I came across your site recently, and must say that I have enjoyed very much reading it.
Just like you, my mother and I are both jadeite enthusiasts; however, we have very limited exposure and resources to pursue this expensive hobby. So, our appreciation lies mostly in reading and learning about it, other than seeing the pictures of auction pieces.
Recently, a thread in a forum of my local town drew much of my attention. A mainland Chinese claims to have Type A Natural Jadeite Jade Bangles pieces for sale, at extremely high prices in Canadian dollars.
Out of extreme curiosity, I am wondering if an expert like you could tell the genuine nature of the jadeite just by looking at the pictures, and whether her claimed prices are anywhere reasonable for the stated quality.
It is of course difficult to ascertain whether a Jadeite Jade bangle is of Type A, which is natural Jadeite Jade or Type B, which bangle has been impregnated with polymer just by looking at pictures. Even when we handle jadeite jade bangles and examine them under a 60X microscope a very experienced jade dealer will at most be about 95% certain, when the polymer impregnation is so well done. We have to scan them through an FTIR machine (you can read about it in my earlier post) to determine whether hydrocarbons (i.e. polymers or resins) have been impregnated into it. As organic compounds like hydrocarbon (C-H bonds or C=H bonds) is never a constituent of natural Jadeite Jade, the FTIR chart will be able to show the presence of C-H bonds or C=H bonds at certain peaks.
So it is unfair to make a judgmental call based on the pictures at the forum.
However, I can give you some posers to think about and you draw your own conclusions. These pointers are insights from experience gained from mining, cutting, auction bidding and trading in the real business world of jade as I was involved in all these activities. The Chinese called it literally as ‘One Dragon Stream’, that is, the whole business activities from the upstream mining processes to the downstream jade wholesale and retail business. It will come in handy when you begin on an adventure of collecting jadeite jade rough, carvings, jewellery or loose cabs.
Believe me, once you are in love with jadeite, you will be beholden to its beauty, texture, translucency and vividness of its color. You are going to need an adrenalin junkie fix once in a while and you will be itching to buy more and more jade pieces.
The picture in the forum shows a total of 5 bangles and the seller is asking a price of C$4,500,000 in a lot sale, that is, you take the lot as is where is. The seller is from mainland China.
Converting it to Renminbi or Chinese Yuan, it will be in the region of Yuan 22 million for 5 bangles, which is still a large sum of money in China.
No other information is offered except a remark that these are top quality bangles and can be placed on the auction block at major auction houses. Prospective buyers can contact seller through the forum’s mail box service.
All 5 bangles are cut from the same block of jade boulder. They are proportionately cut, well rounded, of tri-color (which the Chinese addresses it as Fu Lu Shou, or Prosperity, High Status & Longevity, all the attributes of a good life) and the size of each bangle can fit into most Chinese ladies’ wrist. If there are genuine Type A bangles they are worth a hefty fortune.
If these bangles are genuine the main market is in China, where there are a lot of nouveau riche money bags and where jade collectors will pay top price for genuine Type A bangles. Why put them up for sale onto a forum in Canada, where the seller does not even have a website and is anonymous?
Current potential buyers of high quality jadeite are sophisticated, well-informed and most of them have ready-to-roll stacks of cash. High valued jadeite is a very tight market where buyers will look for seller/s when there are whispers in the trade that some high quality jade are on the market for private sales. Or if these serious buyers go into a high street jade retail shop in Shanghai or Beijing they are not interested in the jade pieces displayed at the counters, they are interested in what you have inside your vault. A sophisticated seller sells more high value items in their vault which are kept away from public eye than on items displayed, which may be sold to a walk-in out-of-towner tourist or foreigner.
The seller who is in possession of high quality jadeite will get them to be authenticated by a reputable jade and gems laboratory. This will make the sale easier as these bangles are verified, tested and identified by third party independent gem labs. There are no such description in the forum.
The Customs and Excise Duties at entry ports in Canada is very strict for imports of jewellery items. A Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident or a tourist who wishes to bring in jewellery from overseas must declare such items, or they must have gem lab report done within Canada on jewellery items when they travel abroad, stating that their origin is from purchases within Canada and they are now re-importing them back as personal jewellery. Are you going to risk such a lot of money to purchase such goods where there might be contrabands?
A sophisticated buyer of high quality jade may want to know who the seller is, or at least some information on the seller. One cannot expect a small timer jade dealer in China Town Toronto or Vancouver with a retail shop at some nook and corner to be in possession of such high value items, where his normal retail goods are priced within a range of a few thousand Canadian dollars. Does the seller who post his/her high value jade possession in a forum fall within this category of high end jade seller?
So you decide whether the jade bangles are genuine or not?
Best of wishes