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Every thing JADE and about Jade

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Author Topic: Every thing JADE and about Jade  (Read 2304 times)
Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« on: December 08, 2012, 10:27:11 pm »

I thought It might be good to start a thread top discuss every thing about Jade and things formed from Jade. 

I thought a good start point would be my test polish table.  I do a test polish on any new Jade I am going to be using.  It helps to keep them together both as I find them pleasing to have in the shop and when I am using a piece I like to look at the polished test piece as I can tell by looking what steps I will be using to get the best polish.

This is very important as scales on a knife are a lot more difficult to polish than a curved surface such as you would get cutting a cab.  In fact, I cannot get quite as good a polish on most knives than that on the test piece.

Here are the test piece Jades I use the most -



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* DSCF4505.JPG (157.71 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 38 times.)
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Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2012, 10:47:46 pm »

Hopefully you can see that the test pieces are mostly top grade Jades but even these can have serious issues. 

One problem we all face as buyers is determining the quality of a piece being considered.  I thought I would start with a bit about the grain (fly wing size) and why so much Jade being sold is poor quality.

The photos are of a pressure stress outer section from a VERY large boulder mined at the Kutcho mine in British Columbia.  The outer few inches is stressed by the massive forces in the upheavals over millions of years that it takes for the formed Jade to be thrust where the miners can get to it.

This piece has a relatively large grain size and the little "fly wing" structures of the grain can easily be seen in the photos of the outer edge.  On the cut side you can see the stress structures.  This whole piece is pretty much scrap as it will act like the flakey Croissant when being cut or when being ground to shape it.  This flaking issue can be problematic with Jade even as 12 inches from the outer surface and there is no way to see any evidence of it.  Cutting curves does not cause this issue as much as doing grinding of a straight edge as I need to work with knives.  There are ways to observe this concern when doing the cutting to shape on a slab in a trim saw or on a bandsaw.  You watch right where the blade is cutting to see if tiny flakes are being dislodged. 

I think that is enough information to digest so here are the photos -



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* DSCF4513.JPG (142.66 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 29 times.)
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Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 10:55:27 pm »

When slabbing a piece that has this "damage" you will often note the "Croissant" flaking in you slab saw.  This is a really good indication that your piece of Jade is going to be tricky to work or totally junk.

I also took a photo of the face of the Jade piece in the saw and you really cannot see the stress damage. 

In the Jade yards the outer edges are all sawn off to get the solid heart of the Jade to be a huge block.  The blocks are sold commercially and the cut off pieces tend to be what we can buy.







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Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 11:02:26 pm »

Now these issues show why it is really hard to buy Jade from Ebay photos.   I should note that the pressure scrap piece is just one end of a big piece from Kutcho that was selected for me by Kirk Makepiece.   It is actually VERY unusual in that it has good color and most of one side is full of dendrites!

Here are some photos of a backlit slab and a polished large cab.  This cab is about 3 1/2 inches tall.



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* DSCF4491.JPG (140.54 KB, 768x1024 - viewed 23 times.)
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Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 11:09:47 pm »

There are some things you can do to help determine how good a piece is.  Tight grained Jades have really tiny "fly wings".  Cut edges are very "crisp" - sharp edged.  Fine grained slabs have a very high "chime" and sound like porcelain when tapped together.  It is unmistakable when you hear it.

The tight grained pieces usually polish more easily and get a better polish than the larger grained Jades.   How hard the Jade is also impacts how easily the Jade will polish.

Jades that have a very "swirled" mix of colors are always much tougher to polish.

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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2012, 11:27:13 pm »


Interesting to say the least.  This is something to read and re-read.  I have quite a bit of jade so I'll have to study this real good.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2012, 11:32:18 pm »

I suspect the question a lot of you have is how do I polish the Jade.   I use the same basic "plan" for all of the Jades I use.  The more prone the Jade is to be tough to polish the lower the stage of the sanding I do is what I change.

The basic plan is to sand to 1200 and then take a aluminum marker and pretty much mark all over the piece and then go back to the 1200 grit.  For fine grained Jades the marking will be gone in seconds and that is a good indication that it will also take a high gloss polish.  I sand to 14K and then go to the ZAM buffer for a final light pass.

