Jadeite vs Nephrite

jade stone

Jade might be one of the most confusing gemstones you've heard of, but you can make sense of it. According to the current geological theory, jade is classified into two types: hard jade and nephrite

What is jadeite?

Jadeite generally refers to all mineral aggregates of fibrous aluminosilicates of different qualities (grades) of the pyroxene group with color. The three main components of jadeite are SiO2, AI2O3, and Na2O. Its friction type hardness is 7, the hardness is high. Its relative density is 3.33, it give a heavy feel in the hand.

What is nephrite?

Nephrite belongs to the hornblende group, which is a fibrous amphibole crystal aggregate. Its composition is calcium magnesium iron silicate. Its hardness is no more than 6-6.5, which is softer than jadeite. There are many types of nephrite jade, including XiuYan jade, Nanyang jade, Lantian jade, Hetian jade, agate, turquoise, etc.


Differences Between Jadeite and Nephrite

Jadeite Nephrite
Composition Sodium Aluminum Silicate Calcium Magnesium Iron Silicate
Mineral Group Hornblende Pyroxene
Structure Fibrous Structure Sugar-like Structure
Hardness 7 6.5
Toughness 8 9
Refractive 1.66 1.62-1.655
Density 3.33 2.96
Luster Glassy Luster Greasy Luster
Best Color Emerald Green White
Main Origin Myanmar China
Main Usage Jwelry / Gemstone Carving Objects
Value Higher High


What is the difference between jadeite and nephrite?


They are actually both form of silicate, but they're completely different minerals. Jadeite is actually a mixture of sodium and aluminum. Whereas Nephrite is actually a mixture of calcium and magnesium. Nephrite belongs to the hornblende group, while jadeite belongs to the pyroxene group.


Their crystalline particles differ in shape. Jadeite has a columnar or fibrous structure inside, while nephrite has mineral crystalline particles that resemble a sugar-like structure. The structure of nephrite is more dense and solid, and the texture is more delicate and moist. The jadeite looks faintly with a crystal structure.


Jadeite is denser than nephrite, therefore it is harder than nephrite. The hardness of jadeite is six point five to seven. The hardness of Nephrite is six to six point five.


Hardness is a different thing from toughness. Hardness is what we think of with diamonds that they're extremely scratch resistant. Toughness is the ability to withstand pressure. The toughness of nephrite is greater than jadeite.


The luster of jadeite is not comparable to that of nephrite. Nephrite presents a greasy luster, giving people a gentle and soft feeling. Jadeite, on the other hand, has a glassy luster, giving it a cool, icy feel. Moreover, Jadeite has a luster and translucency that nephrite does not have.


Many people assume that light-colored pieces are nephrite while greener and darker colored stones are jadeite. However, these assumptions are wrong. Jadeite has many colors (green, yellow, white etc.), it doesn't have to be green!
Nephrite jade comes in a variety of colors too. It possesses mainly grays and greens (and occasionally yellows, browns or whites).
Nephrite is precious in white, while jadeite is beautiful in emerald green.


Nephrite tends to be in much bigger pieces and to be green black and brown. You can carve it.
Jadeite tends to be more gem-like, also can be carved. but it does not come in such big pieces.


The large deposit of jadeite is near Tawmaw, Myanmar (Burma).  Nephrite can actually be found all over the world but the main deposit obviously is in china.


Basically, if it's jadeite jade, it is used in very high end very expensive jewelry and gemstone. Nephrite jade is used in all sorts of stuff, like ornamental stone, beads or carving objects.


Jadeite is the king of jade and is the highest internationally recognized jewelry grade jade. It has incomparable characteristics and advantages of other jade varieties. So jadeite is more valuable than nephrite.

Jadeite collection


Hetian Jade collection

green hetian jade