Home
Up
Science Fiction
Denver
Genealogy
Mythology
Left-Handedness
Marriage
Animals
Shopping
Traveling
Miscellaneous
About Molly

Fake Jades Jade Collecting Avoiding Fakes

Non-Jades

Minerals Falsely Sold as Jade

By Molly Kalafut


As described in the section on "fake jades", many minerals (especially green ones!) are sometimes described and sold as jade but are not, in fact jade.  This page goes into more detail about the minerals and substances that are not jade, and offers suggestions for how to differentiate it from true jade.

As a warning, this page needs a lot of revision and work to get it up to true geology specifications.  Until then, please just take this information as a general guide.


Agate

Agate is sometimes misrepresented as jade, particularly white agate speckled with spinach-green.  Agate can be hard and polished to a shine like jade, but it is much less dense.  It is comprised of Silica SiO2 and Soda Na2O.

Examples

bullet Japanese Jade

Albite

(See Feldspar)

Albite is a variety of feldspar.  The white albite variety when combined with green actinolite may be misrepresented as jade.


Andesine

(See Feldspar)

Andesine is a variety of plagioclase feldspar.  It is sometimes misrepresented as jade.

Examples

bullet Andesine Jade

Amazonite

(See Feldspar)

Amazonite is a green variety of microcline feldspar and sometimes misrepresented as jade.  The color ranges from green to blue-green that is caused by lead.  Amazonite is primarily collected from India.  It was named for the Amazon River, though it does not occur in the Amazon River area.

Examples

bullet "Amazon Jade"
bullet "Virginia Jade"

Andradite

Andradite is sometimes misrepresented as jade, particularly the dark green coloration.  It is actually harder than jade.


Aragonite

Aragonite that has been dyed green is sometimes misrepresented as jade.


Aventurine

(See Quartz)

Green aventurine is a variety of quartz that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  Also, aventurine that is dyed purple is sometimes misrepresented a purple jade.  It is quartzite that is colored green by impurities of fuchsite mica.  It belongs to the group of macrocrystalline quartz (that also include chrysoprase, carnelian and bloodstone).  It is primarily found in Brazil, India and Russia.

Examples

bullet Henan Jade
bullet India Jade
bullet Indian Jade
bullet Regal Jade
bullet Silver Jade

Beryl

The green varieties of beryl are sometimes misrepresented as jade.  It can be detected by the lower specific gravity.


Bowenite

Bowenite is a variety of serpentine that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  Bowenite occurs in a part of Rhode Island, hence it's name "Rhode Island Jade".


Bonamite

Bonamite is an apple-green variety of smithsonite that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.


Calcite

Calcite is sometimes misrepresented as jade, particularly if it has been dyed green or is onyx marble.  It is not as hard as jade and effervesces with dilute hydrochloric acid.

Examples

bullet Imperial Mexican Jade
bullet Mexican Jade
bullet Tecali

Californite

Californite is also called "Vesuvianite" and "Idocrase" and is commonly misrepresented as jade.  It is usually green but can also be white, yellow, bluish or red-brown.  It usually occurs in metamorphic rocks, particularly impure limestone.  High quality californite can be difficult to distinguish from jade; some experts recommend index of refraction determinations to identify the material.

Examples

bullet "American Jade" - because it's found in California in America
bullet "California Jade" - because deposits are found in California
bullet "Feather River Jade"
bullet "Happy Camp Jade" - named for the Happy Jack mine
bullet "Pulga Jade" - named for deposits found near Pulga, California
bullet "Vesuvianite Jade" - named for deposits found near Mount Vesuvius in Italy

Chalcedony

(See Quartz)

Chalcedony is a variety of quartz that is misrepresented as several types of fake jades.  It has a lower specific gravity than true jade.  Chrysoprase, plasma and prase varieties of chalcedony are most often faked.

Examples

bullet Australian Jade - chrysoprase
bullet Nanyang Jade
bullet Queensland Jade

Chrysoprase

(See Quartz)

Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony quartz that is bright green and can be very clear.  It is sometimes misrepresented as jade, and since it is very hard as well (7-7.5) it can be difficult to tell the difference.

"OK itís not Jadeite or Imperial Jade but the quality is good and it looks the part for a small fraction of the cost. When itís is made up into fine Jade Jewellery only experts with testing equipment could possibly tell the difference." -Raven Bell Exports Ltd

Examples

bullet "Australian Jade"
bullet "Jadine"

Cordierite

Cordierite is a mineral that is sometimes misrepresented as gray-colored jadeite.  It has a lower specific gravity and is actually harder than jade.


Diopside

A website describes this as:

"Diopside-rich rock from Central America - perhaps this should not be considered to be a substitute in that diopside is a pyroxene with a composition close to that of jadeite. See also Omphacite, below. An apparently similar rock that consists largely of chrome diopside plus lesser amounts of chromite, pectolite and uvarovite garnet, from Hokkaido, Japan has been called hidaka jade. Hidaka jade - see Diopside-rich rock ... "


Dolostone

Dolostone that is dyed green and fine-grained may be misrepresented as jade.  It isn't nearly as hard as true jade.


Emerald

Low quality emeralds are sometimes misrepresented as jade, especially low quality translucent to sub-translucent emerald.


Feldspar

Microcline feldspar and it's variation "Amazonite" are sometimes misrepresented as jade.  Luckily feldspar can usually be detected just from looking at it.  Feldspar is a very common mineral.  There are two groups; alkali and plagioclase.

Alkali Feldspar

The microcline feldspar is a common potassium feldspar variety from the alkali group.  They are often found in granites.  The green color variety is called "amazonite" or "green microcline amazonite" and may be caused by trace lead and OH-1.  Interestingly, microcline is mixed with kaolin and quartz to make porcelain, and it is also used in the manufacture of glass.

Examples

bullet Amazon Jade
bullet Colorado Jade

Flurorite (Flurospar)

Green fluorite may be misrepresented as jade.  It is significantly softer than true jade.


Garnet (Grossular)

There are several dozen types of garnets that come in all colors except blue.  The "grossular" garnet can be green and misrepresented as jade.  In fact, the name "grossular" comes from the gooseberry's Latin name, R. grossularia and refers to the pale green color.

Grossular garnets are usually found in metamorphic deposits with impure limestones.  The grossular colors can range in combinations of green, yellow, gray brown and black.  The color variations are caused by trace element impurities.

Examples

bullet "African Jade" - green grossular garnet
bullet "Garnet Jade" - made of garnet
bullet "Transvaal Jade" - green grossular garnet
bullet "South African Jade"

Gibbsite

Gibbsite that is dyed green is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  It isn't as hard and has a lower specific gravity.


Glass

Hard as it may be to believe, green-colored glass is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  Luckily it can often be detected as fake due to visible air bubbles, the fragility and obvious lower weight.

Glass is sometimes passed off as jade, particularly the Imperial green or white colors.  It is much less dense than jade, and may contain small air bubbles.  The glass is sometimes called "Beijing glass" or "Peking glass".

Beware that some eBay merchants use "Jade" to mean "Green" - even when it's just glass

Jasper

(See Quartz)

Jasper is a variety of the type of quartz called "chert".  The color is usually red, brown or yellow.  Jasper is sometimes misrepresented as jade, especially if it has been dyed green.  The natural red-brown color is caused by hematite or goethite impurities.  Jasper is mostly found in Venezuela and India.

Examples

bullet Jasper Jade
bullet Oregon Jade
bullet Swiss Jade

Kosmochlor

A website describes this as:

"Kosmochlor (formerly called ureyite) - some jadeitic jade from, for example, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is made up of relatively large percentages of the pyroxene kosmochlor; some gemologists -- e.g., Htein and Naing (1994) - have advocated applying the name jade, with no modifiers, to these rocks. See MAW-SIT-SIT entry."


Malachite

Malachite is a lovely green stone that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  Malachite has a hardness of only 3.5-4 compared to jade's 6-7.  It is primarily found in Zaire.  It is also usually visually distinctive from the alternating bands of light and dark greens.

Examples

bullet Silver Peak Jade

Marble

Marble with patterns similar to jade is sometimes dyed green and misrepresented as jade.  It is far softer than jade and can be determined as fake visually.


