kell is the only form of universally recognized currency / money used in Jade
. It is a byproduct of a particular fishing practice, specifically the harvest of the unusual metallic opalescent scales of a type of rare and devious sea snake. Due to its rarity there is a curious cultural mythos surrounding it, leading to a certain class of citizen similar to prospectors who dedicate their lives to hunting the sea snakes and harvesting their scales. Often this personality characteristic will be passed down for dozens of generations before an individual member of a prospector family is lucky or skillful enough to actually 'strike it rich' and catch one of the snakes.
Initially the scales are quite large and slightly diffuse, about the size of a dinner plate and still relatively malleable, once they've been removed from the snake they begin to dry. It's traditional at this point for the family to 'mint' the scales; this process involves the penetrative stamping of an thin yet intricate cutout design, usually the family crest. Over the course of several weeks the scales shrink to a very uniform size, approximately that of a poker chip. This change in density, and incidentally molecular structure has a very strange effect on the material.
Most noticeably the appearance begins to change from diffuse to brilliantly metallic as the distant metal particles are compacted and crystallize, the crystallization also creates a somewhat random yet instantly recognizable deep 3D 'holographic' opalescent pattern that makes the scale appear much thicker than it actually is. But probably the strangest side-effect is that the scales become incredibly light, in fact by the time the drying is complete they are almost weightless and will actually float on water. It's worth noting that they become impermeable to absorption once they dry and hardness increases by several magnitudes - in fact making them one of if not the hardest substance in jade.