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A Lucky Strike of a Bangle


bangle 1

Dear Arthur,

I was in a thrift shop recently and I saw this beautiful jade bangle.

Can you tell from the pictures if it is natural untreated Type A jade?  

Do you think it is a steal for 40 US dollars?

I would appreciate your opinion/insight on this very much.

Thank you in advance! 

askaarthurlaunewbannerHi Jon

You have picked a winner.

I pay you US$300 for the said bangle, provided that there are no eye-visible cracks. And I can still return a profit by selling it.

Strange as it may be, it is said that a gemstone or jewellery piece will eventually find its owner. A jade bangle may well sit in a curio or jade shop for many months or years and when the rightful owner comes along, the bangle will be drawn towards him/her.

 Ah … you lucky fella, who happened upon such a good piece and perhaps it is destiny that it wanted to make you the proud owner, or you may have somebody you love to give to. 

 I would say, from the picture itself, that most probably it is an untreated Type A Jadeite Jade. For a 100% confirmation, you have to take it to a Hong Kong gem lab to authenticate that this is Type A Jadeite Jade, with no resin or polymer impregnation.

 Now, this is not that high end jade bangle found in Sotheby or Christie’s auction but it is quite a good medium piece. It translucency is median, the geometric cut is quite rounded, its thickness I believed may range between 9 to 11 mm and from the picture there are no eye visible cracks. Above all, this can be considered a Tri-color bangle, with a patch of russet yellow, some green streaks and whitish Caledon.

 Any Tri-color bangle to the Chinese will fetch some premium as its attributes are meant to represent the Trinity of the Three Heavenly Stars – Fu, Lu & Shou (Prosperity, Status & Longevity). The more pronounced the three colors are in a bangle, the higher will be the premium.

 Perhaps you may wonder, how on earth did the proprietor of the thrift shop literally gave away a good bangle for such a small price?

An Antique shop in China.
An Antique shop in China.

 If that bangle is displayed in a jade speciality shop in China or Hong Kong, the price may even deter you from asking. Jade dealers know the current market sentiment of the value of jade and mark its price accordingly, as there are no comparison as each piece of jade is unique.

 A thrift shop, a curio or collectible shop deals in all kinds of merchandises that are supposedly of an estate nature, or are considered antique. A large number of these proprietors are traders, their business is to buy and sell. They are not experts in jade or even in antiques, though if they are in business a long time they may be able to identify a genuine article from a fake one. In fact, if you are looking for old articles or antiques and walk the back alleys of some of these cities in China, a large number of items are replicas and are produced in sweat huts just behind their shanty shop.

Take your pick at a curio shop in China, real, fake, imitation or replica
Take your pick at a curio shop in China, real, fake, imitation or replica

But once in a while there may be a good article the proprietor has paid a low acquisition price and is satisfied when he sells it at a profit. He may know the price of an article but he does not know the value of it.

 Anyway, you may have heard of some great lucky tales, where a lady paid US$60 for an emerald ring in an antique shop, only to find out later that the ring was worth hundreds of thousands.

But don’t get carried away. Such lucky strikes only come once in a while.



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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.


  1. Hello Arthur, Thanks for the informative posts. What a nice looking bangle with a decent amount of translucency. I would be interested to discuss about boulders and slabs with you if possible.

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