Jade, from china and myanmar to canada and central america

Peace, tranquility and deep wisdom are just some of the attributes of Jade, "The Stone of Wisdom and Prosperity". Jade carved into a butterfly is thought to attract love. A wise Chinese person would never make an important decision unless they were holding a piece of genuine jade or 'Zhen yu'. Harder than steel Jade is an extremely tough gemstone and in prehistoric times it was used for tool and weapon making, in ancient China and amongst the Mayas and Aztecs of Central America it was more valuable than gold, it is a symbol of all that is good and precious and has been so for thousands of years.

Jade is a metamorphic rock, of dense close grained matted aggregates formed by heat and pressure and there are actually two types. 'Nephrite' is made up of hydrated silicate of calcium, magnesium and iron with a specific density of 2.90 to 3.02, a refraction index of between 1.60-63 and 1.62-65 and hardness on the Mohs scale of 6.5, it comes in various shades of green, but also in white, yellow or red. 'Jadeite' which is stronger and rarer and therefore more valuable, is sodium, aluminum silicate, with a specific gravity of 3.30 to 3.36, refraction is 1.645-1.667 and hardness is 7.(Steel incidentally is 6.5 and diamonds 10). Jadeite can be found in green, white, pink, red, black, brown and violet. Each color has its own attributes. Red defuses tense situations. Yellow and orange bring inner peace. Green is the color of healing, gives hope, is calming and can bring about romance. Blue helps one meditate. Black is a defense against negative situations. Brown connects to the earth. White and cream can boost energy.

The birthstone for March, Jade got its name from the Spanish 'piedra de jada', the loin stone, as it is believed to be effective in helping cure problems with the kidneys. It is said to be more valuable than gold for gold can be evaluated, whereas Jade, 'The stone of Heaven', is priceless. The finest Jadeite comes from Myanmar while Nephrite is found in China, Guatemala, New Zealand and Canada.

Thought to be a good investment sales of Jade have risen sharply in recent times with antiquities fetching ever higher prices. Production in Myanmar in the first four months of this year almost matched the whole of last year. The largest stone ever was recorded in 2000 in Phakant in the northernmost province of Kachin, weighing in at three thousand tons and measuring approximately twenty one meters by five meters by ten meters high. More recently a raw jade stone weighing 115 tons was reportedly discovered in the same place.

The myths and stories surrounding jade only serve to make it more mysterious and more valuable. Wearing an ornament of jade will give you a fascinating life, a safe journey and a peaceful death and fortunes have been squandered.