Published May 2017  •  Updated September 2022  •  Read Time: 9 minutes
Black Jade is a rare form of Nephrite Jade.  Most of the Black Jade on the market comes from Peru, it can be pure black or speckled with golden Pyrite.  The type with Pyrite inclusions is often marketed as “Lemurian” Jade.  Nephrite Jade is a wonderful tool for exploring the early spiritual traditions of the Americas, particularly Aztec, Incan, and Mayan beliefs.  It is also highly recommended when its time to explore our shadow sides, to heal, understand, and integrate this part of ourselves with our light side.  Black Jade has a peaceful and calm energy that helps us feel safe as we heal old traumas and bring peace to our mind and heart.

Black Jade

Black Jade Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Black Jade encourages us to explore our vulnerabilities and shadows to them for what they really are, rather than for what we fear them to be. It helps us to do deep work and unpack negative unconscious beliefs we have long carried from our childhood or from our larger culture. Black Jade is also a protective stone, which makes it particularly well-suited to help us explore topics related to trauma and PTSD. It is an ideal crystal tool for shamanic journeying and other intense spiritual work. Black Jade encourages us to become spiritually mature and to have a grounded basis for our spiritual beliefs. It invites us to take our dreams out of the clouds, and to give them solid foundations in reality. Black Jade from Peru has Pyrite inclusions making it a particularly good stone for attracting financial abundance and security.

Metaphysical Properties Black Jade
Chakra Third Eye and Crown
Element Earth
Numerology 5 and 9
Zodiac Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Libra

Emotional Healing Properties

Black Jade has a calm, soothing energy that is helpful during periods of long-term stress or sudden crisis. It helps us to keep an objective stance and to not allow our emotions to run away with us. Black Jade encourages us to stay calm, to look for practical solutions, and to find good people who can help us restore peace to our lives. In regards to long-term stress, Black Jade can also help us to recognize that constant stress is in large part a choice. We can make different choices that overtime may lead to serenity. These changes do not happen overnight, and require a great deal of patience to achieve. Black Jade promises to help us every step of the way if we earnestly desire true peace. It helps us to engage in honest self-reflection, to own our choices, and to be willing to grow and change.

Mental Healing Properties

Black Jade has a thoughtful energy, helping us to see situations clearly and not jump to false conclusions. It is known as a “philosopher’s stone” because it encourages us to look at life from a logical point of view and to see systems and patterns and discover their greater meaning. It encourages tolerance, inclusiveness, and practicality. It is an excellent stone for anyone who uses their words to guide others, including parents, teachers, politicians, and media personalities. Black Jade also encourages integrity in our words, actions and beliefs.

Physical Healing Properties

Black Jade is recommended for anyone who needs to prioritize the immune system and the elimination systems Black Jade reminds us that in order to have peace and wellbeing in our life, we have to be wary of invaders and continually filter out the waste which can accumulate over time. This can mean taking effective action to protect our body from harmful organisms such as viruses, bacteria or parasites. This can also mean filtering out toxic people and removing ourselves from ongoing toxic situations; as well as making sure that literal waste products are effectively expelled from the body. Black Jade is a powerful talisman for the adrenal glands, which are located right above kidneys, and help us to respond to stress and regulate our immune system. Black Jade mixed with Pyrite has the added bonus of helping us to better distinguish between root causes and casual symptoms so we can better protect and care for ourselves.

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Black Jade Mineralogy

Where does Black Jade come from?

Black Jade can be either Nephrite or Jadeite.  Most Black Jade is Nephrite and comes from Australia, Peru or the United States.  Jadeite Black Jade is more rare and is found in Guatemala and Myanmar.

Mining and Treatments

Both variety of Jade are often mined as pebbles and boulders in secondary alluvial deposits.  It can also be mined at its primary location in rocks and sheets.  Most commercially mined Nephrite is mined at its primary location.

Many of the cheap to moderately priced “Jade” sculptures and ornaments on the market are fake (made of glass and plastic) or have been dyed. When the Jade is authentic, it is often Nephrite since true Jadeite can be very expensive!

Black Jade Placeholder
Black Jade

Mineral Family

The term “Jade” can refer to either Jadeite or Nephrite, two different silicate minerals. Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedron – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a Silicon atom in the center and Oxygen atoms at each of the four corners. These tetrahedra connect with other chemical structures in different ways to form various minerals and rocks. One of the main groups of silicate minerals are the inosilicates.  The tetrahedrons in single-chain inosilicates share two oxygens atoms with two other tetrahedrons and form long chains, similar to how a group of people might hold hands in a long line.  With single-chain inosilicates the ratio of silicon to oxygen is 1:3.  Double-chain inosilicates are more complex, with two chains lining up side by side and connecting the two chains to each other with a third oxygen atom.  The ratio for double-chain inosilicates is always 4:11.  Black “Lemurian” Jade is black Nephrite with golden Pyrite inclusions.

