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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

Jadeite Jade Kosmochlor Omphacite

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I received an excellent email from a lady reader of mine from Japan.  She writes very well and it is very informative.  I reproduce her email unedited as below.  My reply will follow in the next post.

Dear Arthur,

Peace. Thank you for your kind response through Facebook.

I hope you will get the photo attached therein. The second photo is of the bangle which was cracked (the photo was taken before the crack materialized).

I do follow your writings on JadeiteJade.com, and they have been very informative, thank you very much.
I would also like to enquire about the subject of black/charcoal jadeite. I recently purchased a black jade bangle. The seller said the bangle is made from pre-formed jadeite, not technically jadeite per se, but that its feel and look are those of your run-of-the-mill jadeite jade.

The information I found on black jadeite normally categorizes it into two, the black/charcoal/grey jadeite (generally opaque and classed into the lower end of jadeite unless of high quality; known as Black Chicken variety – 烏雞種) and the Inky variety jadeite (the mineralogical nomenclature classed it as Omphacite; 墨翠), which is considered true jadeite (and which is not exactly black but a very dark green viewed under transmitted light). I am just wondering if the above information is generally true?

Fascinatingly, I frequent a site which sold both black jadeite jade and a kind of black Burmese stone which looks like jadeite but not considered to be so as the hardness is lower.

So, I am assuming that the bangle I bought might actually be this black Burmese stone, but is there really a way to know aside from doing a battery of tests?  Anyway, the seller was honest in describing his item as not being able to be tested as jadeite as the hardness is not within the range acceptable for jadeite.

What I am really interested to know is whether the type of Black Chicken/black jadeite currently sold on the market is true jadeite (most of the time), and can generally be categorized as such?

One info source I found basically states that the Black Chicken variety and Inky variety jadeite come from different roughs, and that the hardness for the Black Chicken variety is lower. One (a Chinese book) states that the opaque kind of black 翡翠 (Fei Cui) is actually not jadeite per se but some other thing altogether, and yet, it appears that those are classed under Fei Cui as well.

I read from your blog that the US considers only jadeite and nephrite as jade, but from a source from HK, it seems they consider `Fei Cui` to be three different types of material, Kosmochlor, Jadeite and Omphacite.

I would really appreciate your view on this, given the fact that so many different groups of minerals/stones are bandied about, and it just gets confusing for an amateur jade enthusiast such as myself (especially one without a gemology technical background).

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
CJY

A Tri-Color Bangle

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Jadeite Bangle 2a

Dear Arthur

Hi Arthur, I’m so thankful I came across your website. My husband and I run a jewelry business in Sydney Australia. I am also a gemologist but I don’t have the use of a proper lab at work as we are mainly focused on design and handcrafting custom made jewelry.

About 13 years ago my husband purchased a Jadeite bangle from a gentleman by the name of Mr Lau who was bringing to Australia some Burmese Jade. He was only a small business operator. Mr Lau told my husband that the bangle he was to purchase was an untreated rare Burmese Jadeite Bangle because it had all three colors – Lavender, light green and dark green. And only Burmese Jade had the high polish and translucency that this bangle obviously shows.

Please bear in mind that we really don’t buy and sell Jade ourselves because we don’t really know much about it. Other than a few loose stones we have made into jewelry, we haven’t really purchased anything like this. We have displayed it in our window over the years and there have been some interest in it, especially by a Chinese Tourist who wanted to know if it was treated. I didn’t have any evidence if it was treated, so I took it to the most reputable lab in Australia – The Gem Studies Laboratory – run by Bill Sechos and got an Authentication Report. I will email you the copy and the images of the bangle.

I wish to know what is your opinion on the bangle and what sort of value would you consider it to be. I thank you in advance for your help.
Kind regards
Ani

askaarthurlaunewbanner

Dear Ani

First of all I must congratulate you on your sincerity and honesty in not selling a jade piece when you are not sure of its content. Though the seller represented to you that the bangle you purchased was the Type A, natural Jadeite Jade and you have no means of verifying its authenticity, you preferred the honorable manner of testing it at a reputable laboratory.

A large number of jewelers are traders, re-sellers or retailers and they represented their products on display or on sale as what their buying source told them. Sadly, a large number of jade pieces on sale are the Type B, polymer impregnated jade. Most sellers may not have the intent to sell a ‘fake’ item but it is the expediency of business and the profit motivation that most sellers will not verify every jade piece they are selling as it involves time and expenses.

