In this, the first of a five-part series exploring the mineral Jade, I will explore the various locations around the world in which Jade is found and mined.
The world geography of jade mining
Imperial jade, in all the colours and forms in which it is found, has appealed to many Eastern cultures since early times. It has been extensively mined and collected across the ages by many different people. However, in 1863, it was finally realised that the name “Jade” was being applied to two different minerals: jadeite and nephrite.
Both jadeite and nephrite deposits are found in various places around the world. However, the jadeite mineral is much more rare than nephrite and, therefore, has a greater value to both the miner and collector.
Nephrite jade deposits have been found in Khotan and Yarkand in Turkestan in China. Khotan is a city oasis and located on the famous “Jade” or “Silk Road”. New Zealand jade or “Pounamu” is found only in river boulders on the South Island. Deposits are also found in the Swiss Alps at Salux, Val de Faller, Poschiaro and the Gottard Range. Nephrite jade has been found in British Columbia, Canada where it is surface-mined. Large-scale mining began in Canada in 1995 and currently approximately 100 tonnes a year are mined and sent to China. The finest jade found here is called “Polar Jade” and is especially translucent and green, which is rare in nephrite specimens.
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