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Nephrite is a rock comprising mostly massive microcrystalline to cryptocrystalline felted amphiboles of the tremolite - actinolite series.

Nephrite is one of the two rocks termed as jade, the other being jadeitite = jadeite jade, consisting mostly of jadeite (although the term fei cui jade is now preferred as the pyroxene composition may also include omphacite and/or kosmochlor. Both are extremely tough and resistant to fracture such that they have been used for making choppers and blades since Neolithic times.

In addition to amphibole, nephrite can contain minor to trace amounts of diopside, grossularitic garnet, magnetite, chromite, graphite, apatite, rutile, pyrite, datolite, vesuvianite, prehnite, talc, the serpentine polymorphs and titanite.

White nephrite, termed white jade or mutton-fat jade, is nearly pure tremolite, while most nephrite is green owing to the Fe content in actinolite. Chromium colors nephrite emerald green (via a Na+-Cr3+ vs. Ca2+-Mg2+ substitution) and yellow to brown nephrite is stained by iron oxides and hydroxides introduced along grain boundaries.

Visit for gemological information about Nephrite.

Classification of Nephrite

Other Names for Nephrite

Name in Other Languages:
Simplified Chinese:软玉

References for Nephrite

Reference List:
Ronzio, A.R. and Salmon, M. (1970) Trace elements in jade. Gems and Minerals: 389: 24-25, 45.

Zhenhua Zhou and Jiarui Feng (2010): A petrological and mineralogical comparison between Xinjiang nephrite and Xiuyan nephrite. Acta Petrologica et Mineralogica 29(3), 331-340.

Internet Links for Nephrite URL:
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