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Dye Coating of Jadeite Jade


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The top jade piece is being dye coated, while the bottom one the dye coat has been removed

Most of us may not be familiar with this type of color enhancement on jadeite jade, especially for jade carving pendants, bangles, jade beads or figurines.  I trawled the net intensively and I could not find any references to this type of enhancement.  This type of color enhancement has been practiced for a long time but just that no sellers would like to divulge this trade secret or has it been discussed on any forums.

As discussed in my previous posts Type A Jadeite Jade is the natural Jadeite Jade with no polymer impregnation.  Type B and Type C Jadeite Jade are essentially the same.  Type D Jadeite Jade is just a misnomer label and it is better to call them Jadeite Doublet.  So I just called this type of enhancement as Dye Coating Jadeite Jade.

The picture above shows two doggy jadeite jade pendants carved out from the same stone.  The picture at the back has been dye coated (though the pix may not be too clear).

Green copper powder being used to dye coat a jade

A type of copper green powder is used to coat the surface of a jade piece.  The coating may be done with a tumbler where corundum abrasives are placed inside together with the green powder.  After tumbling the jade piece for a few hours the green powder will adhere to the surface crevices of the jade on a carving piece.

The coating can also be done with a wheel brush, a chamois or muslin buffs mounted on a pneumatic air grinder.  The brush is dipped with the green powder and as the brush rotates at high speed the green powder will be coated onto the jade piece.

This type of coating may not be detected by FTIR scan as the green powder used is not of polymer material.  The only means of detecting this type of coating is to use a high magnifying gems microscope whereby the coating can easily be seen as very minute particles of green sticking onto the jade.  You may be able to see it with a 10X loupe if you scrutinize it carefully.

Jade at the top is dye coated. Notice the green streaks at the foot of the doggy.

After the jade piece is being dye coated, the jade piece may then be coated with a fine layer of special whitish wax and finally the jade piece may be polished by buffing off any excessive wax.  Note that this is not the candle wax, as candle wax can be peeled off easily.

This type of enhancement is a deceptive practice and buyers need to be careful that the jade piece is not being dye coated.

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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. Hi, I usually do all the writings myself, except for some posts where credit is mentioned then it is from other websites. thanks

  2. Yes, dealers often made mistakes and a reputable dealer will not want to sell you a dude, especially when you are a long time customer. So as long as they stand by their sales and refund you back if the jade piece is found to be Type B, then the seller is excellent.

  3. Hi MontyHall

    Thank you so much for your support.

    There will be more to come on jade. I am involved in jade from the upstream mining of jade in Hpakan, jade bidding in Yangon as well as downstream business of wholesaling and retailing.

    Perhaps you can recommend some of your email friends to my site.

    Thank you again for taking your time to post a comment.

  4. Arthur,

    Your site is terrific.

    I’ve studied jade as an amateur off and on for years and had never heard of this treatment.

    When I was growing up, most jade was a pale mediocre color. I saw a few emerald green pieces, but these were either family heirlooms or purchased at a high price.

    There is too much ‘apple-green’, ’emerald green’, and ‘moss in snow’ jade available in the marketplace nowadays. I don’t trust any of it because I wonder where in the world all of that pale mediocre jade went that I saw all over the place in the 1970s.

    Thank you for another terrific article!

  5. I agree with your point.

    The dealers themselves may make mistake and we can not blame them in that case.

    My friend is also willing to return money to customer too.

  6. Yes Ivan, I agree with you. The best is to deal with a known and reputable dealer. Now it may happen that the dealer may make a mistake as he or she may not be able to check through all their merchandises. But that does not mean he or she is cheating you. If later you find out that your jade is Type B, you can always go back to the dealer and I am sure he or she will honor the transaction and refund you the money.

    I have seen it done before, where the dealer will return the money without questions and I am sure the dealer is not in the know in the first place.

    A lot of dealers are actually traders, that is, they buy and sell, and may not have the time to go through every merchandises.

    Thanks Ivan

  7. There are so many method to enhance jade nowadays. We need a lot of knowledge and experience when purchase jade. In my case, the best way to get a genuine jade is just deal with my reliable dealer.

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