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Is This Jadeite Or Nephrite Jade? Any Interested Buyers?

1147

Boulder With Partial Window Polished

Question : My name is Mike XYZ, I own a new mine where I am producing rough jade. I have not had the jade tested yet so I don’t know if it is nephrite or jadeite. I would like you to see the pictures of the rough and if they look interesting to you I can send you some samples.

Jade Boulder Lot

Material Is Quite Translucent

If you like the quality, I am hoping that you would be interested in buying from me or helping me market my rough to any customers you may know that would be interested.
I look forwards to hearing from you.

Best Regards, Mike (California, USA)

From the photos you shown me I would deduce that your jade lot is nephrite jade.  Nephrite jade is fibrous while Jadeite Jade is more granular.

While you have not indicated the location of your mine I would deduce that it is in California, USA.  USA does not produce any Jadeite material but Nephrite can be found in a number of places.

You can do a quick and dirty test on your jade lot.  Buy a small ‘pointer’ jade quartz (probably will cost you $1) and do the scratch test.  Read my post on Mohs Hardness to understand more.

Simple Scratch Test

The hardness of Nephrite is 6 while Jadeite is 7.  When you scratch you specimen stone examine it with a loupe and look for the deep indentation.  If the indent is quite deep then your stones are Nephrite (or some other material but not Jadeite).  However, if you cannot scratch your stone and its hardness is about the same as quartz, then you cannot deduce that it is Jadeite.  You can negate Nephrite but to positively identify that your jade lot is Jadeite you have to do other affirmative tests.

I am putting a number of the pictures you sent me.  If there are buyers then I will direct them to you.

Alternatively you can try to exhibit your jade lot at Tucson, Arizona.  Every year for the month of February Tucson Gems Fair come alive for the whole month.  There are many rough stone dealers there too.  Tucson Gems Fair attracts over a few million visitors every year.

There is the ‘open’ fair where you display your stones in the open air.  Or you can book a booth through the various organizers.  Perhaps you can scout it out this coming February and see whether you can find some buyers.

I have exhibited there before and could get some Jadeite customers.  It is worth your time and expenses to go if you have a lot of stones to sell.

Feel free to drop me an email if you have further questions.

A Arthur Lau

Icy Jadeite Jade Bangles

1
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

 

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 

Is This A Crack Or Inclusion?

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A visible crack line on a bangle

Hi Arthur

I purchased this jadeite bangle from online seller. This is supposed to be a old mine lao pit grade A jadeite bangle. When I received the bangle there were three lines running through the bangle. Two of them when I run over it with my finger nail feel smooth. The third line is not smooth and when I look at it I can follow the line all around the bangle. I contacted the seller and was told that with Old Mine Lao pit bangles it’s fine grain so I would see more of the stone pattern. How can I determine if this is a crack or is it just an inclusion due to the fine grain of the jade?

Sharyn Nguyen

Dear Sharyn Nguyen

There are many loose terms used in the Jadeite Jade industry.  A number of dealers love to use the term Old Mine Lao Pit Jade, Imperial Old Mine or other terms which will help them sell the jade to the unsuspecting.

Old Mine Jade normally refers to those Jadeite Jade which has a vivid deep emerald green.  This type of green is caused by chromium and it is very pleasing to the eyes.  Those garden variety darkish green are caused by ferrous and there are very common and can be purchased very cheaply.

There is no green veins or spots in your bangle at all.  This type of bangle is one of the lowest grade of Jadeite Jade.  There are also a lot of ‘cloudy’ whitish spots within the bangle inself.

You mentioned that when you run your finger nail across one of the seemingly crack line you can feel the slight indent and that the crack line runs across the whole diameter of the bangle.  From the picture this is a recent crack and is most probably caused when the bangle drops onto a hard floor.  If you drop the bangle again your bangle will most probably shatter into 2 or 3 pieces as I can see that the crack line is quite deep.

Do not be taken in by dealers who said that these are not crack line but inclusion.  Yes in most jade pieces you can find whitish inclusion within the jade piece and there are normally not in a continuous line.

‘Crack’ lines that appear in Jadeite Jade pieces are common.  Learn to distinguish them by looking at the crack line closely with a loupe (Read here for how to use a loupe) and using an LED torch light to shine it from the base of your jade piece.  If the crack line is something like the one in your pictures then it is a recent crack caused by a fall.  If the crack line is brownish, it shows that the crack line has been there for a long period of time and it has been annealed (that is being healed for a prolong period of time) oxidized, i.e, iron ferrous oxide has caused the lines to turn russet brown.

If the crack line is recent, don’t buy it at all.  It is a worthless piece and it will break again.

But if the crack line has been oxidized, then you may consider it as part of the healing process of nature.  Some of these crack lines when annealed and oxidized can be very beautiful.

Thank you for your interest.

A Arthur Lau

Cutting A Rough Jade

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A friend of mine showed me a few pieces of rough jade cut from a small boulder weighing about 1.5kg which he bought from a reputable jade dealer for about US$200.  The crust of the jade was grainy yellow indicating that the boulder was from an in-situ deposit of a mountain.  There was a small area which has been mawed and polished.  The green was quite pleasing with some black spots.

