When you think of jade, green often comes to mind. But as it turns out, there is more to the precious rock than just that one colour. It also exists in yellow, red, black – and, less commonly known of, lavender.

“Most people in Malaysia are confused. They always think that jade only appears as green. That is not true, “ explains Kan Tsia Hu, director of Atelier Fine Jewellery.

He says all jade is white at the start. But as it forms and crystallises, trace elements transform the colour. Chromium, for instance, will turn it green. Lavender jade contains manganese.

According to Kan, jade can be divided into two types: nephrite and jadeite. Most of the jade produced in China is nephrite. The main origin of jadeite – which is of a higher quality – is from countries like Myanmar, Japan and Russia.

Jade

Jade can be crafted into different shapes and forms. Photo: The Star/Art Chen

A person should also consider the texture of the jadeite. As a crystalline structure, it exists in many different forms. Some are opaque, while others a lot more translucent in appearance.

“The price of diamonds is determined by the Four Cs – colour, cut, clarity and carat. Jadeite is valued based on its colour and translucency. The deeper the colour, the more valuable it is,” Kan adds.

Lavender jadeite, to him, is special because it represents elegance, grace and auspiciousness. It is also regal, often linked with royalty and the emperors of ancient China.

“In the 1970s and 1980s, most of the jadeite you find are ‘oily’ green. That deeper green is not so popular among the younger generation. I think people are now more aware that you can find a wider range of colours,” Kan states.

“Also, unlike gemstones, jadeite can be crafted into many different shapes. So you’ll find a lot of different designs in the market now. They represent good fortune based on the objects they look like.”

The meaning of “Jadeite Craved Cabbage”, for example, is from the homonym of cabbage in the Chinese word. It is refers to wealth, and also enrichment, fortune and luck.

Lavender jadeite in itself can be categorised by different shades. They are light purple, eggplant, blue violet and red violet. These are in addition to mixes like violet and green, which is very rare.

When it comes to taking care of your lavender jadeite, Kan points out that you must avoid knocking it against other hard objects. Although hard, it can still easily break.

He notes that there are different types too. Natural jadeite is highly prized and can be expensive. You should never buy treated or dyed jadeite, as these don’t have any value to them.