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Xinjiang's Gems and Jades

Gems and Jades and Stones of Heaven

If there is sufficient interest I will go though the text
"Xinjiang’s Gems and Jades" page by page. I will do so off-list and
it will probably take a month of daily postings with feedback.
Hopefully there will be some Chinese gemologists and jadeologists in
the discussion because the book says “We are, therefore, deeply
grateful to and welcome, anyone who would criticize and give us
correction from near and far”. In any case I will try to send all
feedback to the Xinjiang Peoples’ Publishing House through the
Chinese translator who got me the book.

Leaming, in “Jade Fever: Hunting the Stone of Heaven” describes his
visit to Xinjiang province, says the book is poorly translated and
only comments further that he is surprised there are 44 jades in
China. Chinese jade taxonomy is not a willy nilly classification as
some postings to Orchid have said, implicitly or explicitly. It is
scientific, sensible and sophisticated… The Xinjiang Bureau of
Geology and Mineral Resources is behind the Gems and Jades book,
calling it a five year effort. It deserves due respect. IMO it
carries a lot of Oriental philosophy and wisdom.

Buyer beware says Leaming. But the buyer would have no disclosure
problem if buying from Xinjiang and I doubt they would sell and
export unless Beijing approved. IMO it is far superior to the
disclosure here in jewelry advertisings from Peoples to Sears to
Michael Hill, which I have been studying. If the Chinese disclosure
approach with assays etc. had been used there would have been no
problem with the now infamous Kelowna Emerald. They would even sell
it with an opacity rating. The Chinese have an excellent grasp of
"fine jewelry" and the pictures are beautiful.

I have a business plan to export robotically-carved, finished Sto:lo
jades to China (after which we will export carved coal to Newcastle
and ice cube pendants to Nunavut) and I contracted recently with a
local Buddhist to serve as our mediary into the Buddhist regions of
China (Xinjiang is Muslim) - likely Korea first. The Gems and Jades
book gives us a standard for truth in marketing which exceeds the
standard here and therefore we must match or surpass that standard.
Perhaps our robo-jeweller will come from Japan and that will give us
a quid pro quo with the Japanese market (where De Beers failed as I
understand it because they tried to over-ride the jade tradition). We
want the “best of the best” in robotic jewelry machines.

Does anyone on Orchid know the difference between a gem and a jade
in the Chinese taxonomy?

The Romans had another saying (other than carpe rutila) - Veritas
odium parit. Does it apply to gems and jades?

References: “Jade Fever: Hunting the Stone of Heaven” by Stan
Leaming “Xinjiang’s Gems and Jades”, Editor Lai, Authors Yang, Yi,
Yi, Song and Min “Ancient Mexico” by Frederick Peterson (very much a
jade book)

PS - Who used jade in tools and jewelry first? First Nations of the
Western Hemisphere or Chinese or ___________?

I would be fascinated in reading it. I always enjoy getting the
eastern perspective on things, and firsthand is better than from an
outside perspective.

Perhaps what I can do is offer a few portions of “Future Jade” now
for Orchid discussion. Otherwise, the Xinjiang book is a marketing
manual as well as a gemology text. I think a quid pro quo to that
marketing manual is advisable on our part in exporting Sto:lo jade to
the Orient. I was advised to use which will serve that
purpose. If there is the right involvement I would consider further
co-authoring with Orchidians beyond the McHalsies (Naxaxalhtsi and
Stoteleq). Here is some of the lulu material.

A History Mystery

A comment was made off-list that a good history mystery is always
interesting. The mystery of Jade Past takes us to the Ice Age where
it seems to have been the stone of choice world-wide in the
civilizations of Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Why? I
would like to hear other opinions on Orchid as well but I will put
forward some hypotheses.

My leading hypothesis is that if you are looking old Snaggletooth
the sabre-toothed tiger up the nose, the best defence other than a
cave for a home is that you are as strong as Conan the Barbarian and
you are holding a jade axe or club in your hand. Nephrite jade is
rated as the most shatter-resistant stone. Last year I shattered the
brand new hickory handle of a sledge hammer on some Sto:lo jade after
about five blows. I call that a “test” for jade. I use many others as
well and they have much in common with what is presented in the
Xinjiang book. The Xinjiang book meets the criteria for ethical
disclosure. I think our Homo Neanderthalis ancestors and perhaps even
Homo Floriensis ancestors used tests like mine with the sledge hammer
since it was a long mammoth ride to the assay office and GIA office.
And I think tests of practical utility far surpassed in importance
tests of aesthetic value.

The biggest, strongest, ugliest jade axe is the best. If you have
lots of jade on hand you can replicate the ancient tools and weapons.
You can even make garden gnomes and Sto:lo “transformer stones” out
of the jade but that is a later lulu chapter.