Hence, I am sure you and your husband run a thriving business as both of you are honest, fair and honorable jewelers and customers are naturally drawn to you.

Tri-color Jadeite Jade bangles are highly valuable. To the Chinese, the tri-color represented the auspicious trinity of the personified deities of Fu-Lu-Shou or Happiness, Prosperity and Longevity in that order. The desirable color attributes of hue, saturation and tone of the bangle must be vivid and in sharp contrast. But a combination of these attributes are so rare that it is seldom seen on the market as jade connoisseurs will probably lock it away when they are in possession of it.

Your bangle has the 3 color attributes but the light green and dark green are not so defined. Anyway, it is still a good piece as the polishing finish is done well.

Certififcate

The gem laboratory which you sent for testing has done a good job of going through all the necessary steps of verifying that this is the Type A natural jadeite jade. The gemologist also took the trouble of describing his observations as to why did he come to the conclusion that this is a natural jadeite jade bangle.

His observations are:

A round grey and faint lavender bangle of mottled green patches in three different areas.

A polycrystalline aggregate material with spot refractive index of 1.65 – 1.66 and no reaction to UV light. The material is translucent with signs of undercutting in the polishing process. Spectral absorption pattern of the green area shows three distinct steps and an absorption line in the violet is noted in the grey and lavender areas. No reaction is noted under the Hanneman-Hodgkinson stained jadeite filter. No evidence of colour enhancement detected.    

Conclusion: Natural Jadeite

My comments:

Jadeite Jade is a polycrystalline aggregate – these are observable under a polariscope.

Jadeite Jade has a refractive index of 1.66 – these are observable under a Refractometer. Because of the curvature of the bangle a gemologist has to use the ‘Spot Method’ to determine the RI of the specimen and an absolute value cannot be determined. Hence, his readings is 1.65 – 1.66, which indicates that this is Jadeite Jade material.

As seen from the picture the Jadeite Jade bangle is translucent. In a jade bangle there will always be some undercutting as the final polishing cannot be totally perfect. This is totally acceptable and it is only observable through the use of a 60x microscope or a 10x loupe if the undercutting is not polished away.

absorptionband
Courtesy GIA Gem Reference Guide

absorptionbandSpectral absorption pattern of the green area shows three distinct steps. This is the final proof that the Jadeite Jade bangle is natural, Type A. As seen from the spectral pattern below, a sequence of lines indicates a natural jadeite, while a broad band represented a dyed or polymer impregnated jade.

 An absorption line in the violet is noted in the grey and lavender areas. This is the key test for jadeite jade material. Under a spectrometer, Jadeite jade has a diagnostic line at 437nm and this is the confirmation test that the specimen is Jadeite Jade.

No reaction is noted under the Hanneman-Hodgkinson stained jadeite filter. This is the additional test for jade piece to detect color dyes. Under the stained jadeite filter, any dyed color jadeite jade piece will show a color change to reddish brown.

Final observation: No evidence of colour enhancement detected.

Hence, the final conclusion is Natural Jadeite.

Here, you will note that the testing procedures as carried out by the gemologist are exhaustive as he goes through all the key and diagnostic features of jadeite jade. His recording of his observations is also meticulous and professional. There are also no vague descriptions and neither did the gemologist made any assumptions.

All the tests that the gemologist carried out can also be tested in other gemological lab. That is to say, the tests are all empirical. Hence, his conclusion that this is a natural jadeite jade is affirmed.

The value of a jadeite jade is hard to ascertain.  Read my other posts for a valuation of a jade piece.

If you have bought the bangle many years ago, you can be sure that the value has gone up a few multiple times. Hence, when you make your sale you can get some good profit as you deserve it.

Thanks for your interest, Ani

Arthur

Jadeite Bangle 2c

 

 

 

Old Jade Bangles

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Jade Bangle

Hi Arthur

Again I’m sending you a photo of the two bangles that are not mine…but honestly I’d like to purchase one of them and would love to hear what you think a better choice. This green bangle is labeled jadeite from early 1900s (it does look like jadeite to me…). My concern is that it is probably not old or antique from 1900s, but was made to look old! The description said it had a minor hair line fracture in the 2nd image. I don’t know why there is a string?

