before and after? Is the reference realy
to do with toughness or fracure hardeness which are different things
to most points of reference to hardness of rocks. There are other
measurements such as point load strength and rebound hardness which
can be done as field tests.

Again, I ask what is the point of “stone enhancement” when applied
to amphiboles? Why would anyone spend a fortune doing it as there is
no commercial outlet. My point was that synthetic sapphires are a
sideline for a commercial process. Cubic Zirconia is the same,
no-one invented it to make a diamond substitute for jewellery, its
optical properties are a useful way of making sure you have your
stoichiometric mix of zirconia and yttria for making fuel cells,
artificial hip joints and the like.

Your kiln will melt glazes. It is supposed to. Most pottery glazes
are mixes of silica, fledspar, a flux such as barite or borax and
metal oxides for colour. Put together in a big enough quantity and
cool it slowly enough and you wont get a glass because it will
devitrify and you get a man-made rock. You can get natural glasses
that melt at 900 deg C and those that melt at 1400 deg C. A magma is
a body of molten or semi-molten rock. However, vey few rocks make
glazes on their own because of different rates of thermal expansion.

You can melt most things in your kiln but all you will get is a blob
of black, brown or green glass. Glass composition can be anything,
it just has no crystal structure.

I is easy to get prettier things than you can find in a shop but
that doesnt make it saleable. CZ can be much better in cut and
clarity than diamond but cost a few cents a cart because no-one will
pay more because it ISNT diamond. Diamonds arent that rare, nor is
gold but people like it because it is what it is.

I can only conclude that your amphibolite deposit is just that and
therefore not worth persuing for the reasons oft repeated, it isnt
jade.

Any other experiment you do will never make jade because it wont be
jade any more than synthetic corundum is ruby.

TO pressurise your material you need an isostatic press. They cost
about $100000 second hand.

Nick Royall

Thank you for the feedback which I will summarize since Orchid
understandably edits such a large volume of mail for brevity. Just
say so if any of this precis is in error.

re "the common definition of jade" (your expression): 

The assays I posted to Orchid were from the business which is as far
as I know BC’s leading jade firm, supplying to Canadian and
international markets. They also state the mine source.

-> and “your assays dont prove the presence or absence of
amphiboles”

I do not think this jeweller wants to pack up a multi-million dollar
business which has been here for decades so I will take their word
for it that this is jade. I will not say the same for “jade” in some
gift shops. The assays prove that the actinolite-tremolite
amphiboles cannot be present in amounts exceeding 10%.

Given that, I predicted that jade would assay as a rock rather than
a mineral and the results confirm my prediction but I did not expect
it to be so dramatic. I gave the atomic mass numbers and put my
calculations online. They prove that well over 90% of that jade is
NOT actinolite-tremolite.

Your continued reference to superjade and increases in hardness
are meaningless unless you have a reference point. 

I agree.

Leaming’s book refers repeatedly to attempts by researchers to
enhance jade. Colour and hardness seem to be the main variables of
enhancement. But why not patterning as well? Toughness?
“Carvability”? Transparency-translucency? Other? Given that “junk
jade” is very common in BC and Washington State, enhancement
research is worth the effort IMO. Leaming has a lot to say about
junk jade.

The reference point most broadly is THE DEFINITION OF JADE. I will
put one forward. You or others are invited to improve it.

Jade is a ROCK which carries actinolite-tremolite and also has an
aesthetics making it valuable to stone cutters.

Now as far as aesthetics are concerned, Rock 9 and I share an
interest with Leaming et al in enhancing jade without having to sell
the farm and buy a $100,000 press. One question then is whether the
definition of jade above holds up if you partially melt jade in a
kiln. If yes, the partial melting may enhance pattern or
transparency. What is that >90% in my jade rock? Quartz? Feldpar?
Aluminum oxide? All three are readily available, cheap and one could
experiment with them in jade mixes for many years. And then there
are other minerals which could be added to the 90%+ in the mix.