The Stone Age WAS the Jade Age

Leaming asks whether there was a separate “Jade Age”. IMO the Stone
Age WAS the Jade Age because jade was the number one stone of choice
as above. To cut up Snaggletooth for dinner after you have survived
the encounter and for scraping the cat skin, obsidian and chert were
probably better stones. But a dull jade axe in the hands of a
powerful cave man would also serve well as a tool for shattering and
rough-cutting wood. It would serve better for hammer and anvil duty.

Thus we read in Xinjiang about a jade axe from Luobo Lake “carved in
nephrite jade, fine and smooth” (p 15) and also “… in the New
Stone Age, Xinjiang started using nephrite in making tools and
ornaments”. Closer to the ethnogeology finding of Dr. McHalsie that
Sto:lo did not merely import jade but worked it locally, we read in
Peterson’s book, “Ancient Mexico” that “There was a great abundance
of jade objects at La Venta, including several hundred axes and
statuettes” (p 57). And Peterson also notes that the Mexicans he
calls Olmec or Magicians made “axes of green stone” (p 40). Given
that jade made the most valuable tools and weapons of the Ice Age,
one would expect an impetus for more northern Indians to not be
dependent on southern Indians as we talk about militarily strategic
ores and metals today. Canadian soldiers fighting "The War on Terror"
for example, must use depleted uranium in their tanks and shells with
associated health risks because almost all of the world supply of
wolframite is in China. This also supports the McHalsie finding. “At
the time of the Yellow Emperor jade was used as weapons…”
(Xinjiang, p 16).

Though the current border between Sto:lo and Thompson nations is
about 50 miles south of Lilloet in the Fraser Canyon, we read in
Leaming (p 67) that "For nearly 4,000 years the ancestors of the
Lilloet people living near the confluence of the Bridge and Fraser
rivers found and used alluvial jade cobbles for the manufacture of
tools and weapons,: (p 67). However, the issue is left open as to
whether the objects were traded or made locally. McHalsie claims
closure on the subject with respect to Sto:lo history.

People of the Ice Age had enormous survival issues and my fellow
prospectors here can testify that when you are in the wilderness
dealing with injuries as well as survival against weather, bears,
mountain lions and wolves and protecting your food supply from
wolverines you take care of the essentials for life issue first.
Artistry with wood carving or paint or any other artistry like
working in soft stone (clay) or hard stone (jade) comes later around
a cozy camp fire or tin stove in a prospector’s cabin.“The Spanish
were disgusted to find that the Indians kept offering them jade and
turquoise when they asked for precious materials. Jade was thought by
the Indians to be worth more than gold” (p 227).

Now we have the historical mystery partially solved for China and
Western Hemisphere. What about Europe? Leaming refers to over a
thousand jade implements found under Lake Geneva and notes that jade
axes were used in Italy even after metals were worked in the Bronze
Age. Jades were “the tool-making stones of choice” (p 84).

As my Neanderthal grandpappy used to say, “Walk softly and carry a
big jade axe”.


“Ice Age” - the movie

If there is sufficient interest,

tbc with…

Have the lost jade mines of the Sto:lo been found?

Peter may be correct in stating that jade was commonly used for
toolmaking in certain cultures and geographic locations but that does
not mean that it was the most popular or desirable material for
making tools during the stone age. the stone age is a period of time
in the development of mankind and was superceded by the copper age
and then bronze age over 4000 years ago. Metal smelting technology
had spread throughout the world in a little over 200 years, such was
the advantage but the technology was lost by certain civilisations
in the same way that glassmaking technology was lost by western
europe for a while.

However, this does not change the timeline for civilisation’s
development and the breaking of a hickory hammer handle is no
analytical determination of the strength of a rock. You can break a
hammer handle striking limestone or even shale if the bulk of the
rock is great enough. It is not a test, let alone a test for jade.
With regard for finding the lost mines of anywhere, have you any
evidence of ancient mining activity? This is a classic metal
prospecting must for all continents except Australia. The crossed
gad and hammer is the emblem of just about every mining institution
in the world (including the one I worked at, the Royal school of
Mines) and dates back to the dawn of metallurgy. Copper age mining
tools from Spain are the same style as 15th century German ones,
which are the same as 13th century Zimbabwean or 4th century Chinese
ones so you have to know the differing mineworking styles to
determine the age of your activity. The same applies to stone tools.
these were still in common use in Canada in the last century and even
most Canadians wouldnt consider that to be the stone age. One should
be careful of the extrapolation of the available data and what
conclusions one reaches.

Nick Royall

are fine lines, if you get my drift... 

