[Sca-cooks] Precious stones to ward off evils

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Fri Nov 30 15:13:46 PST 2007

>I have done some research on jade, particularly as I wanted to use it
>as part of my heraldic title.  Jade appears to have been encountered
>first by the Spanish in the Americas in the 15th century, where it was
>used as a specific against kidney disease.  Because of this, the
>Spanish called the stone "ijada de piedra" or "stone of the kidney."

I think the reason is that botryoidal jade looks 
like kidneys. I don't know if the name is 
directly from that, or indirectly along the lines 
you suggest.

>The French began use of the stone in jewelry after that and
>transliterated the name into French...can't remember the French
>equivalent.  It then passed over the Channel into English as "jade."
>This would have been the semi-precious jade, nephrite, which is what
>is mined in the Americas including central and South America as well
>as Alaska.  I don't know of any instance, even close to period, of
>precious jade, jadeite, in Europe.

I'm not sure why you regard Jadeite as "precious" 
and nephrite as "semi-precious." I can't speak to 
Chinese usage, but in western terminology both 
are semi-precious stones.

My conjecture, incidentally, is that because jade 
was greatly valued in China, rough jade found 
between China and the west, for instance in 
Burma,, would get exported east rather than west. 
Hence the stone was unknown in medieval Europe, 
unlike some other stones that also had to be 
brought considerable distances.

>This stone is found in China and in
>southeast Asia.  All of the ceremonial jade implements in China were
>nephrite jade...and it was referred to as the "Stone of Heaven."  The
>character/kanji for Emperor is, interestingly enough, the same as jade
>(a single vertical stroke with three horizontal strokes) with a single
>dot added on the bottom crosswise stroke.
>On Nov 27, 2007 2:12 AM, Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com> wrote:
>>  Suey replied to someone:
>>  <<<
>>  > Be that as it may there are some stones that are relatively region
>>  > specific, jade is specific case in point.
>>  >
>>  Jade appears to have been unknown in Europe and would have had to
>>  have been imported in period. So it might well be the opposite of
>>  what you detail. From the A-Lapidary-art file I mentioned earlier:
>>  "jade  and turquoise  do not appear in the lapidaries."
>>  Of course this is based on only four lapidaries and there could be
>>  other problems as highlighted by Agnes deLanvallei:
>>  The contents are freely "translated" by me, combining the 4
>>  lapidaries, possibly adding errors of interpretation.  This is
>>  consistent with the work of the Medieval translators (especially
>>  Manucript B above), whose translation of French or Latin works into
>>  English was in places very badly done.
>>  Stefan
>Learning is a lifetime journeyŠgrowing older merely adds experience to
>knowledge and wisdom to curiosity.
>                     -- C.E. Lawrence
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David Friedman

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