Another Orchid thread is on low-cost kiln-making. Google on
"Inproheat" in Vancouver, They sell high temperature mortar mix
(just add water) which will do up to 2500 F at about $1/lb. I am
getting some to make a “sagger” (a kiln within a kiln) for my
experiments.

I would guess that for less than $100 one could also make a small
free-standing kiln maybe one cu ft and put a torch through a bottom
hole with a small gas escape at top but that depends on how
insulating the mortar is. There are also insulating fabrics on the
market. A smaller chamber inside the one cu ft kiln would hold a
sample of pottery or metal or glass. Russian doll model?

I am interested in anyone else’s kiln experiments with jade. Given
that actinolite-tremolite is one of the asbestos minerals and the
subject of an even bigger mass action law suit than tobacco though,
let’s be aware of the health issues in this research.

I do not think this jeweller wants to pack up a multi-million
dollar business which has been here for decades so I will take
their word for it that this is jade. 

I just can’t take it anymore. Jade does not exist, it is a trade
name, which is used to describe low quality jadeite, nephrite, and
any rock resembling the two. Talking about jade as gemstone is like
talking about Loch Ness Monster been a fish. None of them is real.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

Disagree Leonid. Having spent half my life in Asia, patrolling the
jewelry districts, discussing stones and lapidary processes with
hundreds of Chinese, Korean and Japanese friends, Jade is much more
than a trade name. The word “Jade” is believed to derive from the
Spanish ‘ijado’ when the Spanish conquistadors came across the stone
in Mexico (and or Peru) and called it ‘piedra de ijado’. They were
describing the stone as it was used by the people of the region as ‘a
loin stone’ because it was worn around the loins to ward off sickness
and enhance sexual abilities.

The Chinese term “yu” (with a umlaut) describes a wide range of
similar stones based primarily on color (of which there were numerous
divisions). But, about 70-80% of these stones were either what we now
call nephrite (an amphibole) or jadite (a variety of pyroxene related
to the amphiboles).

Furthermore, the name has absolutely nothing to do with the quality
of the stone! I have seen ‘fei-tsui’ jade, which describes an emerald
color of jadite, as clear and transparent as an emerald. This stone
can go for thousands of dollars a gram!! The term ‘[fei-tsui’ refers
to the kingfisher bird that sports beautiful green feathers. On the
other hand, the more common ‘jade’ is usually lower quality nephrite
or jadite that can be afforded by the masses. Both are revered!

Do the Chinese confuse other stones as ‘jade’. Of course, but they
knew there were different types…just not as we defined it today.
For example, some very pure soap stone as sometimes called jade as is
very pure serpentine which seemed to be a major off shoot of ‘jade’!
Over centuries, the Chinese (to whom jade was more important than
other Asians) were able to separate ‘jade’ into various categories
and they had names that differentiated them. For the most part,
nephrite and jadite, as we call jade today, were the most important
to them.

At the very least the Chinese knew that their jade fish, while
perhaps cut from different but similar looking stones, were either
nephrite or jadite. Its was the foreigner who could not differentiate
them! Thats all their merchants cared about.

For further I would suggest referring to Jade of the
East by G. Wills, first published in 1972 by John Weatherhill, Inc. A
very scholarly work.

Cheers, from Don in SOFL.

I just can't take it anymore. Jade does not exist, it is a trade
name, which is used to describe low quality jadeite, nephrite, and
any rock resembling the two. Talking about jade as gemstone is
like talking about Loch Ness Monster been a fish. None of them is
real. 