You raise a key issue here Richard, and again, Peter Rowe can speak
for himself but I had to wonder if he was opening up the subject to
this matter of “drifting of fine lines” which I think can be better
illustrated with jade rather than emerald. In his “Hunting the Stone
of Heaven” book, Leaming uses the (perhaps awkward) prospecting word
"jadey". When you are prospecting, as I am sure Rock9 can testify,
you ask yourself how “jadey”

the rock is and that informal test tells you whether it is worth the
cost and trouble of hauling in from the field for more testing. The
CIA in Oz could sell me “Diamondiferous Argyle Rock” which contains
not one speck of diamond as long as it is marketed honestly so the
principles below are generalizable. If CIA has a backyard full of it,
takes a representative sample and reports the diamond content of the
overall load, I know perfectly well that not all pieces will carry

“The Mandate of Heaven”

Chinese philosophy (metaphysics) uses poetic expressions like
"mandate of heaven". Jade is an adjective which metaphorically
describes good character as well as a noun to name a physical stone,
which is a rock-mineral entity.

In “Xinjiang’s Gems and Jades” we are treated to a fuller discourse
on the drifting of the lines between jade and non-jade. Leaming
dismissed the Chinese taxonomy of 44 jades, stating he had a problem
with the Chinese to English translation. I find it quite elegant and
scientifically sophisticated. But I do not want to give you the
whole story because that

would spoil your reading of Xinjiang’s book or the "Future Jade"
book I am preparing for which spells it out in more
conventional English. I want you and all Orchidians to cuddle up with
this book at bed time and enjoy. The present “Mandate of Heaven” unit
is a sampling in rough draft form. I was thinking of selling each
book with a jade fish and/or cross amulet enclosed or embedded in a
wooden cover, but I am still trying to buy a suitable robotic carving

“Jade Thrones and Unicorns”

Past emperors in China and Ancient Mexico used jade for decorative
jewelry purposes in their throne rooms since both valued it the most
highly among stones. The Russians have their Amber Room and
Malachite Room. The Danish

aristocrats had their Unicorn Room which turned out to be a hoax
because narwalh teeth were sold to them as horns from the Biblical
unicorns. According to National Geographic channel the unicorn hoax
was widespread in Christendom and when finally the hoax was exposed
by science, the Church in Rome doctored some of its art to lessen the
embarassment. In that there is a lesson about not being deceived by a
name like emerald or jade or diamond. Scientific criteria are more
revealing and valuable than names when it comes to buying stones. The
unicorn is given to us as a riddle.

Emperors ruled the ancient world according to the mandate of heaven
which we in the West might call divine right of kings and where there
was jade supremacy they wanted jade to be the theme stone. What then
would a Future Monarch want as the composition of a Future Throne?
Why not a mountain escarpment which is also a jade formation with
tens of thousands of tons of jade ore and perhaps more as will be
determined when stone workers cut and carve into the interior?

The Butchart Gardens in Victoria are the Canadian standard of stone
and flower beauty whereby a humble rock quarry was transformed into
one of Canada’s most famous tourism attractions. It is the standard
for carvers of large stone projects who want to create any large
stone work meeting standards of beauty, rarity and durability. A
entire mountain can be a “dimension stone” as that is defined in BC
law. Steps and flower beds are cut into the faces/facets. A throne
can be cut and carved at a suitable location.

Let us put this into generalizable terms which could apply to any
gem or jade ore body. From the rock face we determine by field tests
(such as field testing for stone strength, hardness, colour etc) as
well as laboratory assaying for elements and porosity, GIA analyses
and petrographic analyses, the characteristics of a complex ore body.
We declare it to be an ore body for those who wish to test their
skills and try their luck at “gems and jades” in the future. As fault
lines are approached (by quarrying, adits or diamond drilling) what
else might be found? Gold? Silver? Platinum? Diamonds?

We offer qualified mining rights to Chinese miners via our current
Canadian trade delegation in China led personally by Prime Minister
Harper. Bids start at $1,000,000. Perhaps we can even have those two
pandas we have been given by the Chinese sent to this site from
Toronto when it reaches the right stage of development.

“Tremolite Jade Fabric Patterning”

When I mined gold in the 1960s the rule of thumb was 1/10 ounce of
gold per ton to be economic. Today it is more like 1/20 and in either
case most of

the gold is invisible. Likewise the stone-reinforcing properties of
tremolite jade are mostly invisible but in the Xinjiang book we read

“The tremolite is in fabric, needle-columnar, herring-bone, felty
and loosed cloth fabric etc” (page 105). Leaming simply uses the word
"random". I call this the jade rebar effect which strengthens stone
as rebar (reinforcing bar and wire) does in cement. The Xinjiang book
presents microscope pictures of the tremolite rebar effect. We have
our microscopic pictures on a DVD slide show and that will probably
be posted by web site in due course for benefit of the Chinese
market. IMO our pictures show even more clearly the tremolite fabric
patterning than the Xinjiang book pictures.

