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A Divorced Sale Jade Pendant

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casey 2

May 10, 2016

Hi Arthur,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. If you have the time would you be able to take a look at this piece and verify if it is real jadeite? It came together with the other piece that was a lemon. They were purchased for only $50 CAD at a divorce sale so I really won’t be upset if they were flukes. I really appreciate your time.

Thanks
Casey
askaarthurlaunewbanner Hi Casey

Truth be told, my first focus was on your turquoise blue nail polish on your dainty thumb, when I opened the pictures you sent. Probably I saw three divine deities in the abstract art on your nail, rather than to give notice to the spinach green jade with a somewhat gold clasp, of which I immediately conjectured that this was another lemon.

It may be presumptuous to judge the authenticity of a jade piece by seeing some pictures but I have long been in the jade trade to develop some gut instinct. I have seen one too many of these jade pieces flooding the laid-back alley ways and pedestrian walks of China, Hong Kong, Macau and some China towns of the Western world jade and flea market.

casey 3

Of course, there are a lot of natural Type A jadeite jade of this color make-up and carving, but it would be the circumstances of the sale that led me to believe that this is another fluke. The price of $50 loony was also a dead give-away.

Bought at a divorced sale?

I have been to a number of garage sales but I have not been to a divorced sale before. Probably there was a lot of pent-up hatred and emotions between the divorced couple that they wanted to kill each other, so to speak, and all they wanted was to sell every shared properties that they have, including the kitchen sink.

But jewelry were personal items, which when given to her remained her property, even the Court of Law could not disgorge them at the stage of legal separation.

So there was some suspicion here. What if they were to scheme together and put up some fake jewelry for sale to the unsuspecting, then they divvy up the sale proceeds. The divorced woman would not be so stupid as to uncle her own properties and shared with the man she so hated at this moment.

Just to digress here.

A couple of years back, I was having coffee at a diner’s restaurant with a New York lady at Madison Ave, New York City. I had been acquainted with her for some time and had met her on some occasions. She asked me to check some of her jewelry items. Armed with a 10X loupe, a diamond gauge, a dichroscope and a small torch, I went through an array of her jewelry placed on the table. Good ticket jewelry I would say, diamond solitaire rings ranging between 2 to 3 carat stone, some rubies, emerald and sapphires rings and pendants, suite of pearl necklaces & brooches, gold jewelry and a whole platinum ring.

While I was examining her jewelry she blurted out, “I want to return all these items to that conniving, f****** S.O.B. , two timing blady bastard ex-husband of mine!”

I was taken aback momentarily by her vitriol rhetoric’s, given her sophisticated background, and gave her an innocent look of much amusement. I heaved a sigh, straightened my back and raised my two hands skywards in supplication and said, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned …Amen.”

“These are quite good jewelry and they are worth some,” I added further and eye-balled her direct into her hazel brown eyes with the ever twinkling of her long black mascara eye lashes.

Then a saner mind prevailed and her countenance brightened up.

I thought that her next question would be how much was it worth at present day market value. But it was not to be.

“Alright now, I do what Zsa Zsa Gabor did. I will keep all of them except the whole platinum engagement ring where I am going to FedEx back to him with a note to tell him to shove it up.” She said emphatically with a mischievous grin.

zsazsa final

Zsa Zsa Gabor? That famous silver screen Hungarian heartthrob film star actress of the 50s to the 70s, with seven divorces and one marriage annulled.

Ah…I thought …that vengeful feminine pitch of one-up in the gender gamesmanship sounded familiar and the satisfaction she derived by giving him back what she previously treasured and now she considered as trash.

I could not help it but gave her some encouragement as I did not know her husband and there was no love lost.

“Good move, Nicole.”

“Arthur, I already like you.” She gave me her most charming smile, no thank-you, no pleasantries, no nothing, just her devastating smile.

And if a smile could kill, I would be dead long gone.

So much for my thought, Casey. This is Lemon Number 2.

Arthur

 

It is not a 19th century pendant!

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pix 1

Hi Arthur,

I have the pictures of my pendant here. I was hoping you would be able to help me to look at it to see if the piece is in fact an antique from the 19th century and maybe also provide a price estimate for the handiwork and jade quality. Thanks! 

Casey

askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hi Casey

Sorry Casey, your pendant is not a 19th century antique jade. You have got yourself a lemon.

This is not even polymer impregnated jadeite jade. It is a type of composite material and you can find them in abundance in the Jade Market in Hong Kong or in China. A piece is sold at around HK$10, or US$1.30.

I am not sure about the clasp. If you set the gold clasp at a jewellery shop with this pendant I suggest you take it off, keep the gold and store away your ‘jade pendant’. If the clasp comes with the ‘jade’ then store it away.

It looks so cheap to be worn by a pretty lady.

pix 2

One has to be careful when a seller makes some ridiculous claim. Where did you buy this item? At a road side store in a back alley or some nook-and-corner street, a curio shop or even a jade speciality shop? Surely, this seller did not have the capacity to own a 19th century item.

pix 3

To make claims on the provenance of a jade article, you have to know something about the seller. If it is from an auction house of international repute, then it is safe to assume that thorough research work has been carried out to authenticate such claims.