If the aluminum markings do not almost immediately get removed I know I have a less tightly grained piece.  I then take the piece to 3K and sand it smooth.  I dry the piece and look at the polish.  If it has a good polish I go to 8K and sand it and dry it.  If it improves I go to 14K and sand it.  If it improves I go to the ZAM for the final light buffing.

Now the question is what is done if going to the next higher grit does not improve the polish but develops a duller polish or orange peel.   You need to go back to 1200 and get a clean smooth finish again and then to the wheel that gave you the best polish which may be a dull wax look to even a almost suede look.

Once you have the best polish do a light dusting on the ZAM wheel and check the polish.   Then I go to a Fasbulstre wheel and do a light "sanding" and then go back to the ZAM wheel to polish.  If the polish did not improve that is as good as it will get with my process.

If it did improve I go back to the Fabulusre wheel and another light sanding and back top the ZAM to see iof it still improved.  Some Jades take up to 4 passes to get to the best possible shine.

Fabulstre removes a tiny bit of the Jade as it has a bit of abrasive effect.  This means that with every light sanding the orange peel effect gets worse.   What I am doing is looking for the best balance between polish and the orange peel texture.

I use neutral shoe polish on the Fabulustre wheel too.  That makes the buff wheel stickier and helps hold the Fabulstre on the buff.   I think it improves the cutting action too.

The buff wheels are the sewn type.  I use 3/4 inch (72 ply I believe) wheels and remove two rows of the stitching on a new wheel to get it to be fluffier.  Just spread a layer and use a single edge razor blade to cut the stitching.
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 01:37:20 am »

Great info Michael, working jade can be a challenge, so many different techniques and different sanding and polishing procedures used on different locations and types, I have had help from top NZ carvers over the last few years with sanding and polishing, I no longer use waxes of any kind, nor will I start a carving with visible cracks. There are three locations in my area that I get my jade from, and all need different sanding and polishing techniques, my jade fish hook in the bead comp was polished with linde A, its as hard as BC polar, the material I gave David Southerly is from another and it will not polish on Linde A, orange peels badly, its softer but a tighter grain and only diamond works, I constantly try new things, I have polished jadeite with bamboo with no compound at all, it contains fine silica quartz crystals that acts as the polishing abrasive, in Burma and China they wax dip sometimes, this gives extra depth and gloss, love reading your posts and keep them coming.
Cheers mick B
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 09:52:10 am »

Excellent topic and set of posts Michael! yes
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 10:07:15 am »

Mick - I had no idea 'til you mentioned it - very interesting:

Src: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph39.htm
"
 In addition to cellulose and lignin, the thick-walled fibers of bamboo also contain up to five percent silica in the form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Although bamboo culms do not have the structure of true wood, they are very hard because they contain silica and lignin.
"
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 11:10:01 am »

I've asked Aaron to pin this.  I don't have that power in this section of the forum.  I believe this to be a great thread to direct folks with Jade questions to.  Let's build on this thread with more Jade knowledge so it can be a great resource. Anyone who has other Jade pointers please feel free to add in photos and information.  yes
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 11:37:21 am »

Wonderful information! Thank you for sharing it Michael. I am going to print it out for easy reference.
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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2012, 12:05:36 pm »

Michael,
 Thanks for taking the time to post all that information.  I have accumulated quite a bit of jade from Alaska and New Zealand and have been hesitant to get started on doing anything with it.  This will certainly help.
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2012, 01:33:40 pm »

Great topic. I am looking forward to learning more. Jade really has a fibrous structure so I can see how the "wings" might determine quality. The tighter bond the fibers have to each other, the better quality. I would think it would polish better too. Jade is such a mysterious gem. What about directional cutting of the rough? Would cutting and polishing in a certain direction produce a better polish, some gem material does. I have never experimented with jade, just thinking of the possibilities. Neat topic, Eric(Ajo)
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2012, 04:16:36 pm »

Wow Michael, thanks for the great info!
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2012, 09:02:19 pm »

Directional cutting can really improve the final look of SOME Jades but most pieces can be cut in any direction.   Directional cutting is best on pieces with a layered structure and those pieces usually look best cut in the same direction as the layers so that you can "see" several of the layers.