How much of the tremolite fabric pattern do we need before we call
it jade? How much randomness is required? What percentage of
tremolite must the assays prove? If we have 1/20 ounce of tremolite
in a ton of ore, and the tremolite has perfect fabric pattern, is
that assay enough to call it a jade ore body? And there are other
criteria as well. The matter is settled when I say:

In my opinion this is a _________ ore body and I say that because of
the following clear, replicable tests _____________

Nobody has a gun at anyone’s head forcing them to buy. There is no
deception, falsification, or fraud. But I still have lots of cards
in my hand which I am not morally, legally or ethically required to

“Nomenclature: Drifting and Lines of Demarcation”

Thus we can drift around in the twilight zone of any complex ore
body and

somebody may draw a thin line and say, This is a ______ whether the
ore body is gem or jade… or both. Was the famous/infamous
Kelowna emerald part of a more complex ore body? Unless it was found
in a loose sediment, yes.

How many mineral species of Be were in the ore body? Surely some
parts of it had higher Be concentrations than others. Wherever the
Kelowna stone was extracted, what if the overall ore body is an
escarpment? Where would you

cut and carve an Emerald Throne? Where do you draw the lines of
identity and nomenclature? Isn’t this the riddle of the unicorn?
“Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? Or will he
harrow the valleys after thee?” God riddles to Job and his friends
(Job 39:10).

Thus I asked if the chips or dust from faceting had been assayed to
determine whether it was more of a complex rock than a unitary
mineral. I would not buy or invest in it without that report. Buyer

  • beware? Buyer - use common sense.

“The 45th Jade”

Does anyone on Orchid have a single name for “…magnesium peridot
marble or tremolite dolomite marble zone” (Xinjiang, pages 107-8).
Would you object to carving a fish or cross amulet from the tremolite
dolomite marble and marketing it in China as “marbled jade”? There is
no problem if they export it here under any name given the high
standards of disclosure presented in the Xinjiang book. What about
"The serpentine jade" which was “a new variety of jade defined in
1981” (page 114). This jade assays at 10% aluminous oxide (page 114).
and we are told “… it was well-received by jade-carving workers”.
Its hardness rating is not given but there are harder and softer
jades. The “Tekes Green Jade” was defined in 1980 by the Xinjiang
Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and its H may be as low as 5
(page 139). It is described as “… a kind of plagioclase and
tremolite-bearing rock” and as expected the two assays show high
aluminous oxide, specifically at 27% and 23%.

What will Sto:lo jade be called by the geology and mineral experts
in China? Will it be the 45th jade?

would spoil your reading of Xinjiang's book or the "Future Jade"
book I am preparing for which spells it out in more
conventional English. I want you and all Orchidians to cuddle up
with this book at bed time and enjoy. 

Can I suggest that you made book available in IPub format. After I
start reading on IPad, I find it very difficult to read printed text.

Leonid Surpin

An ore is different to mineral (or rock) that is extracted for
carving or cutting or stonemasonry. The difference is one of
treatment so the comparison between concentrations of certain
minerals or elements is rather meaningless. The simple word for
these ophiolite complexes is “serpentine”.

How much tremolite does one need before you can call it jade? Not
applicable. Likewise elemental analysis of the whole rock. Comparison
between diamondiferous rocks and a jade outcrop is like comparing
chalk with cheese.

Beryl grows as large crystals in pegmatites and late stage granite
outcrops. It is principally hydrothermal in origin so Be
concentration in the whole rock is irrelevant as it is not going to
be extracted from the mineral. Be will not be present in many
minerals or localities because it does not bond well with many other
cations. Look at tourmaline, a boron mearing mineral. Again it forms
in similar conditions as beryl from elements that dont go well in
other crystal structures. These late stage hydrothermals tend to
mineralise all the oddball elements left over when all the rock
forming minerals have crystallised out from a melt. Very useful for
finding tin, gold, tellurium etc. buttheir presence or absence do
not define the mass of granite or whatever they are associated with
so you cannot quantify them along the lines of an assay.

Now let us consider the “new jade” liked by the chinese stone
carvers. It is a form of serpentine and along with one or two other
misnamed rocks. Connemara marble was quarried in Victorian times and
carved but it was not a marble and most of it didnt come from
Connemara but it was a nice colour and carved easily. I’m sure the
Chinese sellers would call it “Irish Jade” if they got their hands
on it. The Chinese do not export their best carved jade, no-one in
the west would buy it because it would be too expensive. What they
sell us is what they want to sell us and give rather mistranslated
names to. This is not just a Chinese problem, there are many
languages that do not easliy translate particular words well. There
is no Arabic translation of “plate tectonics” for eaxample and the
arabic written alphabet does not have the proper characters to make
such words.

It wont matter if the Chinese call it the 45th jade because there is
not literal translation between the Chinese and English, just the
general term that is not the same as the mineralogical naming.

YOur last part of this missive shows your lack of understanding of
nomenclature of rocks and minerals. You cannot assert that ______ is
an orebody of whatever because of ___________ and that the matter is
settled because you think it is a good idea to label things in such
a way as it suits your purpose. Questioning where the “emerald” came
from in Brazil also shows that you have failed to read the articles
describing it properly or not understanding what was said about it.
It comes from the Minas Gerais area which has been famous for
centuries for its pegmatic and hydrothermal mineralisation. It is a
single crystal that was dug out of solid igneous rock.

