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Jade ring durability?

Jade ring durability?

A friend of mine told me that he wants to get a jade ring for his
wedding band. This is a round circle of jade, not a stone mounted in
a metal mounting. I told him that I was concerned that a jade ring
would not be durable enough to wear every day for the long term, but
I am not certain. To complicate the matter, there are many jade
rings that may be flawed that only cost a few dollars. These cheep
jade rings may create a bad reputation for any high quality jade
rings that are made.

I told him that if he used Montana apple green nephrite, he would
have the strongest jade; in fact, he would have the strongest
gemstone. He would have a gemstone that is less prone to breaking
than diamonds or sapphires. I am still not certain that it would be
durable enough to use as a wedding band.

To complicate matters, he does not want the ring to be lined with
gold. He wants direct contact with the jade stone to his skin. He
asked if it were possible to put a gold band on the outside of the
jade. This leaves me with two questions.

  1. Would a high quality jade (nephrite) ring be durable enough to
    use as a wedding band?

  2. How can a gold band be put around the outside of a jade ring?

I have experience with nephrite. Let's be exact the other is
jadite, not jade. 

I once cut a black nephrite round band about 2 mm in breath and 1 mm
in thickness. In the process of cutting I dropped it on a concrete
floor. I heard a ‘ping’ as it hit the floor. I still have the ring
and it’s as new.

How can a gold band be put around the outside of a jade ring? 

You could cast a 18K band into which the nephrite band would fit. One
side of the band would have an edge equal to the thickness of the
nephrite. The other side would have an equivalent dimension of metal
sticking straight up ( L )which you could then hammer down to
enclose the nephrite band.

Just a thought.


Term Jade encompasses Nephrite and Jadeite.

Nephrite is the toughest of the two, but high quality Jadeite is
also very tough gem and in principal you have nothing to worry about.
However, cheap Jadeite is often treated to make him look like
expensive kind and those are brittle. Unless you have an expertise to
tell them apart, you better off with Nephrite.

The reason that your friend wants ring close to his skin, is because
high quality jadeite, also known as “Old Mine”, has a very silky feel
to it, so lining ring with gold would deprive him of that sensation.

If you still want to line the ring with gold, just make an insert
slightly wider than the ring and burnish the protruding edges until
they expand and lock on the sides of the ring.

Leonid Surpin

My jade ring has weathered about 45 years on my finger. It has an
open bezel setting of 14K gold just around the outside, not going to
the top or bottom basically just as an accent and it has worn very
well. It is Canadian Jade.

Calvin, no doubt you’ll get a few responses, or more. First off,
when you told him it would be the MOST durable stone, you told him an
untruth. A solid (probably synthetic) sapphire band would be much
more durable. Not so bad, but not entirely true, either. Question #1

  • maybe. Depends on how he wears it, depends on the individual ring,
    could last a month, could last 50 years. If it breaks, it’s gone.
    Here in SF with a large Asian population one of the more common
    repair jobs is fixing broken jade bracelets - putting a gold strap
    around the break. My biggest issue, especially with a wedding ring
    situation, is that it’s unsizable, essentially. I also don’t think
    that Montana nephrite is really going to give you an edge -
    Kazakhstan jade is tough as nails, too. It’s more the individual
    piece - grain, cleavage, etc. - that’s going to determine how it
    lasts. Question #2: You’ll have to rivet the ends. If it were a
    metal base you could do stretching things or soldering but since it’s
    stone you can’t do those things. You could lead solder, but that’s
    funky and weak - or glue, ditto. I’d probably solder a rivet wire to
    the bottom end, drill the top end, and either rivet or do a buckle
    type thing - pull the wire through and fold it over like it was on
    purpose. Something like that…

I am still not certain that it would be durable enough to use as a
wedding band. 

I have read that the Chinese believe(d) that jade, (in the form of a
bracelet, at least) protects the wearer from harm, and that, if it
should break (which it does not do very readily) it is an indication
of a danger averted from the wearer-- it is sacrificing itself.

This seems to me to be a pretty good philosophical reason for
choosing it as a wedding ring, as long as the wearer buys into the
whole story to some degree, and is therefore willing to accept that
the ring may have to be replaced if it “does its job”.