What a breath of fresh air… expressed somewhat poetically. Agreed
that jade as a pure gemstone does not seem to exist; at least I do
not know where to find it. Is there any jeweller on Orchid who can
direct us to pure mineral jade? Yet something called jade does exist
in the stores and these BC guys have made millions from it so it must
be as real as the “pet rocks” sold when? Late 60’s? Speaking of pet
rocks, the little green bears are very popular. We have three of them
here. Little green men OTOH…

Agreed that what is sold as jade is typically “low quality ____”.
That low quality or low concentration explains perfectly the assays I
reported which prove that over 90% of this stone is rock and not a
pure mineral. That is also why I asked if anybody was up to speed on
the GE high temperature presses being used to make/enhance jade. Has
GE tried to make pure mineral jade with these presses as similar
equipment used to make synthetic diamonds, rubies and sapphires? Can
any jeweller attest to pure jade in nature? If not, synthetic pure
jade would rank high in rarity (and also expectedly in durability and
beauty).

So here is my definition of BC jade subject to improvement. BC jade
is ____

____low concentration mineral actinolite-tremolite which has
properties making it suitable for cutting and carving.

A sound definition leads us directly to the criteria for enhancement.
In reply to Denver Jeweller, given that there is millions to be made
in jade, why not more in “enhanced jade”? And yes, I have a market
even before I make it. When I have made my first jade million I will
post it to Orchid. Hey I paid attention in college when one of my
business profs came into class with emeralds he had made - enhanced
emerald.

For further I would suggest referring to Jade of the
East by G. Wills, first published in 1972 by John Weatherhill,
Inc. A very scholarly work. 

A lot of stones were called Jade throughout the history. A few
examples :

Aegirine Jade, African Jade, Alabaster Jade, Amber Jade, Black Jade,
Chicken Bone Jade, Blue Jade, and many others. The list is not
complete by any measure. None of these stones are even related to
Jadeite and Nephrite. I am sure that Jade has a reach lore, but
gemologically it is meaningless. Chinese say that beginning of wisdom
is calling things by their proper name. Let us all be wise.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

Peter,

yet again you latch on to a comment someone else makes and then make
it fit in to your thesis on your outcrop. Jade does exist as a
mineral, jadeite is a mineral. This is listed in the chemical
reference of minerals and is characterised properly. The rest of
which you speak is conjecture. You cannot characterise your find in
the way you do. You have not taken on board the points made about
the history of jade and what characteristics are prized throughout
history. If your outcrop fits the descriptions then it is jade. If
they do not then it isnt jade but amphibolite. Emeralds are not
emeralds beause they contain a certain percentage of silicon,
aluminium and chrome- green traffic lights fulfil that criterion
(and you can buy that from the street sellers of Nigeria as emerald
any day) but because they are a particular shade and intensity of
green beryl, a characterised and indexed mineral. Synthetic minerals
are worth nothing except for their industrial properties as explained
about synthetic corundum. Corundum, by the way is not made in a
press in the way diamonds used to be and GE gave up on making jadeite
because it was pontless other than as an interesting thing to do
once. Enhanced jade is a misnomer and again something that withered
on the vine. Nothing man made can ever rank in rarity because if
someone can make it then it can be repeated so becomes neither rare
or finite (antique value excepted).

You agree that most jade sold is low quality, how do you reach your
conclusion? Your qualification of this statement in concluding that
90% of this stone is rock is meaningless. It does not actually
quantify anything. If I said that 100% of wheels are round therefore
all round things are wheels and some could be made into enhanced
wheels you may very well ask why wheels for automobiles arent made
of glass marbles as they are harder and more beautiful than
vulcanised rubber. I bet your economics prof didnt make a fortune out
of his synthetic emerald because they were just that - synthetic. The
current cost for them is $2.50 a carat already cut. You will have to
get them for free and sell a ton of rough material to make your
million. If you get someone to cut them for you it is normally $9 a
carat cutting charges in Thailand (assuming 50% wastage of material)
so when you get to $1 million turnover at a sell price of $2.50/ct
you will have made a loss of $3.5 million on your free emaralds,
something your economics prof forgot to mention.

Peter, you will never outdo nature as I will never outrun Usain
Bolt. For that reason if I want to go somewhere I try to enjoy the
journey rather than trying to get there quicker than anyone else.