Black Jade’s energy works well with its family – other double-chain inosilicate minerals.  Try it in combination with Green Jade and White Jade.

Black Jade Formation and Crystal Associates

Nephrite Jade is typically formed by contact metamorphism. Contact metamorphism occurs when an igneous intrusion disrupts existing rocks, and the heat and pressure from the intrusion causes the stones to melt and recrystallize. This process creates new minerals, and the rocks to become metamorphic. Nephrite is particularly likely to appear if the original stone was magnesium-rich Limestone, which during the metamorphic process becomes marble.  If the Black Jade has Pyrite inclusions, these inclusions were already present in the sedimentary rock prior to the metamorphic process.

Black Jade’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Pyrite, Snow Quartz

How to distinguish Jadeite from Nephrite Jade?

Colors like blue and purple, are only found in Jadeite.  Colors like green, black and white, can be either variety of Jade. When examined closely, Jadeite is composed of interlocking round crystals and has a granular or sugary texture.  Nephrite’s crystals are more fibrous, and the texture is fibrous or silky.

Mineralogy Black Jade
Chemical Formula Ca2(Mg, Fe)5(Si8O22)(OH)2
Cleavage Perfect
Color Black (may have gold Pyrite inclusions)
Crystal System Monoclinic
Form/Habit Massive
Fracture Splintery, brittle
Hardness – Mohs Scale 6.5
Luminescence None
Luster Waxy
Mineral Family Double-chain Inosilicates
Specific Gravity 2.9-3.4
Streak White
Transparency Translucent to opaque

History of Black Jade

Jadeite and Nephrite are two distinct minerals, both of which are commonly called “Jade.” Jade has been treasured since the dawn of history in Eastern Asia and Mesoamerica, where the two most important Jadeite deposits are found.  In China and Japan, as well as in the Aztec language, the words for “Jade” and “precious stone” are, in fact, identical.

Long before the dawn of civilization, early man was attracted to Jade, for both utility and beauty. Jade can hold an edge better than most stones, and so was made into prehistoric ax-heads, hammers, carving implements, and other sharp tools. The oldest known Jade tool has been dated between 8000-9000 BCE! Because Jade can be easily carved and polished, it has also been used to make statues and charms for thousands of years. Jade carvings often carry deep meanings, making them more than just simple decorations.

Because Jadeite and Nephrite look very similar, they were not scientifically distinguished as two separate minerals until 1863. However, master Chinese craftsmen have long noticed that some Jade (specifically that from Myanmar/Burma) is harder and denser, and also is somewhat easier to carve and takes a higher polish. As a result, it became the preferred variety, especially since it has a wider range of vivid colors. This type of Jade is now known as Jadeite. The more common variety is called Nephrite.

Jade was properly introduced to Europe by explorers returning from the New World, and it is from this period that we can trace the etymological origin of the names, Nephrite and Jadeite. In Europe, Jade was originally called by the Greek names, lapis nephriticus (stone for the kidneys) and the Spanish name, piedra de hijada (stone of the flank) since Jade was used by the Aztecs to treat kidney and bowel conditions. Over time, piedra de hijada became first l’ejade, and then simple “Jade.”  When gemologists discovered that Jade was actually two minerals in the nineteen century, they called the more precious variety “Jadeite” and used “Nephrite,” from lapis nephriticus, for the more common variety.

Black Jade can be Jadeite, but the vast majority of Black Jade is Nephrite. In China, Black Jade is used in Feng shui to represent North and as a symbol for  elegance and security.  One variety of Black Jade that is popular in modern healing crystals is known as Lemurian Jade or Incan Jade.  This is black nephrite with Pyrite inclusions.  It is found in the Andes, in the homelands of the historical Incan Empire, but there are no historical traditions or artifacts that connect it with the old empire.

Another important source for Black Jade is Cowell, Australia, which produces jet-black pure nephrite.  The deposit was discovered in 1965 by Harry Schiller, a local farmer and prospector.  A decade later, a geological assessment revealed that it was actually the largest Jade deposit in the world.  It has said to have 90% of the world’s Nephrite Jade.  Most of it is a green and sold to the market in east Asia.  There is a small portion of Black Jade which commands the highest prices.  Historically, the area was home to the Narangga people, a group of aboriginal Australians.  Unfortunately, they now make up less than 1% of the population due to colonialization.  Any traditions associated with the Jade in the region hasn’t been recorded.

To learn more about Jade’s historical traditions, please see the longer history article on Green Jade.