Jade is a hard, green gem popularly used in rings and other jewelry. Traditionally the ring represents eternity, and jade represents love, making it more and more popular for couples to make use of jade in their wedding rings. However, jade is also popular among collectors and in other uses thanks to its hard, durable nature.
The use of jade in rings dates back thousands of years, where the Ancient Egyptians wore them as wedding rings. According to the International Colored Gemstone Association, the Chinese also held the gemstone in high value calling it "yu," or the "royal gem," and using it in a similar way as gold and diamonds are used in the West. Prehistoric man, and tribes such as the New Zealand Maories, preferred to use jade as a tool and as part of weapons, thanks to its toughness.
The National Museum of Natural History states that the name jade describes two types of rock: nephrite and jadeite. The latter is rarer and therefore more valuable, forming only along deep faults in active subduction zones. Mineralogists and gemologists first started distinguishing between the two in the early 1800s, according to the International Colored Gemstone Association.
According to the International Colored Gemstone Association, jade's traditional use in jewelry comes from the fact that it represents love, eternity, peace and harmony thanks to its unbreakable nature. Its connection to love also makes it popular in wedding rings. Today, jade is becoming more popular in rings thanks to the fact that it is said to be closer to the heart than a diamond, which represents money and wealth. Jade rings are also popularly collected as antiques in the Western world.
Its internal arrangement makes jade a tough gem. Central Michigan University places jadeite at 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness (where diamond is ranked the hardest at 10), and nephrite at 6 to 6.5. This hardness makes the jade particularly suitable for carvings within jewelry and sculptures. The green color of jade comes from traces of chromium, and manganese can produce lilac shades. White spots indicate areas free of impurities.
Color helps to determine the value of jade, as well as color intensity, transparency and clarity, according to the International Colored Gemstone Association. In jewelry, violet and lavender shades of jade are popular, though emerald green is the most valuable. Jade can be set into traditional metals, or be carved into a complete ring.