Since the dawn of civilisation, jade has been a part of Chinese art and culture. In fact, the Chinese were the first to recognise jade as a gem. As mankind evolved, primitive man first used jade to craft axe heads, hammers and knives. For over 7,000 years, jade has become unique in the number of myths and beliefs surrounding it. Almost every culture has its own stories about the significance of jade and its many colours, including pink.
Beliefs and Myths
According to ThingsAsian.com, certain beliefs and myths surround all jade, regardless of its colour. In Indian culture, jade was called the "divine stone" and considered to be capable of curing asthma, gravel, epilepsy and heartburn. The Spanish conquistadors who once occupied Mexico believed jade could cure side pain or kidney stones and named it "piedra de ijada," which means stone of the loin. (From that comes the name jade.) As far back as the pre-Columbian period, the Mayas, Aztecs and Olmecs valued jade more than gold. In Egypt, it was the stone of love, inner peace, harmony and balance. Chinese emperors saw the "stone of heaven," jade, as a symbol of power.
Jade is actually a common name for two different gems, nephrite and jadeite. Pink jade is jadeite, a sodium aluminium silicate mineral that rates a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Jadeite is rarer than nephrite, and therefore more valuable. Green, black, blue, lilac, purple, red, violet, white and pink are all colours represented in jadeite. At times the gemstone has veining, which does not necessarily detract from its value.
Pink Jade Symbolism
Like the entire family of jade, a wide range of beliefs and myths surround pink jade. EarthTreasures.com says all jadeite including pink is considered a gentle healer with positivity and the ability to rid the body of toxins. According to them, pink jade has such a tremendous effect on the nervous system that merely holding it causes a resonating energy from within. WiccanWay.com says pink jade encourages love, wealth and protection. Like all jade, it symbolises all the Confucian virtues: wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage, according to the International Colored Gemstone Association.
Origin and Finishing
Jadeite has been mined in China, Japan, Russia, Guatemala and even the United States. The most valuable jadeite, known for its superb colour intensity and glassy lustre, comes from upper Burma, now Myanmar. The raw jadeite is cut with wire saws and abrasives. Since it is such a hard gemstone, diamond drills are used to carve it and hollow out details.
Low-Grade Jade and Fakes
As with many gemstones, man has found ways to improve on nature by taking low-grade jade and dyeing it to improve its appearance. At times, even glass, plastic or other stones are masqueraded as fine-quality pink jade. Whenever you invest in jade, it is important to patronise a reputable dealer or jeweller for your purchase.