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Exhaustive Study of Moonstones & Mutton Fat Jade values currently in China

Moonstones and Mutton fat Jade are popular bluish to yellow-or whitish gemstones with women; but women seems to buy some gemstones with some variety of colors or character or individual uniqueness. Fortunately, commercial-grade, pure Porcelain white is rare in the natural chemistry world.

A typical moonstone comes from a geothermal injection Fault in the Earth
A typical moonstone comes from a geothermal injection Fault in the Earth
photo by author
Jade can be Nephrite & Jadeite
photo by author

This is good; as Nature rarely makes industrial patches of just pure white gemstones. Even masses of White Chalk beds even have staining and the chalk manufacturers have to bleach the natural product to make those teacher’s chalk that brilliant white color.

The cover photo shows the difference between various actual rough gemstones called or “Mutton Fat Jade” found in the Southfork of the John Day River in East Oregon! It has been created in a “Subduction zone”; and the author has previous articles covering what that all means.

Further, This photo shows the two distinctly different chemistry or types of “Jade” - pimply Jadeite and fibrous Nephrite Jades – also found in Eastern Oregon.

However the slide show will focus upon the Adularia Feldspar or Moonstone also locally. Metamorphism in geology teaches about how minerals and gems can change appearance under varying pressures buried in the earth along faults or re-heated and re-arranged by magma that re-bakes the gems.

The lengthy nature of this row of moonstone shows where faults have created different forms of Moonstone here.

A Geologic Fault is somewhat like a piston in a motor engine that moves up and down. Faults though often act independently. For example, one fault slice of moonstone here can be dropped down in the earth long ago to become squished; where as another fault zone section shows moonstone dropped way down in the earth to be merely stripes of moonstone. Another fault zone takes its moonstone layer clear down to the searing magmas still deep in the earth and it dramatically re-worked the layer into patches of moonstones.

The slide show will show you these modifications or examples!

The author has a rare gold mine with gold & Adularia injected into the Southfork of the John Day River area long ago.

Fortunately the author’s mining claim site has been chopped by many faults. Thus, the author is able to show in a slide show however moonstone can be change through different time heat and pressure.

Notice moonstone can be injected into any crack in the Earth at any time past present future; however Jades have a much more complex and massive nature.

If you want to make jade, you will have to crack the Earth itself!

Current scientific theory suggests (as no one lives there) the core of the Earth is molten metals. Sealing in the heat and metals inside the Earth are massive layers of some ten kilometers thick dark green Peridotite (a rock mixture of yellow green Olivine and black Pyroxene minerals. Then, the six mile thick basement rock or an Olivine & Brown Augite mixture called a Gabbro rock that reinforces the peridotitic HEAT seal.

If a meteorite cracks the Earth, the Peridotite Gabbro Seal is also cracked and a molten mixture of both rock sealents raise up to seal the earth’s cracks and contain the molten core!

A Peridotite Gabbro Seal is commonly called serpentine. It can be found filling huge cracks or in large flats mountainous terrain exposed on the Earth surface, like in the South African Diamond mines region and several Chinese jade deposits.

These twisted layers come though a super-hard baked (Molten magma or metals?) SERPENTINES become the greenish very hard Jade very popular on Earth by local residents for making sculpture, tools to jewelry...

White Jade involves one more impressive feat. Somehow, one needs to bleach geothermal springs utilizing steam to create or white wash a segment of greenish Jade Mountains using molten magma super-heated waters.

This is why Jade is considered precious; as man currently cannot make it!

Before diving into the diverse market for Mutton Fat Jade recently, WHAT IS MOONSTONE?

The ancient Greek Goddess Diana is credited with creating the Moonstone for the Greeks or a gemstone named for its moon-like sheen.

Moonstone is a Feldspar mineral exhibiting a soft, watery opaqueness and a silvery-white reflection...

“The most common moonstone is of the mineral adularia. The plagioclase feldspar oligoclase also produces moonstone specimens. Moonstone is feldspar with a pearly and opalescent luster.[3] An alternate name is hecatolite.[3]

“Moonstone is composed of two feldspar species, orthoclase and albite. The two species are intermingled. Then, as the newly formed mineral cools, the intergrowth of orthoclase and albite separates into stacked, alternating layers. When light falls between these thin, flat layers, it scatters in many directions producing the phenomenon called adularescence.”