A Small Jade Boulder Cut Into Sections

His intention was to cut it into small cabochon pieces and sell them to a jade shop.  He brought the jade to a stone cutter and shaved off a few pieces.  He thought that the whole piece would be the same color of pleasing green.  But this was not so.  The interior of the stone showed dark patches of black spots.  However, there were a few spots of green inside the stone.

Question: Did the jade dealer con him into buying a rock which showed lovely green on the small window while the interior was all blackish.

Answer: NO, the jade dealer did not con him.  He was the one that did not understand the jade trade of the rough market.  It was Jadeite Jade alright but not the imperial green type.

Rough Granular Surface On The Unpolished Jadeite Jade

When you cut a jade the surface is rough and granular.  You have to put some water on the surface to appreciate how it looks like when you polish it.  There are some greens no doubt but you cannot cut a decent cabochon from it.  There are still a lot of unexposed parts and if you want to take it further you have to cut it wide open.  It is your call if the cutting cost is low.

Unpolished Surface With Water Spread Over It

Rough jadeite jade is often sold with an open window.  Those stones which do not have any open windows can be expensive as even the seller has not the slightest idea of how the stone will fare when cut.  But they can tell you that the stone is of the mineral of Jadeite Jade.

A lot of these stone sellers are geniuses.  By instinct or by experience, they can identify a lovely spot to maw a window and polish it.  If the window shows a lively green spot, the seller still will not know how the whole stone will look like until it is virtually cut open.  So they prefer to sell the stone rather than to take more risks.

Most of them have been burned badly before when they started on the jade trade.  Most of these dealers have a dream of landing an imperial green jadeite jade, and thereafter he can live happily forever.  It just take a small needle to burst their balloon of dreams and their high expectation can turn into an ash rock, worth a small fraction of what they have paid for.

Many are die-hards.  There is always one last rock to cut, one more chance to take and one more spin to make before they run out of money, run out of friends and have to be on the run.  But a number of them have gotten smart too.  They prefer to cash out and let somebody take their chance.

I have my share too.  Look at the pictures below in sequence.

An Imperial Green Window On A Weather-Worn Jadeite Jade
This Jade Gonna Make My Day
The More I See The More I Like
Turns Up That It Is A Lemon

Excellent green on the open window.  I paid 3 Grand of Ben Franklin greenbacks for them at the Hpakan jade mines in upper Burma.

Subsequently, I sold the rock for $250 to an American gems collector in New York City.  And he was deliriously happy about the trade for rough jadeite jade of this size is rare in America.

You may have missed other posts of interest. To read them, please click on the picture

Yours Maybe Serpentine Mineral

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Serpentine Rough Mineral

Hello Arthur,

How are you. My name is Omar and my brother owns a mine in Pakistan that we believe has a large deposit of jade, we are not sure though, but it seems to pass all the test, you see it passed the coolness test to the cheek and it makes a special sound when it is smashed with another jade, and when I scratch it there only seems to be a surface mark.

In my country we don’t know nothing about jade, but whatever this rock is we have a vast amount of it and can easily supply 10 tons a month. I don’t know your email address but would it be possible to contact me so that I can send you pictures of the different stones we have that I believe is jade. Thank you.

Omar, United Kingdom

Ask A Arthur Lau


Hi Omar

I have mentioned a few preliminary test for Jadeite Jade in my past previous posts in these links :

1) Jade Bangle Hear Me Out

2) Is this Jadeite Jade or plastic

3) The Mohs Hardness Test

Serpentine carvings

One has to be cautious when using these tests to ascertain whether a rough mineral is Jadeite Jade or some other mineral.  These are all quick and dirty test used when you are in the field with no gemological instruments other than your loupe, a quartz crystal or a tweezers.  These are negation and exclusion tests.  It eliminates other possibilities but you have to use other affirmative and key test to determine the actual mineral.

If a mineral does not pass through these tests, then it is definitely not Jadeite Jade.  But if it passes through these tests, one also cannot confirm that the raw mineral is Jadeite Jade.

By the pictures you sent me, I would think that they belong to the mineral group called Serpentine.  It has a hardness ranging from 2.5 to 6, a Refractive Index of 1.56 – 1.57 and a specific gravity of 2.57 (plus or minus 0.2).  Serpentine is also greasy like when polished.  Individual minute crystals of serpentine may be translucent but as a mass they are semi-translucent or opaque.

Other trade names of Serpentine are Bowenite, found in abundance in the USA and in Korea where they called in Korean Jade.  Serpentine is also found in abundance in the world.

Only a small portion of Serpentine are used as jewelry because of its abundance.  Most Serpentine are used for carvings in China.

Since you have some small slabs I suggest you send one of these to a school or a science lab to have it tested for specific gravity.  SG test is very simple and any high school students will be able to do it.  If you obtain an SG of around 2.56 then your mineral is Serpentine.

So far there are no deposits of Jadeite Jade found in Pakistan.  Perhaps in future deposits of Jadeite Jade may be found as Pakistan has a lot of minerals too.

I have posted most of the pictures you sent.  Any interested buyers can contact me and I will give them your email so that you can deal directly.

Thank you for your interest and good luck to you, Omar

A Arthur Lau

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