Further to this previous post on Lacquer Spraying a Jadeite Jade, how do we detect whether a jade piece has been spray painted with any oil based substance to enhance its appearance?
Simple – just smell it!
When you are considering whether to buy a piece of jadeite jade, smelling the jade is quite useful to detect any presence of olefin-based oil or whether the jade has been waxed. This is most useful when you are thinking of buying an intricately carved pendant, as the seller might like to hide those crevasses which have not been polished well.
Firstly, you should rub it with your fingers on the jade piece. Any residual oil which the seller may not have washed away can be felt with your fingers. One may say, what is the use of oiling it then washing it away. The main purpose of spraying a carving piece is to let the oil seeps inside any small unpolished area to hide the whitish seams. The jade piece is then rinsed with cold water and any oil residual on the polished surface will be washed away.
Then you just smell for the presence of oil as most olefin has a fragrance to it. You have to give credit to the ingenuity of the Chinese for this. They just love to put some fragrance onto anything that is worn on the body, so that it ‘smells’ pleasant. And they thought perhaps this may help sell the jade piece.
However, for beautiful pieces of translucent and vivid green carving jadeite jade pendants, they are mostly well polished and do not need to be sprayed with olefin. Most jade cabochons are also not lacquer sprayed.
The beauty of smelling a jade carving piece in front of the seller will also put him on notice that you know something about jade as a lot of jade pieces on the market has been oiled by lacquer spray.