Glassy Jadeite

Introduction into Colourless Jadeite

Natural jade is found in a wide range of intense to pastel colours. One of the most popular and beautiful is the colourless jadeite. Colourless jadeite has gained popularity in more modern designs of jade jewellery. Being colourless, this particular type of jade can be matched with any type of outfit and occasion. The typical attributes that define the quality of a jade piece apply to colourless jadeite as well. However, in this article here, the focus will be on the translucency of colourless jadeite and the finest grade of colourless jadeite.

Different Levels of Translucency in Jadeite
In jadeite, translucency can be defined in a range. The following terms are in ascending degrees of translucency:
  1. Opaque
  2. Translucent
  3. Highly Translucent
  4. Highly Translucent (Icy Variety)
  5. Near Transparent (Glassy Variety)

The first 3 terms listed typically apply to all colours of jadeite. With colourless jadeite, there are 2 additional trade names used to categorise the translucency. Firstly, there is the icy variety which are jadeite pieces that look like frosted ice. At the finest grade of colourless jadeite, is the glassy variety jadeite. These refer to jadeite pieces that have almost a glass like translucency. Glassy variety jadeite are rarely found and large pieces free of inclusions are usually carved into beautiful cabochons to further accentuate the clarity in the jadeite material.

The terms displayed above are with reference from the grading system used in NGI Singapore. For consistency, jade jewellery in our online jade store is also classified with reference to the grading from NGI. Regardless, the grading terms are still broad categories where at the top of the range, glassy variety, there will still be differences in quality and degree of translucency within pieces of glassy jadeite. Clarity and inclusions play a big role on quality and so does fineness of the crystal aggregates within the jadeite material. A special characteristic that amplifies the quality of highly translucent jadeite is the glow displayed within the jadeite material.

The Shimmer

When light is shone on some highly translucent and near transparent colourless jadeite, there can be a glow that appears within the jadeite body. This is seen in jadeite material that has very fine crystal aggregates and is caused by the refraction and reflection of light as it passes through the layers of jadeite crystals. This gives rise to a glow that emanates from within the jadeite material and is most beautiful displayed in colourless jadeite cabochons with good thickness. It is also a good indication of the fineness of the crystal structure within the jadeite material. The shimmer or glow that appears is known as adularescence and the term was derived from the effect seen in Moonstones. This similar effect is found only in fine quality icy and glassy variety jadeite.

Some examples of glassy variety jadeite cabochons displaying this shimmer are shown below.

Final Words

Fine highly translucent jade make for stunning jade jewellery pieces. Glassy variety jade have the highest degree of translucency although several other factors also affect the rarity and quality of colourless jadeite. If there are any queries on the information in this article, feel free to reach out via WhatsApp to contact us.

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