Saturday, 7 August 2010

Afghanistan jade


I did some accidental bead shopping in Helsingborg yesterday. In an effort not to begin calculating how much I spent I'm going to talk about something completely different.

This is afghanistan jade. Like many other "jades" it's not actual jadeite or nephrite, but a fancy stone called jade. According to Wikipedia, the reason for this is that the Chinese and Koreans use the same word for jade as for pretty/decorative stones in general. That is, anything fit for jewellery is "jade", or yu. Just using the word yu does not on it's own signal true jade, zhen yu, but if translated to English, the word for yu is jade. I don't really speak a word of Mandarin or Cantonese so I'll just trust the sources about this, but I have seen some Chinese auction listings that hint towards this being a factual source of confusion. (I also think it's an important story that can reflect that there are many reason a stone is called by a descriptive name, it's not just always that the seller is trying to scam someone as some people sadly seem to believe.)



Afghanistan jade is not the same as afghan jade, which is serpentine, according to the seller who says that the stone is most likely a dyed calcite or limestone [source]. In fact, unlike Afghan jade, Afghanistan jade doesn't even come from the country it's named after. I wasn't planning on buying this stone. I hadn't even seen it in the shop prior to placing my order, but then I saw it and thought it was pretty. The price was very reasonable so of cause I had to buy a strand.


I'm glad I did because these beads are very pretty with a lovely fresh green colour. A sweet colour that makes you smile. The beads are not uniform in appearance: the colour is very even, but there are natural variations in the stone. Most beads are slightly transparent while some are fully opaque. Some beads show lighter banding and a handful have light brown/taupe flecks. About three beads or so are half sand brown, half green. I'll probably cull those and use the all-green beads in one design and the sand/green beads in another: sometimes it's nice with colour variations, but sometimes I like a more uniform colour.


(That last pic is taken in strong sunshine: hard not to get all the colour washed out, but I think you can see the difference in opacity more easily in this photo.)

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