A uniquely beautiful twist on an ancient gemstone, Turkish Purple Jade is only found in one place in the world; the Bursa Province in Turkey’s Marmara Region. The true emperor of Chinese jewelry, Jade was also prized in Aztec, Maori, Mayan, Native American, Olmec, and Toltec cultures. Incredibly beautiful, immensely collectable, and undeniably rare, Turkish Purple Jade is a treasured addition to any jewelry collection.
Turkish Purple Jade, also known as Turkiyenite, has been used as a modern gemstone since the 80s. The base colors run from gray-purple to rich deep purple, with various mottling. These color variations, along with deep green dots and red streaks, provide an interesting canvas that highlights the gem’s characteristic patterns. The preferred hue is middle to dark purple with mottled surfaces. Occasionally, you can find bold specks of green and orange along with other attractive variations.
Optimally cut ‘en cabochon’ (cut in convex form and highly polished, but not faceted), Turkish Purple Jade is carefully finished into attractive smooth domes with a desirable proportion, shape, symmetry, and a superior polish that displays an excellent luster.
Tougher than Diamonds, Turkish Purple Jade is a variety of Jadeite. ‘Jade’ originates from the Spanish conquest of the Americas, being derived from ‘piedra de hijada’ (colic stone) around 1565. The gem’s other Spanish name ‘piedra de los rinones’ (kidney stone), translates into the Latin, Lapis Nephriticus, giving the name, Nephrite. These names came from curative connections between the shape of Jade pebbles and kidneys. In 1863 Alexis Damour established that Chinese Jade (Nephrite, the ‘traditional’ Jade) and Burmese Jade (which he named ‘Jadeite’) are different minerals with similar properties. Jadeite comes in shades of blue, brown, cream, green, grey, lavender, orange, purple, red, violet, white, yellow, and combinations thereof, including mottling. Jadeite’s reddish coloration is caused by iron trace elements, while its greens are due to the presence of chromium.
While China, along with Burma, remains an important source for this gemstone, other Jade sources include Guatemala, Russia (Siberia), Kazakhstan, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA.
As the concentration of Jadeite in Turkish Purple Jade is 40 – 60 percent, Turkish Purple Jade doesn’t have the same luminescence as other lavender/purple Jadeites, one the gem’s rarest varieties. Nevertheless, Turkish Purple Jade has a similar scarcity and price. Turkish Purple Jade is extremely difficult to source, with quality and prices varying depending on color and inclusions. As Turkish Purple Jade’s sole source is now depleted, once our supply is exhausted, there is no more. The surface deposit was small, with no crystals found under several feet. Although additional money was spent searching the Bursa Province for more, this well-explored area has yielded nothing additional. Given this historic rarity, the Turkish government is considering designating Turkish Purple Jade a ‘National Heritage Stone’.
Turkish Purple Jade is also totally natural and unenhanced, which is a critical attribute for top qualities.
Durability & Care
Turkish Purple Jade (Mohs’ Hardness: 6.5 – 7) is an excellent choice for everyday jewelry. Turkish Purple Jade should always be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.