Past blog hops and challenges

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The letter is "N" for the Blogging A - Z Challenge

Today’s topic starts with the letter “N”.
Today’s gemstone is Nephrite jade, an ornamental stone used in carvings, beads and cabochon cut gemstones.  It is one of two different minerals that are called jade.  Nephrite jade is mostly grays and greens and jadeite jade contains blacks, reds, pinks and violet and is more vivid in coloring.  Nephrite can also be a translucent white to light yellow color which is known in China as mutton fat jade or an opaque white to light brown or gray known as chicken bone jade.
Mutton fat jade
Canada is the modern source of stone used for carvings.  It can be mined to depths of 10-20 feet or found in river beds.  It has a very hard and fibrous crystalline structure.  When polished it has a soft oil-like appearance. 

Nephrite was used mostly in pre-1800 China, New Zealand, North American and Southeast Asia.  Its name comes from lapis nephriticus which is derived from a Greek word meaning “kidney stone”.  It was once believed to be a cure for kidney stones. 
Nephrite was used to create many utilitarian and ceremonial objects ranging from decorative items to a burial suit.  Nephrite jade is highly valued in the Maori culture in New Zealand and plays an important part in their culture.  It was used to make weapons and neck pendants which were handed down from father to son as family heirlooms.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to return tomorrow to find out what letter "O" will be.

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