A hard, pale green or white mineral which is one of the forms of jade. It is a silicate of calcium and magnesium.
- Usually of a pale green or grey-green nephrite, they are worked to a high standard and are generally dated to the eighteenth century largely on stylistic grounds.
- Of the two kinds of jade, jadeite and nephrite, the former is harder than the latter and cannot be scratched with a penknife blade.
- Hewn from jade, nephrite, marble, and hardstone, the oddly shaped blades lack an obvious prototype in any functional tool or weapon.
Late 18th century: from German Nephrit, from Greek nephros 'kidney' (with reference to its supposed efficacy in treating kidney disease).
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