Another type that needs directional cutting is Jade that is chatoyant or that has chatoyant bands.  You need to cut those like you would cut Tiger Eye.
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2012, 11:41:05 pm »

Great topic. I am looking forward to learning more. Jade really has a fibrous structure so I can see how the "wings" might determine quality. The tighter bond the fibers have to each other, the better quality. I would think it would polish better too. Jade is such a mysterious gem. What about directional cutting of the rough? Would cutting and polishing in a certain direction produce a better polish, some gem material does. I have never experimented with jade, just thinking of the possibilities. Neat topic, Eric(Ajo)

It sure can, as Michael says convention is to cut with the grain. If you make two cuts at 90 degrees to each other the shinier is cutting across the grain. I cut some jade recently that fractured horribly whenever the carving bur struck it in one particular angle of about 5 degrees, any other angle and it cut beautifully.
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2012, 11:50:47 pm »

As nephrite jade is the name given to a actinolite/tremolite mix where the crystals are felted together and often includes or grades into other minerals it is highly variable in the tightness of the felting, the grain size of the crystals and the direction of the grain and impurities. Therefore every piece of jade is different and as Michael points out often varies in the same boulder.

To further complicate things further nephrite is an alteration product of other minerals and grades between them in a metamorphic melange. It is these properties that make it both very tough and able to take fine carving and a challenge to cut and polish. There is probably more written about selecting, cutting and polishing jade than perhaps any other lapidary material.
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2013, 08:02:14 am »

i think that i will never know.  Too many head injuries.  i am learning to find and work the jade we are blessed with here in Happy Camp CA.   Upon information and belief, it is the only place on the planet where gold has been found in jade.
i have several colors... green, aquamarine, apricot and white.
So far in have only experimented with making slabs and carving with dremell.  Last eve made a deal to purchase a seven station (6 grind/1 polish) and look forward to another therapeutic activity.

Music and weed are presently my GO TO activities, alas, something inside drives me to add rocks to the mix.

https://soundcloud.com/caveman420

thank you,

paul
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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2013, 08:15:45 am »

I've not seen the CA material but Guatemala has some most excellent black jadeite with gold in it but you will rarely see it on the open market because of it's rarity and it gets snapped up by investment buyers right at the minesite
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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2013, 11:53:52 am »

There is Nephrite in the Happy Camp area but the most common material from there is Idocrase "Happy Camp Jade" and Grossular Garnet. The Idocrase on rare occasions does have small particles of embedded gold but it is really rare. I'm not aware of any Nephrite from there with gold in it.
Bob
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2013, 12:18:36 pm »

 There is quite a bit of gold in jade being found at the moment in Washington as it is apparently on a commercial jade claim now being worked but the quality of the jade is often a big problem i suspect . I recently saw a stone cut from Happy Camp Idocrase that was as beautiful a cab as can be imagined, deep translucent green of the best color , magical.
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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2013, 02:15:40 pm »

Is big sur jade a good quality and how about california jade in general?

liz
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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2013, 04:28:28 pm »

I have never had a problem with cutting Wyoming nephrite in any direction. It is incredibly tough and almost as tough when it is mixed (Frank and my opinion) with feldspar. I have tried to break slabs on healed fractures that would not follow the line. There are hidden fractures (almost impossible to see in a slab) that will fall apart in an instant though and I do not find them until I get ring blanks drilled and whack them on the table.



Every one of these have been put on my little finger and whacked on a wooden table eight or ten times and the only time they break is if there is a fracture. They are toast if you whack them on another rock.

I first started making rings out of agate and jasper and every one I gave away broke in the first day or two.
Jim
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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2013, 04:37:10 pm »

I should say that I have made rings with Washington translucent nephrite with black inclusions, thulite and glaucophane with the same success. The thulite and glaucophane are not quite as tough but I have had no breakage problems.

When I tried to drill a jade/nephrite that I got from Krystee in a cutting trade it split even though it had been cut with the grain
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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2013, 05:49:37 pm »

 I just go off the tile saw cutting jade cobbles. Each of the six  cobbles cut entirely differently . they had different hardness , a large range  , different types of white slime came off the cut , and some has flaking neat the skin and others had no sign of surface weakness. Always  a challenge with these.
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« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2013, 12:35:54 am »

I just received some nephrite from a friend. There was some white-green canadian (he said he was told it was from an old asbestos mine in Quebec) that I'm trying to ID. Any guesses? I love this stuff so far but also I'm wondering should I be anymore worried about asbestos than I would be with black jade (and many other it seems) ? Thanks

1 - Front (wet)


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« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2013, 12:38:12 am »

I have never had a problem with cutting Wyoming nephrite in any direction. It is incredibly tough and almost as tough when it is mixed (Frank and my opinion) with feldspar. I have tried to break slabs on healed fractures that would not follow the line. There are hidden fractures (almost impossible to see in a slab) that will fall apart in an instant though and I do not find them until I get ring blanks drilled and whack them on the table.



