Jade is China’s national stone and seen as a bridge between Heaven and Earth. It’s the must-wear gem of the rising Chinese middle class. All of which makes some miners in northern B.C. – home to more high-quality jade than anywhere else on earth – very, very happy, as was witnessed early in BC's history when the Chinese came and plundered it along with Canada's gold. "Working the railways you say!"
WE ALL THINK WE KNOW JADE when we see it, but the word “jade” actually refers to two very different stones that look very much alike. China’s historic jade is nephrite, famous as the toughest stone on Earth and known for its rich resinous texture when polished. Nephrite is the jade that B.C. has in abundance. Its chemical structure is completely different from jadeite, found primarily in Myanmar (Burma). Jadeite is beautiful, and rare, and even though it’s a relative newcomer in the Asian jade trade (the 1700s) it became China’s pre-eminent gemstone over the past two centuries, and that’s at the root of the confusion between the two stones. (The Chinese use the word “yu” to refer to both kinds of jade.)