In this series of blog posts, I share more about how I eventually started designing with Jade despite my initial reservations and also snippets about this truly evergreen gemstone that I now love.
Starting to Design Jewellery with Jade
Before I started making Jade jewellery, my idea of Jade was what my grandma and my mum used to wear. Heavy bangles that threaten to either break my arm or just break.
Fast forward a couple of decades, I've really come to appreciate this beautiful and elegant gem that we call Jade. It’s process of coming full circle in a way. Being prejudiced against something that my mum likes used to be a badge of rebellion. Yes, don’t we all go through that?
Confronting my Prejudices
But falling in love with Jade, it’s a wake-up call to examine other aspects in my life where I hold deep likes or dislikes. Hey, no one said we have to be perfect. And while my design process can come from external inspirations like a gem, a plant, scenery, it eventually always drives me to dig deep inwards.
As someone who always opted for Science stream in school, this introspection is new, uncomfortable, but welcome. Science subjects are seemingly more easy to score good marks in as there's always a "correct"answer. In Arts and Humanities though, there's always another point of view you can consider and I never was confident enough to go for that. Anyone with me here?
With every piece of jewellery that I make now, every blog post I write, every Instagram picture or caption I post, I'm putting myself out there to be judged and critiqued. I can't tell you how hard that it, or that how much it has made me grow as a person, a mother, a wife and a friend. I'm really loving it.
Jade, Joyful Jade
The green tones of Jade can range from warm green to cool icy green, and I love pairing my favourite new gem with my perennial favourites like Tanzanite. I researched more about Jade in order to decide how best to design with it. The hardness of the gem, how it can be cut, whether it gets scratched easily, all matter in my design process.
Types of Jade
This is what I learnt. There are apparently two types of Jade. Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite Jade is by far the more appealing of the two due to the vivid green and wide range of colours it comes in.
How Jadeite is Formed
Jadeite is formed at high pressures and this results in the tightly packed crystals that make it extremely strong. Jade is naturally found as boulders with a weathered brown exterior.
Where Jade is Found
The most important sources of Jadeite are Myanmar, Guatemala, Japan and Kazakhstan.
As for Nephrite, the most important sources are northwestern China, British Columbia, and Siberia.
Symbolism of Jade
Jade is an important gemstone in many cultures: Chinese, Aztecs, Central Americans, Spanish and the Portuguese.
The English word “Jade”comes from the Spanish phrase “Piedra de ijada” that means “stone on the side”. It was believed that keeping Jade close could cure kidney ailments and hip problems.
Jade is an extremely hard stone and very difficult for craftsmen to cut and fashion into ornaments or jewellery. That’s why in ancient China, it was only available to the rich and powerful and was seen as a status symbol.
The Chinese used Jade to ward off evil spirits. Jade is also believed to bring good luck and longevity.
Emperor Qianlong was an avid collector of Jade and amassed a huge collection of beautiful Jade ornaments.
Using Jadeite in my Collection: Chinoiserie
Armed with this information, I sourced for Jadeite that I can use in my new collection ~ Chinoiserie.
Stay tuned for my next post where I share the three types of Jadeite and which type I chose to use in my collection.
In the meantime, do check out my Jade jewellery Collection, Chinoiserie here!