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Sight ID – Detecting B Jade

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A Natural Type A Jadeite Jade carving of a sleeping Buddha

Further to this post, Detecting B Jadeite Jade (Part 1 – DBJ), on the use of acetone to determine whether a jade has been impregnated with polymers, you should first make close observations on your jade piece.  Instead of sending it to a gem lab to have it tested for polymer impregnation, there may be some tell-tale signs that may indicate that a jade piece has been impregnated with polymer.

The base of the jade carving is unpolished

Observing the base or reverse of a jade figurine or pendant

If you have an ornamental jade, examine the base of the jade.  If the carving is quite big, most jade carvers will not polish the base.  There are 2 reasons for this:

  • A non polished base will ensure that the jade figurine or statue will not easily slip when placed standing.
  • A non-polished base indicates that the jade has not being enhanced upon.

Similarly the reverse of some jade pendants may also be left unpolished.  It may be art in its own form, but the chief reason is to indicate that the jade is natural.

Green polymer impregnation is too homogenous
A Natural Type A Jade carving. Notice that the colors are not so evenly distributed

Polymer Impregnation is too homogeneous

When the color distribution of a jade piece is too homogeneous, this may indicate polymer enhancement.  When the color of a natural jade piece is vivid green, a jade carver will take pains to have it polished to a fine finish.  If the jade piece has been enhanced, the finish will not be as shiny as a natural jadeite jade.

Green veins are too obvious and appears that they do not belong

Obvious green veins

Using a strong probe light, you may see some obvious green veins running across the jade piece.  This is not difficult to detect as the veins do not ‘belong’ and do not merge well with the whole carving piece.

Color impregnation is skin-deep

Color impregnation is only on the surface

When color dyes are added onto a jade piece, the dyes will only penetrate a few microns from the surface.  Refer to this post: The Making of Type B Jadeite Jade.  Using a strong probe light you may be able to see that some green veins running along the surface.  Some green dyes may penetrate deeper but in most cases it is ‘skin deep’

Hearing a jade piece

If you have a bangle, hearing a jade piece may indicate a Type A or Type B jade.  Please refer to this post: Jade Bangle Hear Me Out.

Caution

The above are only indicative tell-tale signs of a jade being impregnated with polymers.  They are by no means conclusive.  However, if the tell-tale signs are too marked then you can conclude that a jade has been impregnated.  This may help you in your buying decision.  If you are not sure, then you should walk away from the deal.

Next post: Using Hot Point – Detecting B Jade (Part 3 – DBJ)

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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.