Home Ask Arthur Jade Qs Old Jade Bangles

Old Jade Bangles


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Jade Bangle

Hi Arthur

Again I’m sending you a photo of the two bangles that are not mine…but honestly I’d like to purchase one of them and would love to hear what you think a better choice. This green bangle is labeled jadeite from early 1900s (it does look like jadeite to me…). My concern is that it is probably not old or antique from 1900s, but was made to look old! The description said it had a minor hair line fracture in the 2nd image. I don’t know why there is a string?

Jade bangle

The second bangle, white with splashes of green, is said to be ’83’ jadeite jade (I don’t know this term 83 jadeite…!). This bangle is so far a little bit inconsistent to me.  The photos in the dark back ground (table) taken in natural light, but show a much better consistent translucence and luster. However, the one on the ruler was not quite as good, although it does not look too opaque like most white bangles I’ve seen and had.

The prices of the two are not much different. The green with red string is $275 and the other is priced at $325. My budget is between $200-$350, but I think I should ask you what you think about them, rather than make a decision based on the prices and gold content, new/used condition etc.

Best to you,

Viet Walin from Deep South

Hi Walin

So far, I have not found any written research on the age of formation of jadeite jade.  In my opinion, information on the internet on the age when jade was formed is just mere speculation and is not really backed by any empirical or any carbon-dating research.  It is estimated that they are formed during the late Cretaceous to the early Paleocene epoch and that would place it to be more than 65 million years ago.

Again, I have to make a caveat here as I am speculating.  Jadeite jade may have being formed from 20 million years onwards before it is dug out from in situ mines or recovered from alluvial deposits under river streams.  The longer the jadeite is formed the better will be the quality, in terms of translucency, color and texture.

Hence, if you have a jadeite jade, that piece may be at least 20 over million years old.

If you are buying a jade piece, the antiquity of the jade should be your least concern.  When sellers represent their jade products as being cut in the early millennium, it is also pure speculation, especially for a generic jade bangle that you have shown on your mail.  Nobody can prove it, neither can anybody disprove it.

However, there are a lot of antiquity jade as auctioned by major international auction houses.  If provenance is stated or that it was cut or carved during a certain Chinese dynasty era, then these jade pieces are backed by citations and perhaps certain markings would be evident on the carvings that indicates the estimated era that they were being cut.

The red embroidery strings on the said bangle is for ornamental purposes or it is intended to be worn as a gait on the waist, which is still popular especially in Taiwan to date.  This bangle is definitely jadeite jade, but it is the common garden variety type as it lacks translucency, color and the texture is poor.

For the jade bangle with the number 83, I honestly do not know what it means.  Generally, when a jade bangle has a gold cuff on it, they must be a hallmark which should state the contents of the gold as required by law in most countries under the fair business practice.  In this case, the number 83 may mean that it is of 20K gold content. This will depend on the honesty of the seller or the goldsmith who hallmarked the gold on whether the content is as stated.  On the other hand, this number may mean the year it was made as the previous owner may mark a year on it.

For that matter, a gold or silver cuff on a jade bangle is always indicative that the bangle has been broken.  No jade seller will ‘wrap’ up a jade with a cuff, even for special design purposes if the bangle is not broken.

It may not be ethically right for me to say whether the price that your seller quotes you is a fair price or not.  Hence, it is your own decision on whether you are willing to pay that price for these two bangles.

Thank you

A Arthur Lau

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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 Ann, Apology for the late reply. Please let me know which country are you from? If you are in a locality where I am familiar then I can give you a few contacts. Thanks

  2. Hi Viet Walin

    thank you for your comment. Yes, it is difficult to date gemstones and to pinpoint the provenance.


  3. Hi, Viet,

    I share the same feelings about owning old pieces. They have a history that makes them special. “Mall jewelry” lacks this depth.

    If you feel like it, please let us know which, if any, of the bangles you bought.

  4. the green bangle with the red string was dated back to the Qing dynasty. it is true as you shared, ‘gems’ such as amber, jade is hard to date as the carbon equipment can’t date things back to millions of years. the downside of jade jewelry is that unless it is carving pattern, it is hard to determine if that piece belongs to some dynasty. a solid plain bangle does not have any pattern work to date while a piece of jade pendant might be easier to date (since it was worked from a slab) if one is familiar with the Chinese culture and history. this sometimes frustrates me as I always wish to own a piece that is old, old, old knowing it belonged to somebody a century or before that, yet decent enough to wear. 🙁

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