Difference between jade & greenstone.


1. Jade is a generic name for two different varieties called jadeite and nephrite, both of which are green in color but made up of different silicates.
2. Nephrite, also known as greenstone in New Zealand, is darker in color and has more variations in color compared to jadeite.
3. Cultural beliefs around the value and significance of jadeite and greenstone differ, with Maori people considering greenstone more valuable and Asian cultures valuing jadeite more.


August 6, 2011 Posted by Olivia

Jade vs Greenstone

This article discusses the differences between jade and greenstone, two types of semi-precious stones. Jade is a generic name for two varieties: jadeite and nephrite. While both are green, they are made up of different silicates. Greenstone is a type of jade categorized as nephrite, which is commonly known as greenstone in New Zealand. This article aims to clarify the features and differences between jade and greenstone.

Different Types of Jade

Jade comes in two types: jadeite and nephrite. The majority of jade available in the market is nephrite, which is referred to as greenstone in New Zealand. The native Maori people call it Pounamu. Jadeite is mainly found on the Chinese border, while nephrite is more commonly found in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Russia, and other parts of the world in smaller quantities. The main difference between jadeite and nephrite is the minerals they are composed of. Jadeite consists of silicates of aluminum and sodium, whereas nephrite consists of silicates of calcium and magnesium.

Differences in Appearance and Value

Jadeite is rarer and lighter in color compared to nephrite or greenstone. Greenstone, on the other hand, is darker in color and has more variations in color than jadeite. The preference for jadeite or greenstone is a matter of personal choice and cultural significance. Maori people consider greenstone more valuable, whereas in Asian cultures, jadeite is considered more valuable.

Origin of the Term “Greenstone”

Jade is referred to as greenstone in New Zealand because European travelers, upon reaching the country, observed native Maori women adorning themselves with green-colored stone, which was jade. However, Europeans were unaware of the existence of jade at that time. They named the stone “greenstone,” and this name has remained popular in New Zealand. The Maori people called it Pounamu, while Europeans referred to it as greenstonem creating a dichotomy of names. Nevertheless, this greenstone is simply another form of nephrite, which is a type of jade found in a few other countries.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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