Canadian Greenstone Nephrite Gemstone Polished Barrel Beads, 7.5 in St – Shelly Crag Imports

Canadian Greenstone Nephrite Gemstone Polished Barrel Beads, 7.5 in Strand

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Nephrite has been used throughout the ages by many different cultures.  In the stone ages, it was used as weapons points and blades due to its unusual durability.  Until the renaissance, the Persians and French were simply calling it jasper or agate, as it was similar to other translucent to opaque silicates.  The nephrite that was brought back from the Americas to Spain was called piedra de ijada “stone of the side/flank” because the natives were using it to treat gallstones and kidney issues.  In some cultures, other stones like omphacite, antigorite, bowenite, and other forms of serpentine would fall into the “greenstone” category, based on color and durability.  Formation of nephrite underground begins with a process similar to that of tiger’s eye, with the growth of very thin threads of silicate material in voids of cracked cooling magma rock, gradually being filled in with other minerals via hydrothermal pressure.  Therefore, identification of nephrite is along a continuum of stones with varying amounts of magnesium, iron, and calcium.  Inclusions of iron and chromium are responsible for the woodsy green color, and may also occur as black crystalline streaks in the stones.  The largest greenstone deposits in Canada were recently discovered, and therefore more of this deep green stone is available to us.  

This Canada greenstone is on a 7.5 inch strand.  The beads are roughly box cylinder shaped, with spacer seed beads separating each stone, to add protection from abrasion damage between the individual stones.  Dimensions are stated within a variable range of length 9-11mm (0.35-0.43in), with the diameter appearing as roughly half the length of the stone.  The spacer beads are about 2mm each.  Our estimate is about 14-16 greenstone beads per strand.  If you wish to make a necklace the we recommend ordering at least two strands.