Nick Royall

Leonid, Of course there are lots of things called Jade that aren’t
jade! There are lots of things in the gem world that are called
something other than what they are, i.e. such as 'green amethyst’
etc. that are all bunk! It is up to the buyer to recognize something
for what it is. But that does not in any way diminish the fact, for
instance, that there is such a thing as amethyst! Confused yet? In
fact, there are names attached to ‘pretty things’ merely for
commercial purposes. If buyers fall for them, so much more for the
seller. This might explain your referral to ‘jade’ as merely a trade
name but why should that denigrate what has for centuries been
recognized as jade. As I said, even the Chinese have called many
things jade when they knew it was not. Story; way back in 1962 in
Taiwan, I looked at a carved Chinese belt buckle. From my experiences
with jade I determined it was not jade but a form of pure soap stone.
I told the merchant so and she insisted it was jade until I pulled
out my pen knife and began pealing pieces off. She realized it was,
in fact, not jade and she had been duped by a supplier. Now then, the
supplier MUST have known it was not jade, she was just not
knowledgeable enough to sort it out, while I had just enough
knowledge to recognize it for what it was.

Furthermore, all jade sold on the market is certainly not just ‘low
quality’. Of course there is a lot of ‘jades’ out there that are
questionable and many that are called something they are not. But,
as I said before, I have seen and handled jade that sells for
extremely high prices. Now are you certain that someone who is ready
to spend thousands of dollars for a fine jade piece is also ready to
throw their money away on a piece of junk? Do you believe they are
that ignorant of the item that they don’t recognize what they are
spending their money on? Not!!

Leonid, I have a rather modest jade collection from many places in
the world. Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, Canada, South American
Countries, Korea, Western USA, etc. I wouldn’t say it is low
quality!! Why? Because I have had the pleasure to see and cut all
qualities of jade from very low to quite high (though certainly not
the highest as it is siphoned off in places like the Hong Kong jade
auction). Do you think I am going to throw away my money on junk
jade? Not.

Gemologically speaking, there are many rocks, gems, or just plain
pretty stones that remain to be explained. Goodness, we can’t even
agree on the definition between precious gems and those that demand
high prices just because they are pretty! Precious stones or gems or
those non-precious but highly sought after, are about as nebulous
descriptions as there can be. That is why the Chinese are wise when
they point to a certain stone and call it Fei-Tsui jade as opposed
to a pretty green rock. They may not know the percentage of this
mineral/chemical or that in the stone but they are wise enough to
know what it is…to them! In fact, it is not possible for us all
to be so wise until we open our eyes and minds to that which we do
not fully understand and be tolerant of other’s wisdom!! Cheers from
Don in SOFL

Jade has 2 recognised forms- jadeite and nephrite. They are easily
characterised.

Could you then please correct my characterization (attempt at proper
naming) of jade which I posted to Orchid in reply to Leonid?

For example, what % actinolite-tremolite would you require for
accepting jade exported from BC to UK?

I have seen 'fei-tsui' jade, which describes an emerald color of
jadite, as clear and transparent as an emerald. This stone can go
for thousands of dollars a gram!! The term '[fei-tsui' refers to
the kingfisher bird that sports beautiful green feathers. On the
other hand, the more common 'jade' is usually lower quality
nephrite or jadite that can be afforded by the masses. Both are
revered! 

This intrigues me from the perspective of the definition or proper
naming of jade and enhancing the stone accordingly.

The chemical formula for the two identifying minerals is commonly
given. Would I be correct in thinking that the most valuable stone in
either case would be 100% pure mineral? Thus one scale of enhancement
and value for stone deposits all the way from outcroppings in the
field to jewelry store inventories would be 0-100% mineral content.

Chinese say that beginning of wisdom is calling things by their
proper name. Let us all be wise. 
  • From the book of Sayings of the Wise Leonid

Bulls eye, Oh Wise One. We must use the proper name for the
outcroppings which we find here in BC and which fellow prospector
Rock 9 also finds in Washington State. If you google on Cassiar
asbestos mine you will discover the surprising fact that jade was
discarded for 20 years until a mine mechanic and avid rockhound named
it for what it was. Then they found that the jade was worth more than
the asbestos.