Jade bangle

The second bangle, white with splashes of green, is said to be ’83’ jadeite jade (I don’t know this term 83 jadeite…!). This bangle is so far a little bit inconsistent to me.  The photos in the dark back ground (table) taken in natural light, but show a much better consistent translucence and luster. However, the one on the ruler was not quite as good, although it does not look too opaque like most white bangles I’ve seen and had.

The prices of the two are not much different. The green with red string is $275 and the other is priced at $325. My budget is between $200-$350, but I think I should ask you what you think about them, rather than make a decision based on the prices and gold content, new/used condition etc.

Best to you,

Viet Walin from Deep South

Hi Walin

So far, I have not found any written research on the age of formation of jadeite jade.  In my opinion, information on the internet on the age when jade was formed is just mere speculation and is not really backed by any empirical or any carbon-dating research.  It is estimated that they are formed during the late Cretaceous to the early Paleocene epoch and that would place it to be more than 65 million years ago.

Again, I have to make a caveat here as I am speculating.  Jadeite jade may have being formed from 20 million years onwards before it is dug out from in situ mines or recovered from alluvial deposits under river streams.  The longer the jadeite is formed the better will be the quality, in terms of translucency, color and texture.

Hence, if you have a jadeite jade, that piece may be at least 20 over million years old.

If you are buying a jade piece, the antiquity of the jade should be your least concern.  When sellers represent their jade products as being cut in the early millennium, it is also pure speculation, especially for a generic jade bangle that you have shown on your mail.  Nobody can prove it, neither can anybody disprove it.

However, there are a lot of antiquity jade as auctioned by major international auction houses.  If provenance is stated or that it was cut or carved during a certain Chinese dynasty era, then these jade pieces are backed by citations and perhaps certain markings would be evident on the carvings that indicates the estimated era that they were being cut.

The red embroidery strings on the said bangle is for ornamental purposes or it is intended to be worn as a gait on the waist, which is still popular especially in Taiwan to date.  This bangle is definitely jadeite jade, but it is the common garden variety type as it lacks translucency, color and the texture is poor.

For the jade bangle with the number 83, I honestly do not know what it means.  Generally, when a jade bangle has a gold cuff on it, they must be a hallmark which should state the contents of the gold as required by law in most countries under the fair business practice.  In this case, the number 83 may mean that it is of 20K gold content. This will depend on the honesty of the seller or the goldsmith who hallmarked the gold on whether the content is as stated.  On the other hand, this number may mean the year it was made as the previous owner may mark a year on it.

For that matter, a gold or silver cuff on a jade bangle is always indicative that the bangle has been broken.  No jade seller will ‘wrap’ up a jade with a cuff, even for special design purposes if the bangle is not broken.

It may not be ethically right for me to say whether the price that your seller quotes you is a fair price or not.  Hence, it is your own decision on whether you are willing to pay that price for these two bangles.

Thank you

A Arthur Lau

A Nephrite Jade Buddha Carving

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A Mutton Fat Nephrite Jade carving

Dear Arthur

We tried to contact you via your website but could not attach pictures, we were wondering if you could give us your professional opinion about this Buddha carving.

We believe it is jade of some type but are unsure as we have very few gemologists in our area. It is 14cm high 13cm wide and 9cm deep at the base. All we know is, it came from China.  It was hand carved and is over forty years old. Any information you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely

A. Chapman

Hi Chapman

The carving you have in hand is a portrayal of an Arahat, or loosely translated it is a Lohan, who has achieved the initial stage of enlightenment and has escaped the physical bonding of self to this materialistic earthly world. A Lohan is always known for his great wisdom, courage and supernatural power to fight evil.

A Buddha jade carving

I would think that your carving is a Nephrite Jade.  The whitish and slightly greasy surface is quite typical of nephrite from China, where they called it Mutton Fat jade.   On the order of rarity, Mutton Fat jade ranks almost the top quality in nephrite when a jade piece is of even whitish color.  A more common color of nephrite is green and grayish Caledon.

From this post, Jadeite Jade vs Nephrite you can see some of the different characteristics of the two varieties of jade.  The Moh’s scale of hardness on Nephrite is around 6.  If you use a small hexagonal quartz with a pointed tip to scratch the base of the jade, you may be able to make a clear indentation.

Thank you Chapman

A Arthur

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