Telling the difference between the two stones is difficult. Jadeite is slightly harder than nephrite. This cannot be determined by looking or touching. A gemstone-testing device can be helpful, however if this is not available to you, knowing the stones origin can be a clue. Jadeite has been found in Burma, Canada, China, Japan, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Siberia and the United States. Nephrite has been found in Australia, China, Brazil, Canada, Zimbabwe, Alaska and Poland. Below is a photo of Canadian nephrite below that Chinese nephrite.
Some marketing names I have encountered around the use of the name jade are:
· New Jade – a yellow translucent stone, this is serpentine
· Indian Jade – a green translucent to opaque stone, this is aventurine
· Wyoming Jade – nephrite
· Canadian Jade – nephrite
· African Jade - jasper
Below are photos of some of these stones. Top New Jade, 2nd down Aventurine, below that are two examples of serpentine and the bottom photo is African Jade.