Jade is derived from a naturally occurring mineral called jadeite, which is collected in locations all over the world, from Alaska to Guatemala and Central Asia. Jadeite comes in several different colors and forms, and it is only known as jade when used as a gem for carving or jewelry.
True gem jade is composed of jadeite, which is a naturally derived mineral that can be found in glacial sediment and weathered boulders in places like Myanmar, Canada, the U.S. and Japan. Jade is one of the toughest gem minerals known to man, and it is often formed in materials that are much softer than the jadeite itself, making it somewhat easy to find and extract. A mineral known as nephrite is popularly marketed as jade, and it is extremely difficult to distinguish nephrite from jade by visual means alone. Other materials, like soapstone and amazonite, are also common jade impostors.