I found this piece of Nephrite Jade at the bottom of a creek. (It's the green rock on the right, leaning against a chunk of granite). The sun was striking the water just right, or I would have missed it. Even so, I at first thought it was moss. I thought I'd give it a closer look though, just to be sure. I'm glad I did!
Nephrite Jade is not gem quality; that is called Jadeite and does not occur in these mountains. Nephrite Jade isn't really jade at all, but the similarities between the two stones caused gemologists to eventually start adding 'jade' to the name 'Nephrite.'
Nephrite Jade can be found in mountain creeks and dry creek beds in California, Oregon, Washington, Western Canada and Alaska.
It is used for jewelry and, more commonly, carvings like the little owl (2" high) to the left of the stone. When carved and polished, the green intensifies and darkens. Carvings and jewelry made from Nephrite are not expensive at all; I only paid $45.00 for the owl, which I bought in Alaska several years ago.
I don't plan on having this stone polished or carved. I like it just the way it is, and I'm so excited to have found it!