Jade is an ornamental stone. The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals: Nephrite consists of a microcrystaline interlocking fibrous matrix of the calcium, … see full wiki
I didn't get to wear jade until very recently despite the fact that I was given a real good piece of jade pendant at a young age, possible around 5 or 6. All these years, I felt it's well too old fashioned. Jade is something only people at a certain age wears, I thought.
So, why am I wearing it now? Well, it's been sitting in the safety deposit box in the bank for as long as I could remember. And in recent years, the bank began charging exorbitant rates for safe-keeping. So, I began to clear my box which expires this month, after a 20 year of contract! High office rent in this region has given the banks excuses to charge high rates for all kinds of services the bank offer. I decided that it's stupid of me to keep my jewelries in hidden boxes and not wear them for fear of being robbed! It's about time I made full use of these ornaments rather than keeping them. Whatever for? Unless one is planning on giving these gems to his/her children, otherwise, it's a waste of money to even acquire them to begin with!
Investment value? Like cars, most gems lose its market value as soon as it's out of the jewelry shop! This applies to diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, etc... you name it, it's all the same! They are not good investment products at all. However, for decoration and for our own sense of vanity, these are what most women would covet for. So, take it from me, if you've got it, flaunt it, as they like to say!
Jade is very popular to the Chinese. It is not just a mere stone. In fact, it's becoming rarer with time. The good ones do command a great value over time and we find less and lesser of them in the market these days. If you do find them, the good ones, that is, it is super expensive. Its value has risen, partly due to speculative element and partly due to the affluence of Chinese in recent years.
Unlike other gems, jade has been said to have a protective element to those who wears it. How true that is, I've no clear idea. I have heard from adults since a young age that jade will protect the wearer against physical fall and also other evil elements. As I said, I do not know how true this is. It's just what I've been told all along. A good piece of jade is said to break when a person tripped but the wearer is likely to be unharmed (I am not talking about someone jumping from 40th floor, naturally! I do believe it's possible if a person had a motorcycle accident or something to that effect).
In any case, jade usually becomes greener in color (the green variety, that is) and its luster improves when one wears it over time. Body heat improves the quality of the stone, it seems. On the other hand, other than the color green, jade also comes in cream color. This kind of jade is known as Hetian Yu (和田玉) in Chinese. Hetian is a place in Xinjiang province and the so called jade originates from here. Clearly, I'm not an expert on jade and I'm not informative on it. I do know that pendant I've is of good quality and I'm wearing it now on a daily basis. Personally, wearing jade generates a sense of peace as compared to wearing diamonds and pearls. For jade, one can almost feel a sense of warmth, that's just my personal experience, naturally.
If you're interested in jade, the best to educate yourself and to improve your assessment of what a good stone looks like is to go to a Chinese museum. The best pieces of jade can be found here since it's a stone that the imperial dynasties have used over the centuries as ornament pieces. I had seen some of the best jade in the National Museum in Taipei as well as the Shanghai Museum (which is free to access).
Jade is considered a lucky stone for the Chinese as well as imperial stone but its hard to gauge the exact price of a good piece of jade. There's an old Chinese saying that gold can be measured by price but not jade. The best way to buy one is to go to a reputable store and not buy from the street or just from anybody who claims to give you a good deal. One guiding factor I use for myself is to put a piece of stone or gem into my own hands and if I truly feel good about it, I'd look into it further. There is vibes when it comes to stones. You do have to trust your own vibes and intuitions when it comes to jewelry pieces.
New Zealand's Jade
Another place you can get jade is New Zealand. I remembered buying an ornamental piece for souvenir. They are of a different kind but equally nice if you're not keeping them for investment or as family heirloom! Many of the NZ jade pieces are designed in the shape of a hook, as in fish hook which is a Maori tradition, I had been told.
In recent years, Burma (Myanmar) also increases its production of jade although from what I had seen when I was there, the designs are more geared towards the domestic market. Some good pieces can be found but you've to have a good eye for them!