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There are two different minerals that have similar physical properties and are commonly referred to as jade: jadeite and nephrite. This carving is made from nephrite. Nephrite ranges from creamy white to green to almost black in color. Nephrite crystals typically are fibrous and are interwoven to produce a tough rock which serves as an excellent material for carving. From as early as 1000 BC the Chinese were making weapons and ornaments from a green stone they called yu, now known in the West as nephrite.