Ilike the idea of quoting the bible as well as Leaming, both are of
similar age and accuracy with regard to modern science.

Nick Royall

Could you please give us your opinions on “abstract” art from an FA
(Fine Arts) perspective as it applies to jewelry and stone carving,
macro and micro? I once spent a summer of evenings walking through
the older districts of Vancouver studying the aesthetics of stone
work from decayed stone walls to statues, to the kind of stone trim
and gargoyls etc. you see high up on buildings.

If I ask First Nation carvers to do only “traditional” carvings,
that will be marketable. But even there, the totems and fish etc. are
usually somewhat abstract. I personally like some and others I would
not want in my home. If I give one carver in particular a totally
free reign on futuristic abstract work on the theme of serpents and
dragons (his preference) I am taking a chance. How would I lessen the
risk of this turning into an artistic and thus a financial disaster?
At least when a traditional Sto:lo fish is carved, you know it is a

Michaelangelo’s work was all literalism was it not? I had to laugh
when the National Geographic TV special on his work got to the
conclusion of his painting of the Cistine Chappel ceiling. One of his
political enemies from the papal inner circle would not relent so Mr.
Angelo painted him into the final work as a creature descending into
hell. That’s the advantage of literalism.

I like the idea of quoting the bible as well as Leaming, both are
of similar age and accuracy with regard to modern science. 

Thanks for the chuckle, Nick. I am in most revered company.

Future Jades

Leaming is of course, not speaking ex cathedra when he defines
(nephrite) jade as “tremolite-actinolite, a member of the amphibole
family of minerals” (page 172) with “a special textural form” (page
173). The percentage of actinolite-tremolite is typically small, but
the Xinjiang book also gives examples of very high
tremolite-actinolite content. The former identifies jade as it is
seen in jewelry use to be a rock more often than a mineral and it
could be called a kind of amphibolite. The special textural form has
to do with patterning of the long tremolite-actinolite crystals which
strengthen the stone as reinforcing bars and wires do in cement.

When Xinjiang departs from the jade definition above, it does so for
cultural-historical reasons. But there is no deception and no
confusion since the book also presents assays, petrographic reports
and optical testing to state clearly what any stone is. If vendors in
due course depart from that ethical model, that is not the fault of
the Xinjiang authors. There may be hundreds of new Chinese future
jades built on both sets of standards.

Diamond Jade

Suppose, for example, the Chinese stone workers found the
diamondiferous host rock of the Yarlung Zanbu Suture to be carvable
and sufficiently pleasing to the eye to be made into jewelry pieces
(amulets, cameos, beads, pendants etc). Yang et al tell us about
"six ultramafic massifs" which are ophiolite host rocks ranging from
peridotites to chromatites. While the diamonds are said to be mostly
100-500 microns across (1/10 - 1/2 mm), one might expect that
smaller diamonds were not extracted because of the difficulty in
doing so. We read, “The presence of abundant diamonds in ophiolites
indicates a major new occurrence of these minerals in the oceanic
mantle, UNRELATED TO KIMBERLITE AND UHP (Ultra High Pressure)
METAMORPHISM”. (Block letters mine). Xinjiang might want to market
carvable Yarlung Zunbu stone as “diamond jade”, using the second (not
tremolite-actinolite) standard.

Graphitized Diamonds

The Yang, Jinsui et al report from GSA Annual Meeting, Minneapolis,
2011 may shed some light on the expression “graphitized diamond” as
we read frequently in the literature of diamond prospecting. It is
superfluous, if not deceptive to say that "graphitized diamond"
means the same as graphite. What Yang et al tell us is that the
DIAMONDS are “hosted in small, commonly spherical, patches of
amorphous carbon within chromatite”. This phrasing says the C is in
both forms, amorphous carbon and diamond carbon. He does not say the
diamonds ARE the amorphous C but rather are HOSTED IN the amorphous
C. But again, if one were to invest in such an ore, anyone with
common sense would require assay or petrographic analysis to prove
both forms of C.

Yang may explain the expression in Erlich and Hausel concerning
"unconventional diamonds" (UCD) in the Beni Bousera ophiolite. They
quote Pearson et al (1989) to report that “the concentration of
graphitized diamonds indicates that the slab initially contained
about 15% diamonds or approximately 10,000 times as many diamonds per
unit of mass of rock as any known high-grade kimberlite intrusion”
(page 169), adding that “The host rocks at Beni Bousera are believed
to represent portions of a hydrothermally altered, carbon-rich,
oceanic lithosphere”.

There are many reports in the literature concerning UCD theory. All
it takes is a little time using WWW search engines to find them.
Scientific theory is not infallible dogma however. It stands or falls
on the tests of empirical validation.