Every one of these have been put on my little finger and whacked on a wooden table eight or ten times and the only time they break is if there is a fracture. They are toast if you whack them on another rock.

I first started making rings out of agate and jasper and every one I gave away broke in the first day or two.
Jim

I'm really in love with some of the wyoming nephrites I've seen - especially the apple green with no inclusions. Where do you get the stuff (please don't say "Wyoming!"  chuckle ) ?
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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2013, 01:50:42 am »


I'm really in love with some of the wyoming nephrites I've seen - especially the apple green with no inclusions. Where do you get the stuff (please don't say "Wyoming!"  chuckle ) ?

Wyoming jade is a bit hard to come by, because much of the jade that was found in Wyoming in the early days went to China and never came back. There are a few rock shops left in Wyoming, and they all seem to have a little jade, though not much of the inclusion-free apple. It was always rare. Most of what they have these days is the less desireable colors.

You'll find a rock shop in Torrington, a very small one in Laramie, (Green Gold) and Tynskis are still open in Rock Springs. I don't know whether any of the Rhodes descendants are still selling jade in Lander.

Wyrock, are there any rock shops in northern Wyoming still open?

I have a few pounds of apple green that is inclusion free. Sadly, it's mostly tiny scraps and off-cuts from thin slabs, good for inlay and tiny cabs, but not much more.
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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2013, 04:37:56 am »

Thanks Cowboy. I'll see if I can find any of those online. Another option would be a jade that is similar. There are lots of jades out there, I've just become very fond of that color and colors that are close. I had one piece one time that probably was wyoming but with inclusions. 1970's stock - leavings others didn't want probably through the 1980's and maybe a little beyond (though the place had a large amount of stock in rough and sort of languished for years because of it's location). So oddly, I was able to get very nice things like biggs jasper that, while you could see why it was passed over - was probably better than you can find most places today. Same with the jades. They sold out awhile back and moved (which killed me - crates and crates of beautiful agate slabs I could have gotten pretty cheap but I was new at this and being super picky thinking "every shop must have this stuff").

Anyway I saw the mention of "tough" and that's exactly what the jades, all of them, I bought at this place were. I didn't even know they were jade when I bought them - I was really green; just buying this and that if it looked neat or different. I didn't miss out on a lot but I could have had at least a few more slabs of maybe four or five different types and they were thick slabs, a little over a quarter inch. And "tough". You could grind any direction and shape any way you wanted - never had anything peel or crack from those. But - I didn't have much of it and so it didn't last.

I bought some wyoming actinolite awhile back and when I compared it to the wyoming actinolite I got from that shop - sheeeet - like night and day. The newer stuff isn't terrible and it does take a nice polish but the older material - well, you just couldn't go wrong no matter what you did.

Thanks
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« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2013, 08:00:26 am »

The rock shop in Buffalo closed a few years ago shortly after I started playing with rocks. The father died, the mother was 80s and the son seemed a little bit slow minded. I bought some things to help them out but there was just no traffic through the shop. The father was a jeweler and when he died that income ceased.

I got to know them and the next time I am over that way I want to see what they might still have. Their house is a ways behind the shop and I think the daughter helps to support them.

The shop in either Rochester or Daton was open, closed then open again but all he had/has is mineral and agate samples and dino stuff (a lot of coppies, teeth and skulls).

I do not know of any other. I went to the rock show in Cody a couple of years ago but was looking for mostly IDs. There were a lot of vendors there. I was at a vendors table getting IDs from him and a young guy walked up with an apple green stone in his fist (tight fist). He would not let go of it and the vendor had to ID it in the guys hand. It was a beautiful piece of apple green with no inclusions and was priced by the vendor high enough to make me suck in my breath. That is the only apple green that I have seen.

