Jade is probably the most misidentified of all important gemstones. There are many stones that have a passing resemblance to jadeite and nephrite, and they are often misrepresented as jade. The high value of jade has made it a favorite target.
In East Asia, and elsewhere, it is not unusual to find other "hardstones" sold as one form or another of jade. The terms "new jade", "Hunan jade", "Sinkiang jade", "Khotan jade" and "Korean jade" all refer to stones other than jade, as do "Transvaal jade" and "Queensland jade".
Other common jade simulants, (opposed to "synthetics", which are not a problem in jade), are listed below:
|-Serpentine||Also known as "Korean jade" or "Suzhou jade". Serpentine has a somewhat fibrous texture and is often used in carvings. It is softer than jade, with different fracturing. R.I.=1.56|
|-Soapstone||Also known as steatite, or talc. This is much softer than jade, and is easily scratched with a knife- blade. It is only used for figurines.|
|-Green Quartz||Almost always dyed, green quartz can be the most convincing of all jadeite simulants. Usually seen in cabochon form, with high luster. R.I.=1.54|
|-Aventurine||Platelets of chromium mica characterizes this form of quartz. Aventurine appears crystalline with vitreous luster. It is often cut into beads and jewelry, but material is usually spotty. R.I.=1.54|
|-Chalcedony||This is another form of quartz that is used to simulate white jade, (nephrite), and other colors. In its finest green form it is called Chrysophase, and is often sold as 'Australian jade'. Conchoidal fractures, even color. R.I.=1.54|
|-Glass||Long used as a jade simulant, glass is almost always discernible by gas bubbles in its interior, (a 10x loupe is sufficient). So-called "Peking glass" looks like jade until examined closely. A Japanese product developed in the 1970's called 'meta-jade' is also glass, but has dendrite-like inclusions.|
Other common jade simulants are carnelian for red jade, muscovite or zoisite for lavender jade, and bowenite (grossularite garnet) for green jade. In addition, watch for calcite, prehnite, idocrase, jasper, malachite and maw-sit-sit.