Aerobic conditions in metamorphosis over a long history of movement
may burn diamonds since they are easily converted back to amorphous C
at 700 degrees C. But there are anaerobic conditions which may shield
them as well. The history of a speck of amorphous C could in theory
entail conversion to diamond C in the volcanic magma range of 1300 -
2700 degrees, then back to amophous C and back to diamond again. Jem
Stansfield in the BBC video used a blow torch without pressure to
turn amorphous C into diamond at 2500 degrees. Heat is sufficient to
produce diamond though a combination of heat and pressure may
expedite the process. Pressure alone may generate extreme heat as one
can simply explode a barrel of amorphous C and create diamonds as was
demonstrated on Discovery television. Meteorite diamonds then may be
a product of high temperatures as they enter the atmosphere or heat
produced by the pressure of impact. Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

( references for quotes above available but a WWW search will locate

How much tremolite does one need before you can call it jade? Not
applicable. Likewise elemental analysis of the whole rock. 

Thank you, Mr. Royall, for the opportunity to present my
unit on (nephrite) jade definition which I am developing. This is
only a rough draft for fair but critical feedback. Perhaps your
failure to understand the issues has to do with not having read the
Xinjiang book. I can direct you, or others to a Hong Kong

Chinese Jade is a Study in Character

“How much tremolite does one need before you can call it jade?” as in
your assertion that this is irrelevant:

The standard definition of (nephrite) jade is that it is a rock
carrying tremolite-actinolite which has a strengthening effect on
the rock because of patterning. Leaming uses this definition and
refers to random patterning. The Xinjiang book uses this definition
as well. For example we read that “The tremolite is in fabric,
needle-columnar, herring-bone, felty and loosed cloth fabric etc”
(page 105). These are all words that convey “random-like"
patterning. The petrographic report I have for my own jade refers to
"felty masses” in the patterning and I requested a slide show of
these samples under magnification. In due course I will attach that
to my web site. Figure 7 in Xinjiang (allow for translation
difficulties) says “The structure of tremolite is not even. Some are
crystals in long plank shape and crossing them are set with tiny
crystals of tremolite. There are other tremolites in lumps and
pieces, and some in bending shape…” If the amount of tremolite is
too small, you do not have enough material for that reinforcing
effect. It is like concrete without rebar.

Further to your comment on the irrelevancy of the elemental analysis
of the whole rock:

On page 93 the Xinjiang authors refer to a white jade in which the
"tremolite content is more than 99%" and that pertains to the the
issue of amount of tremolite which can be determined from elemental
analyis. I crushed up two jewelry-carved pieces of the jade which
Leaming rates as some of the best in the world. One sample was from a
bead and the other from a tiny Inuit-styled “stone man”. From atomic
weights (elemental analysis) I determined that the total
tremolite-actinolite content must have been much less than 10%. Why
is that relevant? For the same reason that the amount of reinforcing
wire and bar is relevant to a masonry project. In addition I have to
think from the white jade example above and numerous other examples
of elemental analysis in the Xinjiang book that this kind of
analysis is important to the Chinese otherwise they would not do it.
It is expensive.

White jade is especially valued in China and the chemical purity of
it is probably something customers demand. I would think that the
highest grades of jade which rival diamonds, rubies, sapphires and
emerald in price are likely those which have both high clarity and
high percentage of tremolite.

However, I interpret the Xinjiang book as saying that the definition
of jade as having jewelry value is more than a matter of its chemical
and optical properties. It is more than a rating of beauty, rarity
and durability. Add a fourth dimension and perhaps we could call that
"character". That is why a plagioclase diopside diorite (page 28)
could rank as a jade and why “Tekes green jade” (page 114) as “… a
kind of plagioclase and tremolite-bearing rock” with H as low as 5
could be rated as a jade or why there is “Dushan jade… (in
which)… the white is plagioclase, the green serpentine” (page 139)
with Al2O3 content at 29%. The “serpentine jade” (page 114) is
"mainly constituted of serpentine and chlorite". I would guess that
it contains some tremolite but perhaps a very small amount. On page
28 we see reference to a dolomite marble jade. And later we get an
explanation that this is “… magnesium peridot marble (from the)
tremolite dolomite marble zone”. In other words it is a “marbled
jade” (which is about 10% of my deposit from present estimates).

There may be 444 Future Jades

Given that jade is a complex rock and not a relatively simple
mineral, there may be 444 kinds of jade even while we say that all
must hold in common that they are tremolite-actinolite bearing rocks
with a reinforcing pattern of those minerals. If anyone on Orchid has
another definition, which is what we read on the wiki and other web
sites please present it. It is VERY relevant to say what the many
other minerals are which may be present in the jade as ROCK. That
explains much of the Chinese taxonomy of jade.

