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By Kim Be Howard, A.G. (C.I.G.)

1. Introduction

Jadeite is one of the minerals that fall under the generic category of jade. The word jade is used in both English and French and came, according to the Oxford Universal English Dictionary (Little, Fowler, and Coulson 1955: 1057) from the Spanish word ijada. The Spanish referred to it as piedra de ijada, or colic stone. The reason for this is that when the Spanish conquered Mexico they discovered that people in Mexico powdered jadeite and mixed it with water as a cure for numerous internal disorders. The first recorded use of this term is by Nicol Monardes in a work on medicinal plants of the New World written in 1565 (Easby 1968: 7).

The two stones that are primarily categorized as jade are nephrite and jadeite. initially they were considered to be the same mineral, but in 1863 they were found to differ (Damour 1863, and see Damour 1846, 1881). Damour discovered that one variety of jade was a silicate of sodium and aluminum, whereas the other was a silicate of lime and magnesia. As a result of his findings, he (1863: 865) proposed the name "jadéite" for the first mineral to distinguish it from the second (i.e., nephrite). The present paper focuses on jadeite...

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