Nephrite

Big Photo

Onot river, Eastern Sayan, Sayan Mts, Russia
8.00 carats
© Brian Kosnar - Mineral Classics

Nephrite (Greek - kidney) is a dense, fibrous aggregate variety of the tremolite-actinolite series that is tougher than jadeite. It can be all colours, often with a yellow tint. The most valuable is green. But green colour of nephrite is often more subdued and darker than jadeite's green colour.

Nephrite is known as the toughest gem and carving material.

Nephrite is a readily available, more affordable alternative to jadeite.

Nephrite Gemstones by Size

This table shows distribution of Nephrite gemstone sizes that are listed on this site. This can give a good indication as to the general availability of this gemstone in different sizes.
Contributed photos
Lightest:7.63 cts
Heaviest:8.84 cts
Average:8.16 cts
Total photos:3
Do you have a larger Nephrite? Why not upload a photo?
7.63ct to 7.75ct7.75ct to 7.87ct7.87ct to 7.99ct7.99ct to 8.11ct8.11ct to 8.24ct8.24ct to 8.36ct8.36ct to 8.48ct8.48ct to 8.60ct8.60ct to 8.72ct8.72ct to 8.84ct
General Information
A variety or type of:Jade
Other Names/Trade Names:
Chemical Formula
Ca
 
2
(Mg,Fe)
 
5
(OH)
 
2
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
More from other references
Photos of natural/un-cut material from mindat.org
Nephrite Treatments
Less commonly dyed than jadeite-jade because of its more compact structure, may be impregnated - Blue Chart Gem Identification, Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, 2010, p 5
Physical Properties of Nephrite
Mohs Hardness6 to 6.5
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Specific Gravity2.90 to 3.10
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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TenacityBrittle
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Cleavage QualityNone
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
FractureSplintery
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Optical Properties of Nephrite
Refractive Index1.600 to 1.627
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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Optical CharacterBiaxial/-
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
Birefringence0.027 to often more
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
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PleochroismNil
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
DispersionNil
Arthur Thomas, Gemstones (2009)
ChatoyancyYes
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
Colour
Colour (General)Green, gray-green, reddish-brown, black
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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TransparencyTranslucent,Opaque
Ulrich Henn and Claudio C. Milisenda, Gemmological Tables (2004)
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Fluorescence & other light emissions
Fluorescence (General)None
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
Crystallography of Nephrite
Crystal SystemMonoclinic
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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HabitFibrous
Herve Nicolas Lazzarelli, Blue Chart Gem Identification (2010)
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Geological Environment
Where found:Occurs in serpentine rocks, and as river or beach pebbles.
Walter Schumann, Gemstones of the world (2001)
More from other references
Further Information
Mineral information:Nephrite information at mindat.org
Significant Gem Localities
Australia
 
  • South Australia
    • Eyre Peninsula
      • Cowell
Nichol (2000)
Canada
 
  • British Columbia
    • Liard Mining Division
      • Cassiar
Nichol (2000)
Nichol (2000)
    • Lillooet Mining Division
China
 
Italy
 
  • Liguria
    • Genova Province
      • Sestri Levante
Nichol (2000)
New Zealand
 
Switzerland
 
  • Grisons
    • Poschiavo Valley
      • Poschiavo (Puschlav)
        • Selva
Nichol and Giess (2005)
Taiwan
 
  • Taiwan Province
    • Hualien Co.
Adams and Beck (2009)
USA
 
  • California
    • Monterey Co.
      • Santa Lucia Mts (Santa Lucia Range)
        • Los Burros District
          • Plaskett
            • Cape San Martin
              • Jade Cove
Paradise (1985)
  • Wyoming
    • Fremont Co.
Ward (1999)
Copyright © Jolyon & Katya Ralph 1993-2019. Site Map. Locality, gem & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. For more information please contact the . Gemdat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free gemmological information to all.