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New Colors in Jade?

Hi all you gemologists!

I’ve been buying a couple stones that I have no idea what they
really are - specifically, plum jade and peachy jade. They are
chocolate brown with a lavender tone and warm pink with some
semi-white/light green mottling. They are both rather hard (can’s
scratch with a knife and sounds like jade when you klink them
together.) My Chinese supplier says they are the names
aforementioned. However, knowing the willy nilly use of the term
"jade" I’m hard pressed to believe it. Do any of you have any
knowledge of these stones’ real names? You can find photos of them
under “jade” on my web site.

Sun Country Gems

Continue from:

OK, I checked for hardness on all (plum jade, peachy jade, African
jade, and olivine jade.) The plum and peachy are soft enough to
scratch with my sissors sharp edge. Hence, not jade. However, the
African jade and olivine jade were both too hard to scratch. Maybe
this is not a conclusive test, but it does prove to me that the later
two are definately not serpentine.

My Chinese factory supplier is very open and honest about the stones
they sell being dyed, manmade, etc. They claim the plum and peachy
jade are completely natural colors. I’m beginning to think they are
serpentine, as I have seen serpentine naturally in these colors.
Neither have any signs of dye (doesn’t bleed or come off with hot
water or acetone.)

So. . . moving more beads to the serpentine category. When will it
ever end?

Sun Country Gems


It probably will never end! It seems the tendency these days, is to
look for new colors, textures, hues, etc. The guys that own the dye
making factories love such a market and keep on pumping em out.
Remember, there are many other stones than serpentine that dye quite
easily and are hard. Agate comes to mind. Agate is quite easy to
dye because, while it is a 7 in hardness, it is also pourous
(well…most parts are anyway). So, it can be given any color and
then polished beautifully. There are others as well. I would
suggest anyone working in the bead field (if you will) would do well
to take a basic stone identification course at least so they can do
their own testing. Knowing how to determine the hardness of a stone
is just the beginning. Doing specific gravity tests will help a lot
and, on the really tough ones, learn to use a refractometer. etc,

Sounds like you have come a long way recently, huh?

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

‘African Jade’ is massive grossular garnet.

I haven’t been able to find out what ‘olivine jade’ is, but I’d like
to know.


Would people who have purchased from Susan at Sun Country Gems
please go here:

and vote for her. She seems extremely scrupulous and, although her
selection is a lot smaller than Fire Mountain’s, we might,
collectively, turn her into their competition.

Thank you, Susan!
Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA

olivine jade - If I recall, it’s serpentine. I may be wrong, and am
sure to be corrected, if I am! all in good humor And in the name of
education. :slight_smile:

gemini dreams


Serpentine is indeed olivine, and good olivine/serpentine can be
translucent and have a ‘ring’ like jade but is much softer. It can
be scratched with a pocket knife and even carved with good files,
yet it can also take a good polish using tin oxide on leather at
about 600rpm. There is a deposit just on the edge of Nelson city
that used to be quarried and crushed for use on agricultural land
deficient in magnesium, and used to be used in road making too.

As part of this area traveled South over the millenia (and is still
going South; we are on the edge of an active faultline) one may
pick up matching olivine in the Southern Fiords, such as Poison Bay
which is 300 miles South of Nelson. The Maori knew of it and called
it tangiwai (roughly, funeral tears) but found it far too soft to
use for tools and weapons. They used nephrite jade for those
purposes, which they called pounamu (greenstone)

I am now living life as a scooter-riding, partly lame pedestrian, as
I became convinced that I was a bit of a menace on the roads having
wrecked my car, myself and my wife in the process of this discovery.
It’ll come to you all one day!

Cheers for now,
JohnB of Mapua, Nelson NZ

John and all,

Your about NZ serpentine is interesting. We have a
serpentine here in the states that is also quite unique. Its called
Williamsite and can only be found in the Rock Springs area on the
MD/PA border. We used to mine it in an old corn field (when the
farmer would permit it, which was not often) at an old (I think it
was a chromium mine) from the early 1800’s. The stuff is so pure it
looks exactly like the finest translucent nephrite. But, as the NZ
serpentine, its soft. Sometimes it is mixed with kammermerite and
has a beautiful purple hue. It has also been used for parking lots,
road beds and railroad ballast. Once we gained access to a local
quarry and I found a huge vein 3’deep by about 10’ long and a foot
wide. Took out as much as I could carry. Its pretty much gone
now…sure wish I had some more of that.

Cheers, from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


Olivine is Peridot and is not the same thing as Serpentine.

Greg DeMark
Longmont, Colorado
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry

Thanks to the feedback from fellow Orchidians about my jade
questions. I did the homework and, as a result, learned that African
"jade" is actually a form of garnet. That certainly explains why it
is so hard. (Some had said jasper, others serpentine.) So, I’ve moved
that stone to the garnet category on my web site. My poor customers
are going to be so confused:)

Responding to the statement that olivine is actually serpentine, I
think that’s incorrect. No expert here, but my understanding is that
olivine is basically the same as peridot, with peridot being the
gemstone variety of olivine. I’ve read that olivine can become
serpentine, but is not actually serpentine until that chemical
transformation takes place.

I’m still trying to figure out what my “olivine jade” really is.
It’s too hard to be serpentine, and I doubt if it is olivine. I
think it’s just borrowed the name. It very well could be nephrite
jade. The only difference I can see is that it is more translucent.
They seem to be the same hardness and color. So, if somebody else has
some ideas on the subject, let me know.

Sun Country Gems

    Olivine is Peridot and is not the same thing as Serpentine. 

Olivine is also listed in the GIA Gem Reference Guide as a misnomer
for demantoid Garnet. I looked all over the Internet for olivine
jade and found many suppliers. Most of what I found is an "olive"
colored material that could be anything from nephrite to serpentine.
Most of it is probably “leaverite.” A few places were advertising
olivine “jade” stones and beads that were quite yellow, or even
chartreuse. It’ll never end.

James in SoFl


I would suggest you find a way (or someone) to do a specific gravity
test on your stone. That would be a good indicator (though probably
not conclusive by itself) of what the stone is…or more probably,
what it is not. If you cannot find anyone to do it for you, send me
a sample and I will do it for you free…just cost of postage.
Contact me off-line if you wish. I will then report back to the
group the results.

Recently, I had a friend with a large green stone which he thought
was Wyoming jade. It was truly a beautiful green. It would not fit
his saw so I offered to cut it down for him. After I cut it up, it
just did not appear to be jade to me so I did an SG on it. It was
2.64 (right in the middle of feldspar aventurine). Since nephrite
is 2.89 to 3.54 and jadite is 3.24 to 3.43 it was not difficult to
determine it was not jade of any kind.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2