One must avoid the mistake of taking the geologists and gemologists
of Xinjiang for fools as surely as it is a mistake to take me for a
fool. I am not saying that Leaming necessarily did this but his
passing reference to surprise at discovering there are 44 kinds of
jade can be understood in various ways. At the very least he did not
try to understand their rationale and I was interested enough to
spend a fair amount of time and money tracking the book down and
reading it. I knew it was a “Chinese puzzle”. It is indeed a rational
nomenclature and their disclosure practices prevent any sensible and
fair person from besmirching their character or making accusations of
fraud or scientific incompetency. How far they relax the criterion of
a “significant” percentage of tremolite-actinolite cannot be
determined from the book since they do not say exactly “how much” of
the defining mineral is required in the rock.

If you add the criterion of character to beauty, rarity and
durability you arrive at the pictorial section on jade carvings from
the “44 kinds” which loses nothing in the translation. The carved
pieces are all aesthetic and I would recommend the book for the
pictures alone though I will spare readers the cliche about ‘the
picture worth a thousand words’. They have artistic merit. But
English words like ‘beauty’ or ‘pretty’ do not suffice. I would not
describe some of their carvings in those words.

Likewise I would not describe The Pieta as a “beautiful” sculpting.
It ranks above beauty. I would describe it as noble, touching and
masterful. I would describe it as part of a sacred tradition in art.
Would the Pieta be as valuable today if Michaelangelo had carved it
in any one of 444 jades is the question I will ask Torart as they
replicate it with their robotic carving equipment. How far has that
project progressed?

All of the 44 jades of Xinjiang have CHARACTER. When we send 44
Sto:lo jades as carved jewelry products to Hong Kong, they can decide
if we understand their message in Xinjiang’s Gems and Jades.

There is so much in these posting, I am saving them all
for future reference.

I guess I am a simple soul. My jade business has only two
components. Do I have a reputable dealer, and do my customers like

I work a lot of jade, Alaska is known for Jade. I use Nephrite, and
BC (British Columbia) which is a clearer serpentine. Does the more
authenticNephrite sell…No…the serpentine does. The
only thing is that in the description of my work, I have to mention
that BC Jade is a serpentine Jade.

So just how much do my clients need. The hardest is
keeping a source, moral of this story, if it is reasonable,
attractive…buy a lot!

and most of all, never lie to the customer. 99% of the time they do
not want the scientific explaination. The one time they do, watch
out, they usually know more than I do and want to know just how much
I know. Really good subject, thank you

  1. The serpentine group of minerals consists of two: chrysotile and
    antigorite. (Mg,Fe)3Si2O5(OH)4

  2. Jade = Jadeite or Nephrite

  3. Jadeite is a form of pyroxene NaAlSi2O6

  4. Nephrite is a form of amphibole (tremolite)

Thus calling something serpentine jade is a misnomer. Serpentine is
NOT jade.

John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D., AJP

BC Jade is very pretty. When I lived there, a fellow found a large
rock of it on the beach - weighing roughly 95 pounds. I was gifted a
beautiful clock face cut from a slab of it. It pays to have friends.


Thank you for the insights, Shekina. Given that jade is usually sold
as a rock and has only a small percentage of the chemical formula
which John Rasmussen gave for tremolite-actinolite, it can be very
complex indeed. That explains a considerable part of the Xinjiang
book and why they spend so much time and expense doing chemical
profiles and petrographic analysis.

If jade were defined as pure tremolite-actinolite that would settle
the matter very fast but that is not the standard definition. Because
the Xinjiang book has a section on assays of jade which approach 100%
mineral purity I would assume they have customers who want to know
this assay value. Perhaps as customers/consumers we in the West do
not demand enough.

Barbara Nettles refers to a 95 lb jade river stone. Stones like that
are sold here in BC as well as you can determine from a WWW search
and they are costly. But are they real jade one might ask just as one
might ask if the Kelowna emerald was real emerald. I define
(nephrite) jade then as tremolite-actinolite with enough percentage
and patterning of the mineral to produce a strengthening effect on
the rock. How much is “enough”? That is difficult to answer just as
it is difficult for me to say how much reinforcing wire and bar I
need for a masonry project I am doing. But I am only using a few
percent and that number seems to work for jade reinforcement as well.
(I am doing an outdoor test of jade tiles on gazebo pillars)

You are right that in business/marketing terms, the questions to be
asked are “is this reputable” and “does the customer like it”?
Reputable to me means defining what you have and giving proof that
the product tests out in accord with the definition. There would have
been no controversy over the Kelowna emerald if that had been done.
OTOH, maybe he wanted the free publicity, knowing he could turn it
around in his favour.