In fact most sellers do not really have ‘antique’ jade, or jade worn by emperors or empresses of dynasties long gone, as they claimed to be. But a lot of buyers are taken in hook, line and sinker because the seller has the gift of the gap and can talk the hind legs off a donkey. Before one realize it, the item is being packed, money received and the buyer leaves with a euphoric feeling of getting a good deal from a sucker seller.

HK$10 a piece at the Jade market ...
HK$10 a piece at the Jade market …

Anyway, I too have been down that slippery road before. I have heard a lot of tales by sellers, and they were so convincing that I did not realize that I had been had until I recapped later what the seller said when he sold me the item.

But if it is not really a lot of money, then take it as an experience. You will get better in your jade shopping as you buy more fake or real items. You just have to enquire more and learn more about jade.

Best of wishes …

Arthur

A Lucky Strike of a Bangle

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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! 

Jon
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.

Arthur

 

Laughing Buddha Green Jade?

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green buddha 1

Dear sir, 

 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!

 Sean

 askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hi Sean

 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.

 Arthur

Current Prices of Jadeite Jade Bangles

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One set of Jadeite Jade Bangles
One set of Jadeite Jade Bangles
One set of Jadeite Jade Bangles

Dear Arthur

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.

Ann, Canada

askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hi Ann

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.

combo

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.

Posers

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

Arthur 

Icy Jadeite Jade Bangles

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Icy Jadeite Jade Bangle
Icy Jadeite Jade Bangle
Icy Jadeite Jade Bangle

Hi Arthur

I have two very Icy transparent, heavy, perhaps old bangles given to my mother-in-law by her daughter’s father-in-law in the 60’s in Hong Kong. He is the owner of the Good Friend Jewellery and Antiques store in the Peninsula Hotel for some 30 years. I was wondering if perhaps you would permit me to send you some photos of those bangles.

The bangles seem to change color from greenish to bluish when view under different lighting conditions. 

Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to help and educate the eager masses.  

These are the two bangles with GIA report.

I would enjoy corresponding with you about jades that I own but do not know much about. 

Rodney

askaarthurlaunewbanner 

Hi Rodney

You have two absolutely excellent bangles, smashing, terrific and very rare bangles.

GIA Certified Jadeite Jade Bangles
GIA Certified Jadeite Jade Bangles

Jadeite Jade pieces when come in pairs are very valuable. They are cut from the same stone. From the pictures there are also quite flawless, that is, I cannot see any crack lines or chips on the two bangles. They are well proportion, rounded and the two are of almost the same diameter. The jade bangles have some small streaks of bluish hue.

The Peninsula Hotel is The Hotel in Hong Kong, patronized by all film stars, mandarins and the high society’s elite of crème de la crème. Retail shops in The Peninsula deals only in very high quality, luxurious, branded and genuine merchandises. Individual proprietors having a shop front in The Peninsula will invariable have a personal cache of valuable jewelleries, of which a number of them are not for sale.

GIA Certified Jade Bangle
GIA Certified Jade Bangle

Together with the GIA report confirming that these are of Jadeite material with no indication of polymer impregnation, you are in possession of some very rare treasures. You write your own ticket if you bring them to China with the intention to sell or you can park them at Auction houses in Hong Kong for auction.

The worth of a jadeite jade piece is evaluated based on 3 factors. These are translucency, color and texture.

Translucency is based on the amount of light which can pass through a jade piece. Of course, the jadeite piece must not be of considerable thickness, like a big piece of carving where light has to travel through from one end and to exit from the other end.  The highest factor by the definition of Translucency is Semi-Transparent. In the lexicon of Chinese jade dealers, jade which are of semi-transparent is called ‘Glassy’, that is, it is almost as transparent as a glass plane. A jadeite jade bangle which is transparent, with almost no color in it, is extremely rare.

Jade Bangle when viewed in the back drop of sunlight
Jade Bangle when viewed in the back drop of sunlight

The other quality is Icy, where the interior of a jade bangle looks like ice, with some light splashes of color. Icy jade is also of high quality material coveted by many a jade dealer. Both of your bangles can be classified as Icy.

Color is the other quality factor. A totally colorless bangle, that is the absence of color or something that resembles glass, is a rare beauty and is very valuable. However, most jade bangles have some ‘vein’ lines or some small splashes of color in it. In fact, some jade connoisseurs valued these small splashes of color that add excitement to a jade piece.

Jade bangle viewed against a dark background
Jade bangle viewed against a dark background

Texture is the grain within a jadeite jade piece. The finer and more compact are the grains within, the more valuable a jade piece will be. A fine grain jadeite jade piece will contribute to its translucency. An opaque piece of jade can be dull and have little lustre.

There are no ranking for the 3 factors and they must be viewed in totality.

When your jade bangles are viewed under sunlight there will invariably change their color hue when you tilt them at various angles. These are due to the interplay of light within the interior of the jade piece.

Congratulations Rodney, your jadeite jade bangles are worth a lot in the market today.

Best of wishes

Arthur 

Icy Jadeite Jade Bangle
Icy Jadeite Jade Bangle

 

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