Jade History

jade scroll

Welcome to the Jade Scroll, our ongoing journal of inquiry & exploration into the world of jade. Resonant with natural beauty, spiritual strength and mythic aura, jade continues to be the gemstone of choice for those seeking both visual and tactile splendor, and the complementary, active principle of yang for personal transformation and cultivation.

What is Jade?

Often called "The Stone of Heaven," jade is a rare, extremely tough, naturally-occurring gemstone originating from deep within the Earth. Jade begins its journey as heavy, common submarine rock, and through a series of intense changes, or metamorphism, becomes an object of exceptional and rarefied beauty. With jade, we are interested specifically in its chemistries and microscopic textures, or crystal lattices. These physical characteristics and qualities in turn lead us to our consideration of its sublime and mythic qualities, meanings, beauty and intrinsic value.

Jade was prized early on for its toughness, its durability, and usefulness in the making of tools. As a rare substance, it was valued in terms of wealth, as a sign of status, and was closely identified with royalty. In ancient China it was valued more than gold, a status it quite literally still enjoys, as current gemstone markets reflect. Similarly, in ancient Central America it was held in the highest esteem and value. Today, as then, it is valued for its beauty, rarity, and its natural embodiment of many qualities we seek to cultivate within ourselves.

wide river

Origins and History

Jade is endowed with solar and regal qualities, and is closely identified with "yang," or cosmic energy. Its toughness and durability inspire its status as a symbol of eternity. Its color, luster and texture inspire, attract and fascinate. Its creation through processes of intense change makes it ideally suitable for use as a touchstone for one's life and personal changes, development and identity. And the giving and receiving of jade, its exchange, enjoys a richly textured history of customs and traditions, meaning and enjoyment. For at least 10,000 years, it has been intimately woven into human culture. Ultimately, we seek in jade what we might seek in ourselves: beauty, depth, clarity, strength, uniqueness, and a connection with that which is eternal, timeless, infinite.

Jade begins in the Earth, created by submarine vulcanism and metasomatic metamorphism, is transported by tectonic movement in rivers of flowing rock across vast subterranean distances, travels upward and surfaces through the agency of cataclysmic upheaval, and comes into our hands by the hydraulic action of rivers. Mother Nature has reserved some of Her more rarefied and exceptional mineralogical processes for this uncommonly beautiful stone. She is the source, the maker, the bestower of jade. -This article was sourced for accuracy from Don Dupras' " California Jade: The Geologic Story of Nature's Masterpiece.""

sam gitchell

Riverblossom Jade Founder Sam Gitchel on Rivers and Jade

Jade has been sought after throughout history. The Orient has traditionally been the center for all Jade activities. That is now changing. California's recent botryoidal jade finds are astounding the Jade, Suiseki, and Viewing Stone world. These recent California Jade, or nephrite, finds have been described as the most important since the discovery of Imperial Green Jade. Naturally figurative botryoidal nuggets, or River Blossoms, are left high and dry after the massive winter rains in the Trinity Alps in Northern California. Botryoidal, when referring to gemstones, means bubbly.

River Blossom Jade is our trade name for the fabulous jades we find here in Northern California. We call them River Blossoms because they actually do blossom in the river. By that I mean they become shaped by the river. The softer material that clings to the jade nuggets is separated by the water's action and gradually the inner beauty is revealed. Often Mother Nature just provides us with a small glimpse of what is to come and she leaves the task to us of exposing the hidden jade treasure within that conglomerate of stone.


river blossom jade

RiverBlossom Jade

Specializing in rare California Nephrite and Botyroidal Jade for collectors, raw strands for jewelry making, carvings, boulders, unique masterpieces.

california jade jewelery

California Jade Jewelry

The Largest Selection of California Jade Jewelry in the World: fantastic color, luster, texture, look, in a wide selection of elegant settings.

jade book

California Jade Book

California Jade: The Geologic Story of Nature's Masterpiece. A fascinating and highly informative study of Jade in California by geologist Don Dupras.

jade blog


Jade info, insight, news and artistry from Sam and the Cal Jade staff.