There are beautiful translucent and opaque gemstones as well.
Jade is the most expensive of these stones. The name ‘jade’ actually refers to two distinct minerals – jadeite and nephrite – but both are jade. Jadeite comes in a range of colours and its pure form is white while nephrite comes in shades of green and cream. Jadeite is the more expensive of the two minerals, particularly if it is a translucent emerald green colour. Jade is a very tough stone and in prehistoric times nephrite was used for axes. Nephrite was used for carvings in China for thousands of years but it was not until about 1750 that jadeite, which was mined in Burma (now Myanmar), was imported to China for use in carvings.
Jadeite in particular is a stone which undergoes a lot of treatments including bleaching, dyeing, filling, heating and waxing.
Malachite is a lovely stone showing bands of light and dark green and concentric rings. It is translucent to opaque. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used malachite for jewellery and amulets but also ground it for use as eye shadow and a paint pigment. It is not a hard stone so is not suitable for use in rings but looks lovely in brooches and earrings.
Chrysoprase is a form of chalcedony quartz and is a a lovely apple green. It was a favourite stone of Frederick the Great of Prussia and he had eight different snuffboxes made out of it.
The final stone I want to talk about is the bloodstone. This is an opaque stone which is a green variety of chalcedony quartz, which has red patches of iron oxide through it. It is sometimes referred to as heliotrope. Bloodstone was used a lot for men’s seals and fobs.