The nephrite that I have I pick up all over the place around here. The only way for me to be sure (fairly sure) that it is nephrite is by SG, break (almost impossible) and the look of it. I have gotten to the point now where I can pick up a stone and pretty much tell by the weight of it that it is nephrite or a very close cousin. I find some pieces that have a higher SG than nephrite but it does not look like jadeite which is a little heavier. There are so many nephrite/jade wanabees out there that sometimes it is hard to tell what you have picked up. nephrite is made up of actinolite and tremolite so some of what I have may be one or the other of those two.

Way too much guessing.
Jim
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« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2013, 11:55:19 am »

Thanks Cowboy. I'll see if I can find any of those online.

This made me laugh inside!  Having set foot in all the shops I mentioned, and met the proprietors, I would be utterly dumbfounded to learn that any of them owns a computer, let alone operates a website.

The Torrington rock shop has one very nice chunk of jade that I'd like to own. It's not typical "apple" green, as it's about the same shade as the very palest green apple you'll ever see. It has some inclusions, but looks absolutely lovely anyway. A huge uniformly colored  block, probably ten pounds, cut on all sides but one, into a blocky rectangle, probably three inches thick and roughly 8 by 10 inches. They want every penny for it. I think the asking price on the tag is around $6000.

Oddly, I bought a very nice chunk of apple-ish jade from them a couple years ago, a nice 5 by 5 by 5 inch cube, for only $175. I thought it was a bargain, especially after I cut a few cabs and it came out looking like this:



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« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2013, 11:22:38 pm »

Mick - I had no idea 'til you mentioned it - very interesting:

Src: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph39.htm
"
 In addition to cellulose and lignin, the thick-walled fibers of bamboo also contain up to five percent silica in the form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Although bamboo culms do not have the structure of true wood, they are very hard because they contain silica and lignin.
"

Yes, bamboo has the highest silica content of any plant.  It is 7 times higher in silica than horsetail grass, which is often claimed to be the highest silica source.

Another interesting fact is that the sap of bamboo will sometimes form opal referred to as vegetable opal.
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« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2013, 01:41:58 am »

Beautiful cab there Cowboy. Thanks for the info and yah - I know; but maybe I'll find phone numbers at least. This is by no means urgent - if it takes a year I'm good (so many things going on and things I'm trying to work out lapidary-wise).
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« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2013, 06:00:02 pm »

Here is some more jade samples.

The first two photos are from the same block of Tamworth nephrite, the first slab is cut across the grain, this has the better pattern but the edges crumbled in the saw and I am not sure it would stand up to carving or cutting. The second slab is cut with the grain, I used this to make the 501 I posted recently.
I had trouble with the pointy edges of the scales where they meet the bolster as the grain direction meant they had little support, luckily when the edge fell apart on the grinder it just missed the area I needed for the knife and I was able to move to sanding only on those edges.

The third photo is a bottroydal jade, the fibres are radiating and it splits really easily along the fibres.

The 4 & 5 photos are of a piece of jade I trimmed carelessly, you can see the circular shatters is caused as it lifted the fibres. The second shot on the side shows how the fibres were deformed.

The last photo is of a chunk of jade showing the shistosity that some jades have. This one will be hard to cut as it is very layered.

David



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« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2013, 06:11:34 pm »

Not all nephrite jade has well defined layering and direction, in fact the best carving nephrite has very finely compressed fibres and the grain is very hard to determine.

This photo is of a very thin slab of very well compacted nephrite jade from Tamworth, the colour only shows in thin section. The slab is wedge shaped about 4mm at the thickest end and 0.5mm at the thinest, even at 0.5mm it is solid and cannot be broken by applying force by hand, it also has a superb 'jade' ring. There is no easy why to tell the direction of the grain in this jade as each cut face is shiny smooth. It needs to be very thin to show off the jade, would be excellent at plectrum material.


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« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2015, 07:13:43 am »

I have some nice pieces of jade I picked at Jade Cove.  It is already really nicely shaped.  I feel kinda naive here, but can I just put it in my rotary tumbler to finish the polish?  Most of it already seems naturally polished.  But should  I tumble it more to put a high gloss on it, or leave it natural?  At some point I would like to make some pendants. 
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« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2015, 10:17:28 am »

So...  is the apple green worth more?
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« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2015, 08:53:06 pm »

Apple green is the most valuable color in China and most of the world but white in Korea.  So, it is somewhat "cultural" in assessing value.  I prefer the bright "apple" green as it shows best in low light and normal work and shopping locations.
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« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2015, 03:38:52 am »

As nephrite jade is the name given to a actinolite/tremolite mix where the crystals are felted together and often includes or grades into other minerals it is highly variable in the tightness of the felting, the grain size of the crystals and the direction of the grain and impurities. Therefore every piece of jade is different and as Michael points out often varies in the same boulder.

