First of all thank you for providing a wealth of information on jade and educating the masses about it.
I need your help in identifying whether a “jade” laughing Buddha which was purchased from Hong Kong is real or imitation.
The piece is about 5″ tall and sits on a wooden base. I dropped it and the carrying bag portion on the top right broke – and from a small hollow hole – greenish powder came out – quite a bit of it. I emptied it out, however the external green color still remained. Also, the surface is more plastic/wax instead of glass.
Does this mean the sculpture I have is fake jade and not real jade? I have attached a photo of it below.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance for your help!
Your laughing Buddha is definitely not jade material. By this I mean that the sculpture is neither Jadeite Jade nor Nephrite Jade.
This type of sculpture are die-cast and moulded and probably belong to the plastic group of material. A jade dealer is not interested to find out what type of material is the object to be examined as long as a sight-ID provides enough clues that this is not jadeite jade nor even nephrite.
There are plenty of these ornaments of laughing Buddha on sale along 5-foot payment or small stores in Hong Kong and China. Most of them are for decorative purposes as Laughing Buddha is an auspicious symbol of prosperity.
Learn about hefting a sculpture or a stone to give you a rough idea on the Specific Gravity of the object. The SG of jadeite jade is roughly 3.3, that is, it is 3.3 times heavier than water in a cubic volume. This is of quite considerable ‘weight’ in your palm or your fingers. If you practice long enough you will be able to estimate that a stone or an object is within the range of ‘heavier’ mineral.
You can read this in my previous post “Hefting A Jadeite Jade Piece.”
The next time if you come across some objects which you think is plastic material, and if the object is yours, use a very sharp needle point and make a small and deep indentation on the underside of the object. Plastic material will leave a small peel as your needle point scratches across it. This is a very good test for plastic material, but make sure you don’t do it if you have not bought the object from the seller.
You can also read my post here, “Is This Jadeite Jade or Plastic?” to do a quick and dirty test on plastic material.