I am confused with the information in the internet on distinguishing an A grade jade bangle from a B grade one.
I hope that with your extensive experience, you could clarify my doubts.
1) I read that jade bangles with ‘flowering’ patterns ie, where the individual stone crystals are visible in some places, are definitely unbleached. Is it true?
2) For the sound test, is the ‘thud’ of a non-A-grade bangle to be taken literally? I have struck a grade B (or maybe it’s C) bangle and it produced a hollow echoing sound, like ‘clangggggg’, but not a ‘thud’.
As for my other bangles, one gave an unmistakable A grade sound (so I sort of compared it with the rest), some gave a high pitched sound without much resonance, some gave medium-pitched echoing sounds. But no thuds.
What do these mean or rule out? Are they conclusive? Thanks for reading and your kind attention.
The ‘flowering’ patterns in a jade piece are the color of the very minute individual monoclinic crystals within a jade that is ‘locked’ in together as a massive habit. They cannot be bleached away. So whenever you see some flowering pattern it does not mean that the jade has not been bleached.
When a jade is bleached it will only remove some of the minute black spots or specks on the jade piece. It may be hard to really determine whether a jade has been bleached by just eye-balling it with a loupe.
You must remember that ‘hearing’ the sound emit from a jade bangle when hit is only a ‘quick and dirty’ test. This is especially useful when you are buying from jade dealers in a market place where you cannot run any gemological test. It is by no means conclusive.
I have ‘listened’ to perhaps thousands of jade bangles throughout my years in the jade business. I have ‘listened’ to sound as emitted from other types of bangles as well, examples are nephrite jade, lapis lazuli, agate, calcite and other minerals. This is to enable me to distinguish other sound from other minerals and also to ingrain into my psychic so that when I hear the reverberating sound from other types of minerals I will be able to distinguish that there are not of jadeite jade material.
The jadeite jade picture above was a Type B Jade. A few years back I bought 3 pieces of them at USD3,000 a piece from a known Burmese trader whom I have many years of dealing. The reverberating sound is almost that of a Type A Jadeite Jade. I was wrong and they turned up to be Type B Jadeite Jade when I ran an FTIR test on them. Had I being right, then I could make a tidy sum from these 3 icy jade bangles.
So I blew 9 grand dollars.
When you use the ‘listening’ test, you must be aware that each jade bangle is unique and you have to use some judgment on your own.
I list some of the factors that you have to take into consideration:
1) The sound that emits from a Type A jade is a kind of reverberating resonance and not only a high pitch sound. This means that when you hit a jade bangle the sound should be ‘clear’, ‘sharp’ and resonates within the jade bangle. The longer the reverberating resonance the better the chance that the jade piece is Type A. If it is high pitch and does not resonate then chances are it is a Type B jade.
2) The pitch and resonances as emitted depend on the cut, thickness and the ‘size’ of the jade bangle.
- A jade bangle with a round inner diameter will resonate better than a flat inner diameter bangle
- A thicker bangle will resonate better than a thin diameter bangle
- A bigger bangle will resonate better than a smaller bangle.
3) The more translucent the bangle the better will be the reverberating resonance. Hence, if you have a semi-transparent (note this term, as in icy jade) jadeite jade bangle, the resonance will be excellent.
4) You may have to test the sound by hitting it on all the 4 ‘corners’ of a bangle. Say, you start with a point on the bangle at 12 o’clock. Then you must also test the sound emitted at 6 o’clock, 3 and 9 o’clock. The main reason for this is that not all surface of the jade bangle may be impregnated with polymer. There may be certain areas that a ‘manufacturer’ may pad it with heavy cotton wool so that polymers cannot penetrate.
5) You should not test a bangle with another bangle. If one is the Type A Jadeite Jade and one is Type B, then you are only hearing the resonance from the Type A jade, while the ‘thud’ sound from the Type B is masked. The best is to use an agate piece. (read here)
In order to acquire expertise in the listening test, you must test hundreds of samples and let the ‘tinging’ sound be impinged onto your psychic. You may also have to test with known samples, that is, the jade piece must first of all be determined.
Best of wishes to all readers who may find the above post informative. Do drop a comment if you have additional facts to add.