To further complicate things further nephrite is an alteration product of other minerals and grades between them in a metamorphic melange. It is these properties that make it both very tough and able to take fine carving and a challenge to cut and polish. There is probably more written about selecting, cutting and polishing jade than perhaps any other lapidary material.

It is just this variability that is throwing me in learning about jade. I joined the fourm because it is evident we have several Jade experts available and I want to learn about jade. My interest started when I learned that Jade had been found in Michigan. There was an article in a rock and gem magazine and it seems it was largely ignored. The discoverer was  a Dr Julian Greenlee, who was a science teacher among many other interests and abilities.  There was mention of his jade finds being verified by several universities and the Smithsonian, and I found several articles online, one which claimed he had found nephrite AND jadeite.   Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago when a rock I had found was examined by a geologist at University of Tennesee and thought it might be jadeite- tests pending.  Here is my problem. All Jade found in locations here are most likely glacial transports. They are extremely varied and most have inclusions. Not one suspect I have picked up has had any translucence.  I have heard Edwards jade is not translucent, and this stuff resembles the photos I have seen of it.  I have done test polish windows on many pieces looking for "jade milk" and many seem to produce something like that, but having no experience with jade before I can not confirm this is what the stuff is.
Can the stuff I am finding be nephrite and not be jade?


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« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2015, 08:15:49 am »

I'm not the foremost expert on jade on this forum, but I do know quite a bit about it.

One of the easiest tests you can preform is determining the suspect rock's specific gravity. This is done by determining the stone's weight, then the stone's weight in water. You subtract the water weight from the air weight, and then divide the air weight by the difference.

In other words,

Air Weight
(Air Weight - Water Weight)           = Specific Gravity

There are many ways to rig up ways to do this. Do a youtube search, if you come up empty-handed I'll try to find you a link.

Serpentine (s.g. approx. 2.57) and many other jade lookalikes will usually be considerable lighter-weight. Jadeite (s.g. approx., 3.34)  is even heavier than nephrite (s.g. approx. 2.95).

Not all jade is translucent. The black jade from Australia will not allow any light to pass thru. Some of the Alaskan and Wyoming and even the New Mexican jade are extremely opaque. You need an edge or slice to be able to determine if it has any translucency. If you can find an edge, put a flashlight behind it and see if any light passes through.

I shared your frustration about understanding jade and jadeite. About ten years ago I went to a talk given by a Chinese carving manufacturer and inquired how you determine if something was jade. His roundabout answer was, whatever we say it is. I had the good fortune to meet a lady who was studying to be GIA accredited; and she and I went through a huge education regarding what makes something "jade". I have also had the opportunity to see and handle jade from all over the world, and it makes a huge difference to have that experience. Just stick with it, and you will learn.

Debbie K
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« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2015, 09:46:54 am »

The photos do show what looks to be Jade.  That black colored Jade is often found on the Washington coast beaches and is referred to as beach Jade here.   
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« Reply #42 on: February 11, 2015, 04:10:00 pm »

Debbie K and Michael H, thanks for the input, that is encouraging. I have sent samples to several people from another forum, and some thought maybe jade, some thought  other things. But what I find is so variable that each piece I sent to somebody might have been different.  Specific gravity tests show the stuff is right in the jade ballpark or it is heavier/more dense than jade. I am still a beginner and do not have all the right equipment (saw and scientific scales) to do tests on many of these large pieces. There are plans to aquire them in the future. I'll get there!
 Jade as a subject is fascinating and I know it is complicated.  I have read all back posts on any forum I can find regarding jade, looked at countless photos, annoy people with questions, and hope to continue to learn. Thank you!
Deb in Michigan. 
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« Reply #43 on: February 11, 2015, 05:04:15 pm »

Deb:

If you'd like, my friend (the GG, Graduate Gemologist) and I could get an RI on a small sample. If you have a small chip I could polish it and get a spot reading which would tell us a little more than just the specific gravity.