G’day’; In New Zealand every jeweller’s shop carries jade rings, and
they aren’t expensive. Not even the apple green nephrite, translucent
jade. Jade is so tough and strong that the old Maori carvers used
jade to make the most complicated carvings from local timber and I
have witnessed shavings coming from an experienced carver’s jade
chisel that were identical to those produced by steel chisels. Not
only was it hard enough to take a fine edge, but tough enough that it
did not chip. I have worked jade, but it needs diamond tools, or
weeks of laborious rubbing on sandstone which Maoris used to make
jade artifacts.–

Cheers for now,
JohnB of NZ

A friend of mine had a jade wedding ring at one time. It was very
sturdy, but finally broke when struck hard while she was wearing it
at work. For most people, in most situations, it would probably hold
up very well. As for a gold band around the outside - perhaps carve
a channel and have the gold in the channel around the circumference
of the ring?

Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)
Saint Paul, Minnesota USA

It would depend on the type of jade as to the durability.

A good solid nephrite is certainly durable enough. Better yet, would
be jadeite which is very tough. Both will abrade, but won’t likely

Of course nothing will stand up to plunginging into sand or running
across rocks. Even diamond is brittle and will also scratch, but
jadeite is certainly one of the toughest stones around. If you’re
looking for Burmese jadeite, by the way, I have lots that can be
cut. I don’t have Imperial jade, but have some nice colored rough
that I picked up in Burma and Thailand. Also have lots of nephrite.

Derek Levin

Hello John,

when you told him it would be the MOST durable stone, you told him
an untruth. A solid (probably synthetic) sapphire band would be
much more durable. 

No it wouldn’t, Corundum is harder than the jades, but scratch
resistance is only a little part of durability. I learned an
expensive lesson when the bottom fell out of a box of synthetic
boules and almost 2 kilos of sapphires fell onto a concrete floor. I
picked up many more pieces than I dropped.

The other attributes for Durable are impact resistance, crush
resistance, abrasion resistance and resistance to chipping and
shattering, better known as toughness. Corundum is rubbish for
toughness. It’s way easier to saw, grind or drill than the jades.

Jade hammers and axes have been around for millenia, a Sapphire one
would probably last an afternoon.

Anthony Lloyd-Rees.

Beautiful British Columbia

A friend of mine had a jade wedding ring at one time. It was very
sturdy, but finally broke when struck hard while she was wearing
it at work. 

See, this kind of thing supports the Chinese view! Presumably, she
was wearing it when the blow broke it… What would the force have
done to her hand if it had not hit the ring instead?


How can a gold band be put around the outside of a jade ring? 

I take it you mean on the edge? Similar to a milgrained edge look?

If so, I would approach it like this Make the jade thick enough to
accommodate several holes drilled laterally, from edge to edge. Make
two gold washers and temporarily cement first one to the jade and
after its secure, drill thru the jade hole into and thru the gold.
repeat for other side. This would ensure everything lining up right.
Insert correct size wires and laser them in place. You could try
riveting but its risky. I would think 4 to 6 wires should do it,
depending ofcourse on the dimensions. Since he wants the jade
his skin I’d consider polishing the jade inside. All the jade rings
I’ve seen were unfinished inside, not quite rough, kinda waxy
looking. jadeite has a nice feel when polished. If its worth doing
its worth doing well, just get enough for the job.

Discuss with him that the holes might create discontinuities in the
strength of the jade but if you are to have no liner of gold inside
the ring connecting the gold edges the consequence is that the ring
theoretically will not be as durable. If he wants the look there is
a price.

One of the jobs I regularly get called on to do is to cut rings off
people in the convalescent home my wife works in. Many health
problems can cause the fingers to swell and a tight ring can
eventually lead to gangrene and loss of the finger. Cutting off gold
rings, repairing them and resizing or hanging them on a neck chain is
relatively easy but I would hate to have to try to do this with a
solid jade ring - especially as such work often has to be done in an
emergency or otherwise stressful situation and the person involved is
often old and frail.

Best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK