What are the colors of jade and which is the best?

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Jade has six natural colors: green, lavender, red, yellow, white and black.

  • Green is the most traditional and expensive color for jade. The green color varies from pale or yellowish green to Granny Smith apple green, its best color. Richard T. Liddicoat Jr. writes that in its finest green color it bears a close resemblance to emerald.
  • Lavender jade can be quite dark - almost deep plum-purple, or be quite light and pale. Often, lavender jade exhibits a sugary texture.
  • Red jade color range is from a lemon-yellow through beige to orange-brown to the best color: a pure red-brown. Today, red jade is often heated to increase 'redness'. This process, while permanent, impairs translucence and reduces the value of the jade.
  • Yellow jade is the most affordable jade. And most of the yellow jade in the market today is real.
  • White jade, or "pure" jade, can be found in a chalky, opaque white to a translucent gray-white. A good polish is essential.
  • Black jade is usually nephrite and, in its finer qualities, is glassy black. Surface flecks are common and usually acceptable.

Above are the only 6 natural colors of jade. “Blue jade” or “pink jade” are in fact not jade. “Pink jade” is usually rose quartz.

The hierarchy of color value of jade would be green, lavender, red, yellow, white and black. The ideal is a strong, vibrant color while successively darker or lighter shades are considered less desirable.  Jade very often exhibits several colors within one piece. Although one pure uniform color is usually best/most expensive, combinations such as green and lavender, red and green, or white with strong green are very desirable. Please note that a lot of the jade with rare combination color on the market is color enhanced. So before you put a lot of money into that piece, you need to make sure that is its natural color.

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