Nephrite and Jadeite both are composite type stones, they both have varying degrees of different elements in them and my understanding is that the elements need to conform to certain defined ratios to be considered jade. With this in mind, it may behoove you to send some to a gem lab and have a chemical analysis done, something well beyond my capabilities.

Frank and Mick are both real experts in finding jade in the wild, and I'm really hoping that they will weigh in as they have so much knowledge on the subject.

I'm excited today because a friend brought me back some Washington blue jade from Tucson; it makes my Guatemalan blue look very bad in comparison. Michael Hoover, who answered your post also, has done some beautiful knife scales out of the same type of blue jade, I forget what the website was. I'm trying to figure out what I want to carve out of it.

Debbie K

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« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2015, 11:42:56 pm »

Debbie, are we gonna get to see a some photos of it?
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« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2015, 04:43:20 am »

Thanks Debbie K,  I'll have to figure out how to PM you. (exciting possibilities , thanks so much!) There is one piece still at Univ. Tn. being analyzed, so maybe that will bear fruit, I'll post results here.  Would love to see pictures of everybody's jade, I can't get enough.
I especially love photos of rough and then pictures of the interior. It helps so much when I'm in the field to be able to picture what I might find. Do I need to start another thread? 
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« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2015, 07:06:23 am »

I'll try to post a picture of it later today when I get back, and put it next to some typical California green and Polar so you guys can see the color difference.

In the meantime, here's the website with Michael Hoover's knives with it on the scales. http://www.washingtonjade.com/

Debbie K
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« Reply #47 on: March 19, 2015, 12:25:48 pm »

I thought It might be good to start a thread top discuss every thing about Jade and things formed from Jade. 

I thought a good start point would be my test polish table.  I do a test polish on any new Jade I am going to be using.  It helps to keep them together both as I find them pleasing to have in the shop and when I am using a piece I like to look at the polished test piece as I can tell by looking what steps I will be using to get the best polish.

This is very important as scales on a knife are a lot more difficult to polish than a curved surface such as you would get cutting a cab.  In fact, I cannot get quite as good a polish on most knives than that on the test piece.

Here are the test piece Jades I use the most -



Wow. What alot of Jade. I know nothing about Jade. At all. I might most of the time be able to tell that something made of malachite, prehnite, aventurine or chrysoprase in NOT jade, but that is about it, and even then... I don't have testing equipment.

I am hoping someone can help me. This is an old thread, but some of you might have some knowledge of what I have just based upon my description and  if it is something I can cab and sell inexpensively or if it might be more valuable than I realize. What I have is a small 3" x 2" box of a large number of labelled varieties of jade,  and a few blocks or pieces of green stone. This was from stuff my father gave me from our old house and is most likely things he picked up between 50 and 35 years ago.  (I actually put everything together in one box because it was scattered all over in between ancient equipment when I got it, so it might not have all gone together originally. )

I am guessing it was some sort of sample pack you could order at one time to decide what else you would get? It's a bunch of small "jade" slabs, most about 1.5" by 1" by 5mm or so, maybe a bit larger and each one labelled individually with a glued paper tag, with just one of each, as follows: From Medocino CO. CA. - Green Leaf Nephrite, Mendocino Green Nephrite, olive glow nephrite, Mountain Meadow Nephrite, Eel River Brown Nephrite, Golden Green Nephrite, Alpine Lichen Nephrite, Spring Moss Nephrite, Bland's Mountain Jadeite and Mosaic Jadeite. From Trinity CO. CA. - Wild Canary Nephrite, Damask Jadeite and Ivory and Green Jadeite. From San Benito CO. CA. - Twilight Blue Green Jadeite, and Chloromelanite (what is that?). From Sonoma Co. CA. - Mountain Mahogany Nephrite. From Butte Co. CA. - Butte Black Nephrite. From Skagit CO. Washington - Deer Creek Nephrite. From Fremont CO. WYO. - Desert Sage Nephrite and lastly From Guatemala - Mayan Jadeite. Anyone know if there was a mine or shop this came from and anything else about it?

There were also two unlabelled slabs, some green stones and a couple of rectangular blocks that may be nephrite or jadeite or as near as I can tell any one of a dozen or more green stones, because, again, I really find all the green stuff to start to look alike after a while and don't have test equipment.