This pretty bluish mineral does have a profound “mood stabilizing” effect; but this gem stone has not recently been as popular and thus precious as Mutton Fat Jade!

Jade From China's West Surpasses Gold in Value - The...

The New York Times

Sep 20, 2010 –

Some jade has commanded a price of $3,000 an ounce, a tenfold increase from a decade ago.”

As long as anyone can remember, those stones — a type of semi translucent jade — were about as valued as, well, a pile of river rocks.

Lohman Tohti, 30, can recall as a child heaving melon-size hunks into the sandbags that were used to thwart rising floodwaters of the aptly named White Jade River. When Chinese buyers began arriving here in the early 1990s and the locals got wind of the stones’ potential value, his uncle made an enviable deal: he traded a rock the girth of a well-fed hog for a skinny cow. “Today, my uncle would be a millionaire,” Mr. Tohti, now a jade dealer, said with a wince.

These days, Khotan is mad about jade, or at least the riches it has brought to a city whose previous bout of prosperity occurred a few thousand years ago, when traders from ancient Rome and Constantinople were making their way toward Xi’an, then the capital of the Chinese empire and the eastern terminus of the Silk Road.

Ounce for ounce, the finest jade has become more valuable than gold, with the most prized nuggets of “mutton fat” jade — so-named for its marbled white consistency — fetching $3,000 an ounce, a tenfold increase from a decade ago.

The jade boom, which appears to have reached frenzy in the past year or two, has been fueled by the Chinese, whose new wealth and a 5,000-year affinity for the stone has turned Khotan cotton farmers into jade tycoons.”

Skeptics, however, say the rising prices have more to do with hype than scarcity. Wang Chunyun, a jade expert at the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, says a thick lode of unexploited white jade runs through the Kunlun Mountains that skirt Xinjiang and Tibet. It can also be found across the world, from Australia to Korea to Poland, where a lack of demand keeps it unmined. “The rarity of jade is a myth,” Mr. Wang said in a telephone interview. “I’ve never said this to Chinese businessmen because it would be too much of a psychological blow.”

Back at the market, Ai Shan Zhang, a well-to-do Uighur salesman, shook his head and smiled when it was suggested that Khotan jade might not be as precious as diamonds. The Chinese zeal for it is so great, he said, that he has stopped wearing it, especially when meeting with government officials whose favor is sometimes required in the course of doing business. “If they notice a nice piece hanging around my neck, they ask to borrow it,” he said. “And once they take it, they never give it back.”

White Jade is Crowned "Jade of China"

“Thought to be the purest jade stone, white jade is a highly desirable, highly valued jade. The color may not be completely pure, usually has a few visible cracks or dark spots. However, they are not often used for jewelry, partially because white jade is nephrite jade, and it is mostly used for carving into a beautiful artwork for decoration. It is believed white jade is beneficial for fertility and healing, but doesn’t have a direct purpose like most jade stones.

In China, white jade is only found at Hetian, Xinjiang of northwest of China, it is crowned "Jade of China" for its representation of beauty, culture, tradition, and history. It became more and more valuable these days due to its scarcity.

Fatty & mellow white is considered the best in white Jade; it can have a little tainted cyan and creamy yellow.

High grade white jade should have delicate texture, appears greasy, and can have a small amount of impurities.

The world's top grade white jade is from Hetian, Xinjiang of China. The hardness is 6 to 6.5, with dense texture, and very high chemical stability; its toughness and wear resistance are the strongest in gemstones.

Further, due to its extremely fine and delicate suet-like texture, it is named mutton fat jade. It is the highest quality in white jades. A piece of exquisite white jade brings you not only the warm delicate aesthetic feelings, the fine workmanship, design, and good subject to the art work, all have significant impact on the value of the jade.

“Historically, white jade from Hetian is highly representative in quality and quantity, therefore white jade has been given the name "Hetian Jade". Strictly speaking, Hetian jade is one of the major nephrite stones; it does not represent all the white jades. White jade mineral is mostly composed of actinolite and tremolite. Such composition has the interweave fiber structure, which gives white jade its physical properties as we mentioned above. White jade is characterized by the degree of its "whiteness", and will only show its natural beauty and quality of carving when the whiteness is consistent with the texture of its own. Traditionally the whiteness is categorized in this order: suet white, pear flower white, snow white, fish bone white, ivory, chicken bone white, brown rice white, gray white, blue gray white, etc., in which suet white with texture that is creamy like mutton fat, the raw stone that is complete and covered with skin is the highest grade of all, also the heavier and bigger the material, the higher the value. Needless to say, white jade stands out in all jades.

