Home Ask Arthur Cutting A Rough Jade

Cutting A Rough Jade


A friend of mine showed me a few pieces of rough jade cut from a small boulder weighing about 1.5kg which he bought from a reputable jade dealer for about US$200.  The crust of the jade was grainy yellow indicating that the boulder was from an in-situ deposit of a mountain.  There was a small area which has been mawed and polished.  The green was quite pleasing with some black spots.

A Small Jade Boulder Cut Into Sections

His intention was to cut it into small cabochon pieces and sell them to a jade shop.  He brought the jade to a stone cutter and shaved off a few pieces.  He thought that the whole piece would be the same color of pleasing green.  But this was not so.  The interior of the stone showed dark patches of black spots.  However, there were a few spots of green inside the stone.

Question: Did the jade dealer con him into buying a rock which showed lovely green on the small window while the interior was all blackish.

Answer: NO, the jade dealer did not con him.  He was the one that did not understand the jade trade of the rough market.  It was Jadeite Jade alright but not the imperial green type.

Rough Granular Surface On The Unpolished Jadeite Jade

When you cut a jade the surface is rough and granular.  You have to put some water on the surface to appreciate how it looks like when you polish it.  There are some greens no doubt but you cannot cut a decent cabochon from it.  There are still a lot of unexposed parts and if you want to take it further you have to cut it wide open.  It is your call if the cutting cost is low.

Unpolished Surface With Water Spread Over It

Rough jadeite jade is often sold with an open window.  Those stones which do not have any open windows can be expensive as even the seller has not the slightest idea of how the stone will fare when cut.  But they can tell you that the stone is of the mineral of Jadeite Jade.

A lot of these stone sellers are geniuses.  By instinct or by experience, they can identify a lovely spot to maw a window and polish it.  If the window shows a lively green spot, the seller still will not know how the whole stone will look like until it is virtually cut open.  So they prefer to sell the stone rather than to take more risks.

Most of them have been burned badly before when they started on the jade trade.  Most of these dealers have a dream of landing an imperial green jadeite jade, and thereafter he can live happily forever.  It just take a small needle to burst their balloon of dreams and their high expectation can turn into an ash rock, worth a small fraction of what they have paid for.

Many are die-hards.  There is always one last rock to cut, one more chance to take and one more spin to make before they run out of money, run out of friends and have to be on the run.  But a number of them have gotten smart too.  They prefer to cash out and let somebody take their chance.

I have my share too.  Look at the pictures below in sequence.

An Imperial Green Window On A Weather-Worn Jadeite Jade
This Jade Gonna Make My Day
The More I See The More I Like
Turns Up That It Is A Lemon

Excellent green on the open window.  I paid 3 Grand of Ben Franklin greenbacks for them at the Hpakan jade mines in upper Burma.

Subsequently, I sold the rock for $250 to an American gems collector in New York City.  And he was deliriously happy about the trade for rough jadeite jade of this size is rare in America.

You may have missed other posts of interest. To read them, please click on the picture

Previous articleType C Jadeite Jade – Much Ado About Nothing
Next articleThe Royal Wedding – Jewelry
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. Jadeite..Color….Although famous for its green pure jade is actually white with..impurities forming green red yellow pink white violet orange ..blue-green and brown. Jadeite is the only one of the two that produces the highly..prized emerald green Jade called Imperial Jade.

  2. The rough jade dealers are always big time gamblers. We do not buy one or two stones to cut, we buy in lots, so that the chances of getting a high quality jadeite jade is better. Thanks for your comments

  3. That`s truly a gamble. No wonder it`s referred to as such. Thanks for the educational post.

  4. Hello Ivan, ha ha opening a jade is a roller coaster ride. I have got some good fortunes too, and I have been burned badly too. It is all in the game. thank you for your comment.

  5. The more I read about jade the more I like it.The feeling of opening the rough jade stone like opening a treasure. It would be nothing or you can like the rest of your live in happy with it.

    So wonderful!

Comments are closed.