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California Jade

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After the Search

It's what you DO with the jade that makes is valuable :-)

     The jade in its natural form doesn't really look any different from any other worthless rock you might find.  However, once it's sanded or polished, it can turn into a beautiful gem.

Necklaces & Bracelets

   Smaller stones can be polished in a rock tumbler or used as is.  Making necklaces from jade pieces and fragments and some leather cord can turn out real well.   To drill the holes for a necklace or bracelet, you will need a dremel (a special type of handheld drill that uses diamond drill bits and sanding bits; cost, about $50).   Use the small ball-shaped bit, carefully center it on the fragment and hold the drill steady.  Assuming your thickness to be 1/8" or less each hole will take approximately 10 minutes.
     This whole process should be done under water; find a shallow container lid (less than or equal to 1/4" deep) and hold the fragment down with some needlenose pliers.

     Medium-sized stones can be made into a variety of things.   I have seen tobacco pipes (they take a while to make), good-luck charms, and the like.  Most of the decent medium-sized pieces look good when you find them and don't need to be polished.

     Large stones and slabs normally have to be sanded down in order to polish them.  For best results use auto-detailing wet/dry sandpaper on an oscillating sander on the flatter slabs and a wet grindstone on the rounder ones. 
     If you don't have a grindstone and have to sand them down, go out and get some paper with the following coarsenesses: 120, 150, 180, and 400.
     Beginning with the 120, soak the slab in water and set securely in a vise.   Sand the flat parts evenly and rotate the sander counter to the movement of the oscillation.  Do this for about 10-15 minutes.  During this time repeatedly wet the slab with a dripping sponge.
     Repeat this process with the other 3 types of paper.  You should notice after each sanding the jade is losing its white film and gaining a kind of sheen.  Keep sanding until the flat surface is totally smooth with no rough spots.   Try and do this to all flat surfaces on the rock.

Make it Beautiful