Maw-Sit-Sit

Maw Sit Sit is named after a town in Myanmar/Burma where it was discovered by Swiss Gemologist Eduard Gubelin in 1963.  It contains chromite, ureyite, chrome jadeite, symplektite, chrome amphibole. A website describes this as:

"Maw-sit-sit (jade-albite, an ill-chosen misnomer). - [multi-mineral makeup can be seen with naked eye in most cases, and with aid of 10x handlens in essentially all cases.]. see MAW-SIT-SIT entry. Kyet Tayoe - a relatively light apple-green variety of Maw-sit-sit. See MAW-SIT-SIT entry.""


Metavariscite

Metavariscite is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  It is much softer at 3-4 than jade that is 6-7.  It can usually be visually detected as not jade.


Nunderite

Nunderite is a green rock with brown speckles that is made up of jadeite with plagioclase feldspar.  It is found in New South Wales, Australia.  It is obviously composed of different minerals if you look at it closely.


Omphacite

A quote from a website I found state:

"Omphacite - rocks composed of largely of this pyroxene -- which is closely related to jadeite, diopside and aegirine -- have been used in lieu of jade for carving of such things as masks in Central America for decades; more recently, it has become common, both as smooth pebbles (rough) and fashioned cabochons and small carvings, in Hong Kong and Chinese markets. The Central America material, according to William Foshag (1957), an old friend from the Smithsonian, has been called diopside-jadeite (see also Diopside-rich rock ... listing); the material marketed in Asia as "inky jadeite jade" is described in detail by Mei et al. (2003) as consisting greater than 85 per cent omphacite plus jadeite, kosmochlor, opaque metal oxides and "specks of graphite or possibly a black organic material." This "jade simulant" has been simulated by dark green to nearly black nephrite jade and black, or nearly black, serpentine. - [Omphacite rocks do not really look like any typical jade, but it may be wise, when "black jade" is encountered to have someone who has the appropriate equipment check its refractive indices.]. Inky jadeite jade - see Omphacite. Pyroxene jade - see remarks under Omphacite."


Opal

A low quality opal is sometimes misrepresented as jade when it is called "fire jade".

Examples

bullet Fire Jade

Pectolite

Pectolite is name for a "tough massive fine-grained pale green pectolite-rich rock".  It is sometimes misrepresented as jade. Deposits have been found near Point Barrow, Alaska - hence the (inaccurate!) term "Alaska Jade".

Examples

bullet "Alaska Jade" - named for deposits found near Point Barrow, Alaska

Picrolite

Picrolite is a fibrous variety of serpentine that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  It is also called baltimorite.


Prehnite

Prehnite is sometimes misrepresented as jade.

Examples

bullet Japanese Jade

Quartz & Quartzite

Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the world and comprises 12% of the earth's crust. Several forms of quartz are misrepresented as jade.

Reddish quartzite is sometimes sold as jade.  Quartzite that is dyed green or yellow may be sold as jade.  Some dye quartzite to resemble "moss-in-snow" jade.

Macrocrystalline Quartz

These quartzes include amethyst, rose quartz, citrine and smoky quartz.  They have crystals that are visible to the naked eye.

Cryptocrystalline Quartz

The cryptocrystalline quartzes have crystals that are too small to be seen with the naked eye or light microscope.  There are two types of cryptocrystalline quartz; fibrous and microgranular.

The fibrous type is called "chalcedony".  It includes chrysoprase, carnelian and bloodstone.

The granular type is called "chert".  It includes jasper and flint.

Examples

bullet Australian Jade
bullet Red Jade - reddish quartzite
bullet Indian Jade
bullet Malaysian Jade - Quartzite

Saponite

Saponite is a variety of talc that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  It is considerably softer.

Examples

bullet Honan Jade
bullet Souchow Jade

Saussurite

Saussurite is sometimes misrepresented as jade. It is a combination of rocks that can include albite, epidote, zoisite, calcite, sericitic mica, zeolite minerals and prehnite.  It is hard and difficult to distinguish from jade, but luckily it rarely occurs in enough of the correct colors for carvings.

