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On Jade

California Jade: Touchstone of Heaven


Resonant with natural beauty, spiritual strength and mythic aura,
Jade continues to be a gemstone of choice for those seeking both visual & tactile splendor and the complementary active principle of
yang for personal transformation and cultivation.


Often called "The Stone of Heaven," Jade is a rare, extremely tough, naturally occurring gemstone originating from deep within the Earth.  Jade begins its journey as common, heavy submarine rock, and through a series of intense changes, or metamorphism, becomes an object of exceptional and rarefied beauty.  With Jade, we are interested specifically in its chemistries and microscopic textures, or crystal lattices.  These physical characteristics and qualities in turn lead us to our consideration of its sublime and mythic qualities, meanings, beauty and intrinsic value.

Jade begins in the Earth, created by submarine vulcanism and metasomatic metamorphism, is transported by tectonic movement in rivers of flowing rock across vast subterranean distances, travels upward through the agency of cataclysmic upheaval, and comes into our hands by the hydraulic action of rivers.  Mother Nature has reserved some of Her more rarefied and exceptional mineralogical processes for this uncommonly beautiful stone. She is the source, the maker, the bestower of Jade.

Multi-colored California Nephrite Jade boulder, Eel River, Trinity Alps CA


Jade was prized early on for its toughness, its durability and usefulness in the making of tools.  As a rare substance, it was valued in terms of wealth, as a sign of status, and was closely identified with royalty.  In ancient China it was valued more than gold, a status it quite literally still enjoys, as current gemstone markets reflect. Similarly, in ancient Central America it was held in the highest esteem and value.  Today, as then, it is valued for its beauty, rarity, and its natural embodiment of qualities many seek to cultivate within themselves.

California Jade Adze Pendant.  Multi-colored green patterns with hints of black.


Endowed with solar and regal properties, Jade is closely identified with "yang," or active positive cosmic energy.  Its toughness and durability inspire its status as a symbol of eternity.  Its color, luster and texture inspire, attract and fascinate.  Its creation through processes of intense change makes it ideally suitable for use as a touchstone for one's own life and personal evolution.  

The giving and receiving of Jade, its exchange, enjoys a richly textured history of customs and traditions, meaning and enjoyment.  For at least 10,000 years, it has been intimately woven into human culture.

Circular graphic in gold and black, with sun, clouds, mountains and ocean, in vintage woodcut style.
Sam Gitchel of California Jade inspects recently gathered jade while a friend looks on.


Jade has been sought after throughout history.  Asia has traditionally been the center for all Jade activities.  That is now changing.  California's recent Botryoidal Jade finds are astounding the Jade and Suiseki (Viewing Stone) world. These recent California Jade, or nephrite, finds have been described as the most important since the discovery of Imperial Green Jade.  Naturally figurative botryoidal nuggets, or River Blossoms, are left high and dry after the massive winter rains in the Trinity Alps in Northern California.  Botryoidal, when referring to gemstones, means bubbly.

River Blossom Jade is our trade name for the fabulous jades we find here in Northern California.  We call them River Blossoms because they actually do blossom in the river.  By that I mean they become shaped by the river. The softer material that clings to the Jade nuggets is separated by the water's action and gradually the inner beauty is revealed. Often Mother Nature just provides us with a small glimpse of what is to come and she leaves the task to us of exposing the hidden jade treasure within that conglomerate of stone.

California Jade logo in vintage cameo style.
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