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Essence and nomenclature of jade
作者:Dr. Chunyun Wang
来源:Bulletin of the Friends of Jade, Vol.VIII, summer 1994, pp.55-66
发布日期: 2005-09-26  阅读次数:6131


Essence and nomenclature of jade

Dr. Chunyun Wang

Bulletin of the Friends of Jade, Vol.VIII, summer 1994, pp.55-66




    The definition of jade or Chinese yu can be sought in ancient Chinese literature, i.e. Confucius work and Xu Shens work. Yu means any kind of rock which possesses the necessary "jade virtues". The traditional Chinese yu is actually nephrite jade, while the Central American Aztecs chalchihuitl, identical with the earlier Chinese concept fei-tsui, is actually jadeite jade. It is these two concepts yu and fei-tsui that leads to the recent westerners nomenclature of two kinds of jade: nephrite and jadeite. However, nephrite and jadeite are in fact amphibole and pyroxene mineral names respectively, they cannot be confused with the two monominerallic rock names nephritite and jadeitite, i.e. nephrite jade and jadeite jade, which should become the correct nomenclature of the two kinds of jade. Moreover, the author establishes that a series of other amphibole or pyroxene monominerallic rocks also possess the necessary lapidary qualities of jade or Chinese yu, thus can also be considered to belong to the jade family and can also be termed as jade. The newly established amphibole jades include anthophyllite jade, eckermanite jade, kaersutite jade, richterite jade and ribeckite jade, while the newly established pyroxene jades include diopside jade, omphacite jade, aegirine-augite jade and kosmochlore jade.

FoJ Editors (Roger Merk) note 1 in 1994:

    Chunyun Wang, a jade researcher in China, provides an alternative Asian perspective on what really constitutes the jades, in an article that is very interesting as well ass provocative.

FoJ Editors (Roger Merk) note 2 in 1994:

    Many of the mineralogical terms, such as amzonitite, garnetitite, and lazuritite found in this article are not used in printed material. The editor assumes these terms meanmassive rocks containing the minerals amazonite, garnet, and lazurite, respectively. Other terms, such as quartzite and serpentinite, are common. All terms are reprinted as submitted.

钱宪和和谭立平主编,1998,中国古玉鉴 - 制作方法及矿物鉴定。台湾地球出版社,台北。

目前大部分的矿物学家将Jade译为玉,不过对玉很有研究的美国国家博物馆的W. F. Foshag、中国科学院的王春云和台湾大学的钱宪和等学者,根据历史文献和科学名词命名法则,都指出,如将西洋的Jade直接等于中国的玉,殊为不妥。换言之,玉是玉,jade是jade,两者不完全相等。”

Hughes, Richard W., Galibert, Olivier, Bosshart, George, Ward, Fred, Oo, Thet, Smith Mark, Sun, Tay Thye and Harlow, George E., 2000, Burmese jade: the inscrutable gem. Gems & Gemology, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 2–26. [Mr. Hughes is an author, gemologist, and webmaster at Pala International, Fallbrook, California. Mr. Galibert (FGA, hons.; ING, AG) is a gemologist and Hong Kong-based dealer in colored stones and pearls. Mr. Bosshart is chief gemologist, Research and Development, at the Gübelin Gem Lab, Lucerne, Switzerland. Mr. Ward, a gemologist, writer, and photographer, owns Gem Book Publishing, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Thet Oo is a gemologist and Yangon-based dealer in colored stones. Mr. Smith is a gemlogist and Bangkok-based dealer in colored stones. Dr. Tay is president of Elvin Gems and Far Eastern Gemmological Lab of Singapore. Dr. Harlow is curator of Gems and Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City]

    1. This article will draw back the curtain on this enigmatic gem, revealing the manner in which Burmese jadeite is mined, traded, graded, cut, treated, and faked. Since the major gemological features of jade have already been extensively covered in the literature (Hobbs, 1982; Fritsch et al., 1992; Wang, 1994), emphasis here will be on lesser-known aspects. An understanding of jadeite is not limited to the technical or exacting, but it also requires a feeling for the cultural, textural, and ephemeral qualities that make the study of jade unlike any other in the world of gemstones.

    2. Part 2 of this article continues to draw back the curtain on this enigmatic precious stone, revealing the manner in which Burmese jade is traded, graded, cut, treated and faked. Since the technical aspects of Burmese jade have already been extensively covered in the literature (Hobbs, 1982; Fritsch et al., 1992; Chunyun Wang, 1994), emphasis will be on the obscure and anecdotal. For if there is one concept more important than any other, it is that an understanding of jade is not limited to the technical or exacting, but is about feeling, a feeling for a culture, a feeling for the textural, ephemeral qualities that makes the study of jade unlike no other in the world of precious stones.

    3. To the Chinese, jade was traditionally defined by its “virtues,” namely a compact, fine texture, tremendous toughness and high hardness, smooth and glossy luster, along with high translucency and the ability to take a high polish (Wang, 1994). But they also ascribe mystical powers to the stone. Particularly popular is the belief that jade can predict the stages of one’s life: If a jade ornament appears more brilliant and transparent, it suggests that there is good fortune ahead; if it becomes dull, bad luck is inevitable.

    4. From a gemological standpoint, what does all this mean? Jadeite jade is essentially a rock with a variable composition. Although some have suggested a classification scheme for jadeite based on variations in composition or structure (Ou Yang, 1993; Wang, 1994), this is impractical for gemology because of the sophisticated equipment that would be needed to distinguish the various categories.

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英文题录:Wang, Chunyun, 1994, Essence and nomenclature of jade: a problem revisited. Bulletin of the Friends of Jade, Vol.VIII, summer 1994, pp.55-66.



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Wang, Chunyun, 1994, The problem of jadeite jade in China. Hong Kong Jewellery Magazine, Vo.4, No.64, pp.104-106.



Chunyun, 1995, Review of the problem of jade nomenclature. Hong Kong Jade & Stone Manufacturers Association (HKJSA) 30th Anniversary Bulletin, pp.47-56.

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