Therefore I put forward a definition repeatedly and since nobody has
argued against it, do I take it that it is sound? Yes anything could
be called jade as hematite can be called black diamond so why not
call jade green diamond? Saying such things does not generate proper
names. It generates confusion. Also a fly by night gift store may
get away with calling ______ jade but a jeweller with a reputation
has an entire career and business to lose by playing fast and loose
with the proper name of jade or any other stone.

I crushed and assayed some nice looking drilled beads. The jeweller
who has a multi-millon dollar business to lose sells them as jade. I
was going to also assay one of the populat green bears but it was so
pretty I could not do it. If Rock 9 finds a quartz outcropping and
sells the claim as a gold deposit when it contains no gold what
happens to his business? There is an industry norm for the naming of
jade and again: enhancing jade follows from naming it correctly.

Is the following the proper name for what the assay results revealed
about good grade, jewelry store BC jade?

***** Jade is a stone may range from geological classification as
rock with less than 10% actinolite-tremolite mineralization to 100%
pure mineral and is also sufficiently aesthetic and durable to
warrant carving and cutting. *****

‘green amethyst’ is praseolite, or amethyst that has been heat
treated to turn is green. I am in the process of getting GIA
DIFINATION OF JADE

This might explain your referral to 'jade' as merely a trade name
but why should that denigrate what has for centuries been
recognized as jade. 

My problem as a gemologist is that if you ask me to describe jade
gemologically, I woud not be able to do it. Mineral samples which
called jade have different refractive induces, different densities,
different spectra, different reaction to UV, and etc. So
gemologically it does not exist. It may be possible to recognize it
by appearance, but that is not enough. If something is a gemological
entity, than it should be possible to assign to it a specific set of
gemological properties, but jade does not have any, and that is my
point.

I am not denying it’s existence as part of gemstone lore, history,
philosophy, metaphysics, and any other human endeavor. I am only
looking at it as gemological specimen, and as such it does not exist.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

Leonid,

I’m sorry. I don’t understand your position that jade does not have
gemological properties. Nephrite and jadeite have specific
identifying characteristics. No matter what other materials are
called jade, nephrite and jadeite have been considered gemologically
as the two varieties of jade, and can be distinguished by more than
appearance. Other materials are simply not jade.

Liddicoate, Handbook of Gem Identification: Nephrite Specific
gravity: 2.95 (+/-. 05) Refractive index. 1.616 (+/-.005) to 1.632
(+/-.008) (usually a broad reading at 1.61) Hardness 6 - 6.5 Most
commonly rough fracture with dull luster

Jadeite Specific gravity: 3.34 (+/-.04) Refractive Index 1.66
(+/-.007) Hardness 6.5 - 7 Spectroscope: strong sharp line at 437
nm, 3 chrome lines possible

In addition to these, The GIA Gem Property Chart A also has: Nephrite
often greasy or waxy luster, Spectra 500.0 line, fracture splintery
to granular, aggregate, long wave & short wave inert Jadeite often
greasy to waxy luster, fracture granular to splintery, aggregate,
long wave & short wave inert to strong ((whitish if present))

When you’re working with a material that is not a single crystal,
there will be variations in the readings… but within a specific
range, as shown above.

You may choose to follow your own unique system of gem
identification, but that doesn’t mean jade (nephrite or jadeite)
doesn’t exist, or can’t be identified by other systems.

Carol

Keith, Yes, ‘green amethyst is praseolite but for some commercial
money making reason, unscrupulous sellers continue to call it ‘green
amethyst’. Why? Because it appeals to the uninitiated, also known as
the unknowing, thats why. My point was, it is still being called
amethyst even tho it is not any longer since it was treated and the
’amethyst’ driven off.

