Where to Prospect for the Gemstone Jade or Jadeite in the USA
Jade can be found on the central coast of California at some public beaches, and it can also be found in the ocean near the rocky shoreline. Nice pieces can be fashioned into jewelry and sold on EBay for top dollar. But exactly what is jade or jadeite? where to prospect for it to, and how valuable is jade?
Jade or jadeite is most often associated with Myanmar in South East Asia and classical Chinese ornaments. Historically jade has often been mistaken for the gemstone emerald, because of its emerald green color. However emeralds are far more valuable than jade sometimes selling for thousands of dollars per carat.
Jadeite is actually classified into two types of gemstones. The less valuable nephrite, which is mainly found in Russia, New Zealand, U.S, Canada, Myanmar, China and Japan. And precious jadeite which is also found in the aforementioned countries and Central America. Both of these stones look similar in appearance, although only a small percent of nephrite is considered as gemstone. This may in part be due to the fact that nephrite loses it shine or brilliance over time.
Jade from Jade Cove.
Jadeites green color is caused by chromium, the same compound that gives emeralds their green color, although primarily they are made up of aluminum silicates which have been pressured over time to form crystals. The colors of jadeite varies greatly from green to green blue to lavender, white, pink, black, yellow and orange. In terms of quality, rock hounds (rock collectors) look for vivid green or blue green colors, and stones that are translucent. In fact the more transparent the stones, and the fewer cracks and flaws, the better quality.
Jadeite is often found embedded into large rocks where weathering over time has revealed the jadeite. In Myanmar it is often bought and sold at markets in huge heavy boulders. The buyer has no idea how much jade is inside the boulder until he has purchased and looked inside.
About Jade Cove.
In the USA the best place to find jadeite is at Jade Cove, which is about a one hour drive south of Monterrey, near King City, California. It is a public beach so there is no charge. However using any kind of tools or power tools to break open rocks is forbidden, so one can only take home what can be carried. There is a slightly steep climb down a cliff to the beach. The beach its self is extremely rocky and treacherous a foot and in-between the rocks are seaweed and kelp. Pieces of rough jade can often be found, by turning over large rocks.
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When one finds jade it can be cleaned and rubbed with mineral oil which brings out its true color. Rough jadeites can be sold “as is” on EBay for anything from $10 to about $50 a piece. However it is worth investing some money in nice rough pieces of jade and getting them made into wearable jewelry. The jewelry should then be appraised by an independent jewelry appraiser. Well made jade jewelry can sell on EBay for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. In fact some buyers in Asian countries, where jadeite is generally more popular, pay top dollar for nice jade jewelry.