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Natural vs Enhanced Jadeite Jade


A Vivid Green Natural Type A Jadeite Jade Cabochon

Jadeite jade is a very porous stone. It comprises of very minute granules of monoclinic crystals inter-locked against each other. This creates a lot of ‘spaces’ and ‘pores’ in between the crystals whereby organic compounds can be force injected into these capillary crevices. Hence, jade is an extremely good stone for enhancement.  (Read here for Internal Structure of Jade)

An Assortment of Type A Jadeite Jade Pebbles

Enhancement and Treatment

A natural vivid color piece of jadeite jade with excellent translucency is a very rare piece of jade. Hence, jade ‘manufacturers’ often enhance a low grade jade piece to improve on its color, translucency and luster. The various forms of enhancement and treatment are:

  • Waxing
  • Dye Injection
  • Polymer Impregnation

Waxing on the surface of a jade piece is not considered as an enhanced treatment.   The internal part of the jade piece has not being altered in any way. Waxing is not permanent. After a while the wax will wear off or it looks dull when in contact with a hot medium. However, you can send it back to your jade dealer for re-waxing.

The Dyed Veins Within The Internal Structure of Jadeite Jade

Dye injection has been used for many years. Usually spinach vegetable is used as it has a good vivid green and it is easily available. The pores of the jade pieces are preliminary washed in mild acid or plum juice to remove some of its surface impurities. Then it is pre-heated using a basin of hot water to open up the pores. The jade piece is then removed and soaked into vegetable dyes for about a few weeks.

A Dyed Injected Type C Jadeite Jade Guan Yin Pendant

On removing the jade piece, it is dipped in wax to seal off the pores. Using leather or sheep skin, the jade is polished until it is lustrous. This is not a common practice anymore as the dye leaks out easily. For some unscrupulous jade dealers who wanted a quick profit or to fleece tourists this practice is still prevalent in some remote part of Burma or China.

Polymer Impregnated Type B Jadeite Jade Bangle

Polymer Impregnation is a more permanent method of treating a jade piece whereby polymer is force-injected under pressure into the capillary veins of the jade.  Polymers with Refractive Index closed to Jadeite Jade is used (RI 1.66, read here).  Occasionally, Opticon (with RI 1.54) is used.

The method of impregnating polymer is almost the same except that higher technology is used and it is done on a mass basis. Once polymer is impregnated into a jade piece the jade will have a very good luster and translucency. Polymer impregnation came into practice in Hong Kong in the late 70s.

Jadeite Jade which has NOT been treated is known as Natural Type A Jadeite Jade in the trade.

Polymer impregnated jade is known as Type B, Jadeite Jade, while jadeite jade which has been dyed is known as Type C Jadeite Jade.

By international standards, waving is not considered as an enhancement and jadeite jade which has been waxed but not dye injected or polymer impregnated is still considered as Type A Jadeite Jade.

The next post will discuss Type A, B & C Jadeite Jade.

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I am a Graduate Gemologist trained at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York City, USA. I hold an MBA degree from Cranfield University, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor degree in Mathematics. My earlier profession was a banker until I found jade in Myanmar (Burma) in the early 90s. I have traveled to the fabled Hpakan Jade mines, and Mogok, the world’s famous rubies and sapphires mines in upper Burma, with my second son. Three of my children are also Graduate Gemologist, GIA, NYC and they deal in diamonds, gemstones and jade. 我是在美国纽约市的美国宝石学院(GIA)接受过培训的宝石研究学家。 我拥有英国克兰菲尔德大学的工商管理硕士学位和数学学士学位。我以前的职业是银行家,直到90年代初我在缅甸接触到玉石。我曾经和我的次子一起去过缅甸上流传说中的哈帕翡翠矿山和莫谷矿山, 莫谷矿山是世界上著名的红宝石和蓝宝石矿山。我的三个孩子都是纽约市GIA毕业的宝石研究学家, 他们专门处理钻石,宝石和玉石.


  1. Hello Jadelover, Sorry for my late reply, will put up a post on this later. Do look out for it, thank you

  2. Hello, is it safe to re-wax a jadeite bracelet at home? Also, what is ‘plum sauce’? Is acetone a good test for dyeing on a piece of jadeite?

    Thank you in advance for your answers.

  3. Hello SH, an FTIR equipment is needed to check on whether a jade has been impregnated with polymer. For dyes injection, a jade piece must be viewed under a high power microscope to check for dye concentration. However, dye jade is not so common as most B jade are impregnated with polymer. Thank you for your interest

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