One of the unlabelled slabs is larger and is extremely pretty. It is translucent meaning I can see the shadow of my fingers behind it. I am not absolutely sure that came with the rest, but it was green, and I think it looks like nephrite to me (if that means anything.)I have a picture below of it and the other mystery stones. Any thought about if these other stones are jades or what they are, if the small box of jade slabs has any value beyond say any especially nice agate, and any other info. ? I do have a label for a 1/2 lb. piece of green aventurine from the "orient" bought at the Parser Mineral Corporation in Danbury, CT and am guessing that is the obviously aventurine looking light color rough stone. I believe the darker green polished slab with the white streak next to it may also be aventurine even though it is darker than usual because it has that sparkly texture/look aventurine gets.  The very light green worn beachy looking stone is actually very soft and I don't know if it could be variscite? Some kind of turquoise?  Any ideas? What about the blocks? The sort fo triangular one looks like it could be black jadeite? The others are all green. Thank you to all for looking and any educated guesses.


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« Reply #48 on: March 19, 2015, 01:56:51 pm »

More pics. black jade? nephrite? 2 shades of green aventurine (second image of same stones, different angle)?


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« Reply #49 on: March 19, 2015, 04:27:54 pm »

You can do Specific Gravity tests at home with a kitchen scale & water.  You should be able to find a video on YouTube that shows how.

Nephrite will be about 2.95 with a MOHS of 6.0-6.5
Jadeite will be about 3.4 with a MOHS of 6.5-7.0

And you can see if a steel blade will scratch it.  If it does, it's not jade.  Steel is about 5.5 so it won't scratch Jade.
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« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2015, 05:17:25 pm »

The first stone definitely looks like nephrite, the fourth looks like imperial jasper. The last paler greens could be aventurine. It's hard to tell anything from the other photographs.

Do you have a jeweler's loupe? Aventurine looks grainy/sugary, jade looks felted. You can often tell jade by the heft; it's considerably heavier than quartz. If you have something you know is jade that's roughly the same size as the unknown, compare the weights.

Do look on Youtube for a specific gravity scale. They're pretty easy to make and invaluable to help eliminate possibilities. A kitchen scale is really not accurate enough for smaller pieces, but places like Harbor Freight sell ones that can do the job for about $20.00.

Mindat.org has a lot of information on gemstones and minerals and will give you hardness and specific gravity information, along with all sorts of other fun information.

Take a flashlight and go to edge of the darker stones and see if there is any translucency. Jade often glows.

You're lucky to have identified, marked pieces to compare your unknown pieces to; it makes it so much easier to make a determination. If your jadeite piece is jadeite, the difference in the heft ought to be noticeable in comparison to the nephrite.

You're lucky to get such a nice collection! Have fun!

Debbie K
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« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2015, 08:21:55 pm »

Hi all I have some stones that hits the 3.2-3.4 specific gravity range. they are tough also.

The first two were found in trinity county(norcal), the last white one was found in clear creek, which is famous for having nice white jadeite.

I have no idea what jadeite rough looks like, only nephrite.

Anyone give a tip on visual ID? Would be excited to hear.


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« Reply #52 on: December 05, 2015, 04:27:08 pm »

Hi Michael or anybody that may know about
Blue jade
very rare?
i read its from Calif.
Vonsen blue jade make sense?
the mining has supposedly been suspended
thx
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« Reply #53 on: December 05, 2015, 07:14:50 pm »

Vonsen Blue jade is real and is from California.  The pieces on Ebay seem to be around 1.00 per gram or so.  I have cut a few smaller pieces over the years but have never seen much rough available. 

The posts on ebay all say the area is worked out.

Bob Johannes
The Amethyst Rose
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« Reply #54 on: December 05, 2015, 08:20:40 pm »

Washington State also has some blue jade, here are some examples http://www.washingtonjade.com/Premium%20Grades.html. I have a fairly good sized chunk and I really would say that it's bluish-green; in natural daylight you can see quite a bit of blue, but not so much under florescent light.

Debbie K
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« Reply #55 on: December 05, 2015, 10:14:31 pm »

The clear creek jadeite is blue and white. The white areas are the areas without metals that color the jade. The metal is normally iron which in different concentrations and ionic states can be blue , green , yellow , red , brown  and black . Here in Washington the true blue jade is almost always transient once it is exposed to either cutting oil or  ,longer term , the humidity in the air . I have cut many pieces that are robin egg blue ( if cut with water ) and almost all oxidize and turn brown.
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