China's new jade rush as prices soar

High prices of rare white jade are creating a new gold rush on China's far western border,

Over the last 5,000 years of Chinese history, it has come to mean all things to both men and women. Prized more highly than gold, a lump of polished jade is said to ward off evil spirits, symbolize female purity - and provides the perfect gift to flatter an imperial ruler or bribe a corrupt official.

Now, though, the crystalline gemstone - used in everything from sculpture and Jewellery through to axe-heads and opium pipes - has become a victim of the very power and wealth it embodies.

Thanks to China's rapid economic growth, demand for the "imperial gem" is soaring, pushing prices up tenfold in the last decade - and exhausting what little supplies are still available in the jade-panning valleys of China's remote Far West:

"Ten years ago, a small pendant made of mutton fat jade would have cost around 2,000 Yuan (£190). Now, it's at least 20,000 Yuan," said jade salesman Zhang Xian Kuo, referring to the cream-coloured, marbled stone found near his town of Hotan in Xinjiang Province, which is more highly-prized than the more common green variety.

It's not just the limited amount of high-quality jade that has caused the price to increase. It's the fact that people see it as an investment, so when they own a piece they don't want to sell it, which means very little good second-hand jade comes on the market."

A former Silk Road trading hub that sits on the edge of the vast Taklamakan Desert, the oasis town of Hotan has been famous for its jade for thousands of years.

Today, the demand is such that it is become the site of a Klondike-style "jade rush", the biggest in its history. From dawn until dusk, the banks of the Jade Dragon Kashgar River on Hotan's eastern outskirts are lined with men and women, young and old, scouring the river for the jade stones that are washed down from deposits in the mostly inaccessible 7,000 metre-high Kunlun Mountains that straddle the Xinjiang-Tibet border.

In this isolated rural region, where the average annual income is just 3.500 Yuan (£326), jade-hunting is widely seen as a way out of poverty.

"You can be lucky and make your fortune in a day, or you can spend 10 years by the river without finding anything," said Mohammed Ali, who has been selling jade for seven years. Standing in front of a metal tray of jade stones submerged in water at Hotan's bustling jade market, he is one of the many who have abandoned working on the farms that surround the city to try and cash in on the demand for jade.”

Of all jade, none is more prized than the unique mutton fat variety found in Hotan. Once reserved only for emperors, rising incomes have recently put it in reach of the middle classes in China's booming eastern cities. But the hunger for Hotan jade has caused irreparable damage to the river it is found in, with potentially devastating effects for the trade's future.

Although the local government has banned the use of bulldozers and other machinery, the dredging and diverting of the Kashgar River by prospecters has reduced the 100 metre-wide waterway to a trickle. It is a far cry from the time 10 years ago, when locals recall it torrenting down from the mountains, bringing with it huge jade stones.

As a result, it is now increasingly hard to find mutton fat jade. "I think there won't be any Hotan jade left in five to 10 years," said Chen Jianxin, a jade shop owner in Hotan. "The best jade comes from a 13-14 kilometre stretch of the river, and people have been exploring there for 8,000 years. It's really intensified since 2003, so there's very little high-quality jade left."

The shortage has sprawned a trade in counterfeit mutton fat jade, with stones being chemically treated in an effort to whiten them.”

China actually has become a major consumer in the world for colored gems like moonstones and jade.

The Story Behind the Story:
China Revealed in 2013 Field Trip


Andrew Lucas, GIA manager of Field Gemology, and Dr. Tao Hsu, GIA technical editor of Gems & Gemology, attended the 2013 Tucson gem shows to gather up-to-date information on the colored stone industry for use as content for GIA’s Education courses. There they discussed a journey to China!

The Journey of Discovery

The modern jewelry industry in China only began approximately 30 years ago, Hsu said, but the country has a long history in jewelry.

“We started to use gold to decorate people and clothing 3,000 years ago and you can track jade back even longer,” she said. “Before 1912, there were rock shops and studios on a small scale that only served the royal family, not really the ordinary people. It was a totally different model. After the 1930s, China experienced a long upheaval period of about 50 years with World War II and the Cultural Revolution in between. No development of the jewelry industry happened within these 50 years.”

