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CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A name applied to two distinct minerals, nephrite and jadeite; a general term for a semiprecious stone used in East Asia from the Neolithic onwards. Jade, in the form of polished axes, was traded in Neolithic Europe but chiefly known from contexts in China and Mesoamerica. It is too hard to be cut or flaked, but may be worked by abrasion. The most highly prized of the two is jadeite.
CATEGORY: geology
DEFINITION: A rare mineral, the mostly highly prized of the two distinct minerals which may be called jade. Much of the jadeite is green, but it varies widely in color. It is a stone carved by Mesoamericans into ornaments and statuary. Many prehistoric artifacts in Europe are made from jadeite, but no suitable European resources are known today. Sources of jadeite are known in Burma, Mexico and California.
jadeite axe
CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: Thin highly polished unperforated implements, probably for ceremonial use. Examples date mainly from the 4th and 3rd millennia BC in northwest Europe.

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