Jade is one of the oldest known gemstones and is recognized for its amazing strength, toughness and ultimate beauty, which is why it has been carved into everything from tools to jewels for thousands of years. It is thought that as early as 3000 BC, it was revered in China as the royal gem, much the same as gold and diamonds have been appreciated in the West.

Jade is really two unique stones made up of different minerals that look very similar. Jadeite is the more valuable, preferred gem because it produces a more magnificent finished product in richer colors than its counterpart. Nephrite is the more common jade, and while it is nearly the same as jadeite in terms of hardness and outward appearance, its finished colors are not nearly as vivid. Jade is found in a variety of colors: green, lavender, red, yellow, white, black. Green is, of course, the most traditional color, but even that varies in hues and densities. The gemstone’s value is enhanced by its translucence. The finest jade has evenly distributed color, although both jadeite and nephrite often have veins and streaks, of which some patterns are extremely valued. Nephrite has been found in the United States, western Canada, Central America, New Zealand and Russia. The rare and more precious jadeite comes from Myanmar (formerly Burma). Jade is taken from the mountains in boulder form and is also found near water, where its soft exterior material is eroded away, exposing its prized interior. It ranges in size from one to two pounds to nearly 10 tons.

Because of its exquisite colors and extreme durability, jade can be carved into beautiful shapes that are then highly polished and set into pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings. It also can be combined with other gems to make precious jewelry that endures for generations.

On July 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Scheherazade Jewelers is presenting a fine jade event with jade expert Leor Mason of Mason-Kay. Guests are invited to see, touch and try on the most elegant pieces of Scheherazade’s stunning jade collection.

Scheherazade Jewelers, 3525 Galleria, Edina, 952-926-2455, www.sjewelers.com