“That all changed in 1978 after the country re-opened. Then we started to learn from the Western world how to run a jewelry business,” she said. “This is a new era for the Chinese industry.”

The modern Chinese gem and jewelry industry is supported by a large pool of people with bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in gemology, which is offered as a major course of study at many universities, Hsu said. And the opportunities for these graduates grow every year.

“When I graduated 10 years ago, very few of us had the ambition to open a jewelry business,” she said. “But now many have that dream and take action to make it a reality right away because they see the economy and the market is growing so fast and a lot of opportunities are achievable.

It’s not that hard for you to start something for yourself. The broad view and the personal vision work together,” Hsu said.

Andrew Lucas, GIA manager of Field Gemology:

From Shenzhen to Guangzhou, we witnessed massive manufacturing and trading in colored stones, jade, jewelry and diamonds.” Lucas said. “The sheer scale of the industry was overwhelming. All around us were factories, trading centers and organizations to promote trade and government agencies to facilitate trade and retailers.”

“China supplies the world with jewelry,” Lucas said. “Shenzen has the largest 24K gold jewelry manufacturer in the world (it sold 200 tons of finished 24K gold jewelry in China alone last year), the largest diamond setting manufacturer in the world and one of the largest colored stone manufacturers in the world.”

"The country surpassed India not long ago as the major consumer of gold; are the second largest economy; the second biggest gemstone and jewelry market, and the second biggest luxury market," Lucas said. One jewelry retailer could have thousands of stores in a chain.

Apparently China has already created a DIAMOND EXCHANGE!

The China Diamond Exchange Center is where all diamonds, rough and cut, enter China.
“All of this growth is in the past 30 years,” Hsu said.”

Dr. Tao Hsu is the technical editor of Gems & Gemology, and she routinely meets with members of the Chinese gem and jewelry industry.

“The jade industry was extremely fascinating its just not something Westerners have a glimpse of very often, said Lucas, who was surprised by the emotional and cultural connection people have to jade.

Hsu said there are two major materials of jade: Nephrite, which goes back thousands of years ago, and jadeite, which was first imported in about 1870. She said people first used jade to make tools because it was easy to shape, but then started to use it as worship vessels in different ceremonies since it was pretty compared to other stones.

“They used it to worship their ancestors in different ceremonies. Then it gradually became a decoration and people carved it to give it more meaning,” she said. The patterns gradually evolved; traditional patterns or shapes have different meanings, such as peace or good luck.

“We play with it – it’s not like a piece of jewelry that you wear when you go out – we have it in our hand, we play with it every day,” she said. “People think they are a part of the jade piece and it is a part of them. It’s totally mingled.”

Chinese people enjoy the texture and color of jade, Hsu said, but can like it for any reason, like the feeling you get when you touch it. “We worship how nature can make it look that way,” she said.

Hsu said that jade is also a reflection of the Chinese people.

“Chinese are very conservative and the jade is the same – it matches with our personality,” she said. “It’s not sparkling or transparent, so you cannot see through it easily. That’s also like a lot of Chinese people – they are conservative, too, and you cannot see through them right away. We prefer to be like that based on our culture and tradition.”

“When you look at the nephrite, you want yourself to be like that,” she said.

Andrew Lucas, GIA manager of Field Gemology:

“The really fascinating part of our trip was seeing the explosion and growth in the domestic consumption,” Lucas said. “The Chinese consumer is interested in everything.”

That’s because they have had the opportunity to travel the world to see all of the different types of gemstones and materials others are wearing, Hsu said. “So people brought them back and more people got to know these materials.”

“Just in the past 5-10 years, people started to realize how beautiful colored stones are,” she said. “Once they saw that, the market started to explode.”

Lucas sees tremendous opportunity for these sales to keep growing as the number of people born in China in the 1980s is three times the size of the Baby Boomer market in the U.S.

“That’s why it was so important for us to go on this exploratory trip,” he said. “Not only are the Chinese a gracious and hospitable people, but they have the power to help the gem and jewelry industry continue to thrive.”

Oddly, the current problem facing buyer of gems and the rural people with gems are the vast miles & cultural differences separating them. I have tons of mutton fat jade; but no buyers. They make great door stops!

Maybe the new generation of Chinese Gem makers will create a world-class market for precious gems buyers and seller; as there is none now!

The YouTube video shows someone trying to sell some large boulders of mutton fats Jade.

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