|By: David Cowley|
When treasure hunters first discovered Jade at Jade Cove they came from all over to hammer and dynamite the large rocks on the cliffs. Large trucks with winches were used to drag the boulders up the cliffs doing serious damage to the beach and cliff areas.
Jade Cove is now protected and it has numerous regulations regarding the prospecting for jade that are strictly enforced. No tools are allowed, no collections above the high tide mark. It is a day use area only, so no camping. The trail leading down the cove is covers a 180 food drop is it is quite steep and treacherous and you are only allowed to remove what one man can carry out.
A shallow shelf slopes off the shore and runs through thick kelp beds. Fifty yards offshore is Cave Rock. Beneath 40 feet of water, it is the only underwater concentration of jade known in the world today. The cave runs parallel to the shore and in the cave is naturally polished pure green jade. It will be one of your most unforgettable diving experiences.
Two type of Jade is known. The first is Jadeite (sodium-rich aluminous pyroxene) and the other is Nephrite (calcium-rich magnesium, iron, aluminous amphibole). Both have a hardness rating between 6.5 and 7 on the mohs scale. They can be beautifully colored and have delicate shapes. Both were created under extreme pressure with relatively low temperatures.
Prehistoric man used jade for weapons and tools. It has the hardness of quarts and could be shaped into cutting type tools and weapons. China has been using jade since 3,000 B.C. The Mayan, Aztecs of Central America valued jade more highly that gold.
Other Places to Find Jade
In China, Nephrite can be found in a creamy white coloration known as Mutton Fat as well as the green variety. Jadeite can come in a more verity of colors such as blue, lavender, pink, black and emerald green. Jadeite is the rarer of the two and can be found only in about 12 places in the world. Jade is the official gemstone of the state of Alaska where it has been found in the Kobuk river watershed at Jade Mountain. Outside of the Anchorage Visitor’s Center sits a two ton block of jade that was mined from the Kobuk area and donated to the state. Some fine green, white, and cats’ eye nephrite have been found in Alaska.
Wyoming has green and a golden brown variety of jade that is found in the chaparral and desert country around Lander.
The metaphysical properties of jade include wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty, courage, beauty, longevity and female eroticism. Chinese often had the mouthpieces of the opium pipe carved out of jade in the belief that breathing smoke through jade would bestow longevity upon the smokers. Calligraphy brush handles were also made of jade so the user would gain wisdom when using it.
Happy Treasure Hunting.