Take the 95 lb jade as an example. I personally would not buy it for
my rock collection unless it had tested out as carrying
tremolite-actinolite as above. If this happened to be a specialized
rock collection using the principles of the Xinjiang book, I would
also want the visitors to know what is in the other 90% or so which
is not tremolite-actinolite. Going back to the Torart replication of
The Pieta, what if they use the 95 lb jade? What if Michaelangelo had
used a stone like this? Presently I have a 100 ton jade stone. Does
anybody on Orchid have any experience with diamond chain saws? Hope
BC is known for its chain saw carvers who do wooden statues which
decorate the town’s streets. They might like to have a go at a big
block of jade.

The Chinese are 100% correct then that you can have serpentine jade.
You can have serpentine (chrysotile or lizardite or antigorite)
MINERAL as well as tremolite-actinolite MINERAL in the same rock. You
could also have “marbling” of the jade as Xinjiang tells us. You
could have various “pyroxene jades” with proxenes like augite and
diopside in a rock alongside tremolite-actinolite. You could have a
serpentine-pyroxene jade with antigorite and diopside. You could have
"peridot jade" with olivine.

The end result as carved stone product will vary quite a bit
depending on the chemical composition which is why assays and such are
important. If Leaming had spent more time in China perhaps he would
have understood that better. I would prefer the 100 ton jade boulder
as a serpentine jade because it would be softer and easier to carve.
Michaelangelo had it easy -working in soft marble. I do have some
serpentine jade but not enough for my purposes.

Google on the story of Cassiar jade. It took 20 years for the
asbestos miners to figure out that the stronger rocks they were
throwing away might have been more valuable than the asbestos. Does
anyone think that there is a sudden dividing line between the
asbestos rocks and the jade rocks? You can expect a jade-asbestos
continuum of rock. And where does one draw the definitional line? I
have no doubt I could generate a theoretical matrix of 444 jades
(past, present and future) now that I have studied the Xinjiang

I might even put “diamondiferous jade” in there somewhere for jade
which started its journey as an ophiolite environment on the ocean
floor closer to China than present BC but I would precede it with a
health warning for Nick Royall’s benefit. The long journey of a pile
of mud and sand and ultramafic olivine-pyroxene from the mantle could
say something interesting about future diamonds and Future Jade
(tentative title for this book).

Jade Past tells us about Jade Future (I think I read that in a
fortune cooky at Mandarin Garden Restaurant) but I am reminded of the
Toronto movie “Moon Palace” from 2000 AD so I do not always trust
fortune cookies for my marketing advice. It really is an excellent
movie - family entertainment.

Right now I have to solve the problem of buying a desk-top robotic
carving machine while avoiding the unpleasant surprises of
unpredictably expensive OS costs.

In the final analysis, it is as you say that it just gets down to
whether the customer likes what you sell and whether you are dealing
honestly with the customer. But the whole is more than its parts. I
do not apologize for not revealing that “gestalt”. It would be like
playing poker with your hand showing.

The Buddhist monk who sold $20 amulets of Buddha (300,000) to raise
$6,000,000 for Buddhist charity was not relying on conventional
jewelry criteria for his sales. I am sure he would have sold as many
amulets if any of the 44 jades had been used.

Likewise suppose I do something similar for a Christian charity. It
could be just about any of them. Let’s use a hypothetical name like
"Holy Rollers", a charity which enables youth who are handicapped by
poverty and illness to learn to bowl and join a team and do all the
great things associated with bowling. So I start off with a cross
and a fish amulet. Then I contact Automation Tooling Systems in
Ontario and they get me tooled up for mass production.

Is that the gestalt which reveals the game plan or just a card on
the table?

Just as long as we all know it is not the joker. Maybe the game plan
is to carve an escarpment into a Moon Palace with gardens to rival
any of the Renaissance gardens of the cardinals in Renaissance
Italy. Maybe

Thank you Peter. I would like to see the 100 ton jade, and assume
that it is where you found it, and how are the smaller samples in
your area. I really enjoy these postings, I have a large list that
are saved for future reference. I am finding that no two compounds
are the same. Thejade sample found at Hatcher Pass is much different
than the one found 40 miles away at Sunshine. So how I identify my
samples. Sunshine Jade, Hatcher Pass Jade then there is the old
favorite, Parking lot Jade. Jade is interesting, and much tampered

How about turquoise, I went to my source for and they had
434 listings for turquoise, and not not valid real life sample.
Think I justfound my first posting.

Blessings, and good to get to know you, Canada has great serpentine, and


your postings are getting even more bizarre and unfortunately
divorced from reality. Please dont take my word for this but go and
talk to someone- a petrologist would be a start but when I say talk
to them I mean just that, not just emailing random people and hoping
for a response you like. Take samples of your rocks with you and then
LISTEN to what they have to say as you have ignored what has been
said on this forum about your methodology and incorrect assumptions
and definitions. Inquisitiveness is a brilliant thing but you must
learn from it as well if you are to get anywhere with your projects.

I wouldnt have replied to your posting but now you seem to have got
other people believeing that you know what you are talking about and
it isnt fair on them to be left with this impression so this will be
my last word on the subject.

Nick Royall