Examples

bullet Dushan Jade
bullet Jade Tenace
bullet Nanyang Jade
bullet Swiss Jade

Serpentine

Serpentine is a frequent culprit of jade misrepresentation. The serpentine may be dyed, and sometimes varieties are coated with wax or paraffin. Serpentine is not as hard and the luster is more waxy and less brilliant that jadeite.

Antigorite is a variety of serpentine sometimes called Korean jade. A massive variety of antigorite is called williamsite and contains chromite.

Bowenite is found in New Zealand, China, United States and Afghanistan and is sometimes called jade.

Chlorite is a variety of serpentine that is sometimes called jade.

Specific colors of serpentine are sometimes misrepresented as jade.  Black serpentine may be misrepresented as "black jade".

Serpentine is harder than soapstone so it can be more difficult to detect, but can still be scratched visibly with steel knives or sharp objects.  It is made up of magnesium iron silicate hydroxide. A density test can help determine if it is actually jade.

Examples

bullet Korean Jade - antigorite, bowenite
bullet Marble Bar Jade - serpentine-chlorite from Marble Bar, Australia
bullet New Jade
bullet New Zealand Jade - bowenite found in Milford Sound, New Zealand
bullet Oceanic Jade
bullet Pilbara Jade - serpentine-chlorite from Marble Bar, Australia
bullet Qilian Jade
bullet Rhode Island Jade - bowenite
bullet Styrian Jade
bullet Sushou (Souchow) - bowenite
bullet Xiyuan Jade
bullet Xinyi Jade

Sillimanite

Sillimanite is a variety of fibrolite that can be difficult to distinguish from true jade.  Since it doesn't usually occur in pieces large enough to carve it doesn't appear on market very often.


Smithsonite

Smithsonite is sometimes misrepresented as jade, particularly the apple-green variety called bonamite.  It isn't as hard and effervesces with warm diluted hydrochloric acid.


Soapstone

Soapstone is sometimes misrepresented as jade.

Soapstone dyed green is a commonly found fake jade.  However it is easy to tell because it is usually a "soapy" lime green color and can be visibly scratched with a mere fingernail.

Examples

bullet "Fukian Jade"
bullet "Honan Jade"
bullet "Manchurian Jade"

Syenite

Dark green chromiferous syenite is sometimes misrepresented as jade.  It is from Bhamo, Myanmar.  Looking at it should be enough to detect the difference between syenite and jade.

Examples

bullet Jadeolite

Talc

Talc is sometimes misrepresented as jade.

Examples

bullet Fujian Jade
bullet Henan Jade
bullet Manchurian Jade
bullet Shanghai Jade
bullet Souchow/Suzhou Jade

Tangawaite

Tangawaite is a variety of serpentine called bowenite that can be misrepresented as jade.  It is from New Zealand.


Thulite

Thulite has a variety called "zoisite" that may be misrepresented as pink jade.


Tremolite

Tremolite is a rock that is sometimes misrepresented as jade.

Examples

bullet Longxi Jade

Verite

Verite is a green rock made of green mica fuchsite that contains rutile and clay.  It is softer than true jade.

Examples

bullet Rhodesian Jade

Wax

Candle wax is sometimes used for intricate Chinese carvings and misrepresented as jade.  It is much softer, much lighter and feels much different from true jade.


Williamsite

Williamsite is a name for an apple-green color of serpentine.  The color can be affected by chromite or magnetite.  It is found in Pennsylvania.


Zoisite

Zoisite is a variety of thulite that may be misrepresented as pink jade.


Mineral Resources

Mineral Miners - Lots of interesting mineral information and beautiful photos.

Ring Things Gemstone List - This lists many types of jades that aren't jade, and they even get bonus points for describing which of their 'jades' are really serpentine and they get bonus points for admitting when they don't know what something is.  I quote..."Tree Jade: With its bright-green coloring and cloudy white flecks, this gemstone imparts a springtime feeling. As to its origin, we have no clue what stone it really is!"

GemRocks: The Jades


Fake Jades Jade Collecting Avoiding Fakes

Home

Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and beyond! By Molly Kalafut