Would be very interested to hear what you get from GIA on jade!

Cheers, Don.

Thanks Leonid for you explanation. Let me make a recommendation
however, to help everyone better understand the jades. Checking
through my library (again) I came across John Sinkankas’s excellent
description of jades in his 1959 edition of ‘Gemstones of North
America’, pages 236 thru 259. Rather than reiterate it here, suffice
to say he provides the specific compositions of both jadite and
nephrite in some detail and includes descriptions of variations
thereof. Fascinating as it has been a long time since I last came
across this explanation.

Check it out.
Cheers from Don in SOFL

It is my guess as well that degree of transparency of jade (or other
stones) is positively (but not perfectly) correlated with mineral
purity. Perhaps a quote from the Book of Sayings of the Wise Leonid
would also shed some light.

I may test that idea out with my next batch of assays. Here in BC we
have the Fraser River in which anyone can do recreational panning for
jade regardless of extant mineral or placer claims. Since jade is our
provincial stone, Premier Bennett put that right into law in 1968. If
you google on Lillooet jade you will see a number of samples of jade
river stones for sale. You can see that all are stranded and all are
opaque. However I find that heavier and more translucent pieces of
stone come out in panning and I am curious about the assays. They
could even be green garnet I suppose. All it takes is one gram to run
the assay at Acme lab (BTW tourists can also gather jade in the
Fraser but I do not know about export rights).

Despite the liberal definition of jade in some quarters of China
today, I can go to all sorts of reference works and our BC jade has a
defined mineral content. It is a necessary but not sufficient
condition that it contain the mineral actinolite-tremolite and this
chemical formula is given in many reference works as that of a
hydrous calcium-ferro-magnesian silicate. It seems the
actinolite-tremolite content could range from very small (far less
than 10%) to 100% and in the last case as I stated above I agree
that it would likely be translucent or transparent.

I think you also said the word “jade” does not have an established
gemology definition but IMO the sufficient condition for defining
jade would have to come from the gemology/jewelry field. IOW the
actinolite-tremolite rock or mineral would have to meet some kind of
aesthetic criterion. Do you agree? If so, how would it be stated?

I retract what I said earlier about being amenable to cutting or
carving as the aesthetic part of the definition. Those Lillooet river
stones on sale by WWW may never be cut or carved. They are naturally
river polished and their owners may enjoy them more in a natural
state. BTW I am not the seller of the Fraser River jade stones. I
have a couple of hundred pounds of Fraser River stones in my yard
which may be jade and I will cut them up this summer but I am not
selling them. I plan to use them for tiling in my own home.

Without defining characteristics of jade you would not have been
able to use that knife test effectively. The hardness of jade is not
found in soapstone.

I have some BC jade pieces here which I trust to be jade because it
looks and feels like jade and because of the reputation of the
jeweller.

I also have a nice looking stone block (tile) which is the base for
an excellent brass abacus. It was a gift to me, originally from a
Chinatown gift shop and I do not know the name of the shop. It is
opaque. It is greenish-blue in some kinds of light, otherwise dark
green. It has yellowish strands much like the WWW pictures of the
Lillooet Fraser River jade I cited earlier. Is it real nephrite jade?

If I am willing to smash it up I can find out. I would test it for
hardness and SG. If it has H 6-7 and SG 3+ I would say it passes.
Your opinion? I’m not so sure about shatter-resistance (toughness) as
the faults in a stone that size could cause it to shatter easily. I
found significant difference in how those two samples of BC
jewelry-store jade which I had assayed fared in shatter-resistance.
But both passed the assay test with similar amounts of Ca, Mg and Fe.
Given that both are jade, why the difference in the shatter test?
Faults maybe. Also maybe the chemical composition of the >90% which
is not actinolite-tremolite. And what about the degree of
intertwining for strength? Leaming emphasizes that feature but can
any test determine it? Leaming is silent. Other than that, what tests
would you or Leonid or Keith run before buying or selling more of
them?