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Is this Jadeite Jade Or Plastic?


Rubbing A Jade Piece

There are a lot of imitation jade in the market.  They look like the real jade mineral but are actually synthetically manufactured.  Some are composite material and have the same Refractive Index as Jadeite Jade (RI 1.66, Read here) as powdered mineral of JJ are added on in the production.

Jadeite Jade is cool to the touch while plastic warms up easily.  If you have a piece of green ‘jade’ and am not sure of whether it is a stone or a plastic, rub it in between your thumb and forefinger.  Believe me, not many people do that.  Rubbing a small jade piece to determine whether it is jade mineral is really unorthodox but this is what we called the negation test.  You have to use all your 5 senses when it comes to identification, plus your instinct as well, when you have paid some money to learn the ropes and you have bought some duds.

Certain tests only aid in the identification and is not affirmative.  That is, you cannot be positive in the identification that your specimen is a Jadeite Jade, but you can rule out totally that the specimen is ‘positively’ not Jadeite Jade. Contrast this with my earlier post on “Gimmick Test Is Not Conclusive” (Read here)

This type of instinctive testing is valuable in the field when you are a buyer, armed with only a loupe and every seller tells you that they sell the natural stone. (Read here)

Jadeite Jade is a crystalline mineral.  It conducts heat away faster than plastic material.     If it warms up easily then chances are it is likely to be some other material than Jadeite Jade.

Jade On Cheek

If you have a small cabochon place it in your cheek for this area is more heat sensitive than your thumb and forefinger.  If it still feels cool after a while the piece is probably not plastic.  Caution: do not jump to conclusion that this is jadeite jade.  Remember this is only a negation test.

Other things to consider are the size and the thickness of the specimen.  As you go along you will be wiser when you are armed with some basics and fundamentals. (Read here for Fundamentals).

The above negation test also works for other gemstones as well to separate between natural minerals and plastics.

Good luck.

Should I Buy These Old Jade Antiques?


Hello Arthur

I hope you can give me some advice on old antique jade.  I am thinking seriously of buying some for my own collection but I am not too sure whether they are genuine or fake stuff.

Last month an old friend introduced me to a Chinese antique jade dealer.  We went to his house where he stored all his old jade.  The dealer really has a very big collection of old vase, antique jade cravings, terra cotta soldiers, old copper ritual bells used by the Imperial Palace, paintings, copper furniture and a whole lot of Chinese antiques.  I was really impressed as I have not seen such a collection in a house before.

The Chinese dealer told me that these were all the collections from his grandfather when he was based in Nanking, where he served under General Chiang Kai Shek. The  General was driven to Taiwan by the communist and when he left mainland China he took with him a lot of Chinese antique collection.  His grandfather had the foresight to keep some for himself and shipped them out from Taiwan in the early 70s to East Malaysia.

Now the Chinese dealer wanted to sell some of his wares.  Some of his asking price was very high, but I think I can bargain it down if these are genuine articles.

I have sent some pictures for you to see.

I am a strong follower of your website as there are many things to learn.  I am sure you will be able to give me your valuable advice with your vast experience in jade.

I hope to hear from you soon.  Thank you

Albert Tee.

Hello Albert

I am not an expert in the collection of ‘Old Jade’, meaning those Neolithic Jade dating back 3,000 to 5,000 years.  I am also not familiar with the antique market of China, where wares were made of copper, brass or iron, stones, wood, tree roots, lacquer, porcelain and other material.  But in my line of business, I would invariably be exposed to all these wares.

Loosely defined, an antique article is more than 100 years from the count of current year.  Jewelry, wares, carvings or any other ornamental works which are less than 100 years are termed as estate.  Vintage is a much loved term by sellers, but it is a descriptive adjective which has no real significant meaning other than to portray the article for sale as something ‘antique’ and to romanticize the folklore behind the seller’s products.  All these are loosely used terms by sellers and dealers and when you are buying such articles do not let these terms confused you.

It would be difficult to judge whether all the wares in your pictures are what the seller represented.  Even if you show the actual article to me I would not be able to tell you whether there are genuine antique articles.

So I will share my experience with you on your question and you have to judge the situation for yourself.

I enclosed a few pictures which I have taken in a city in China.  The whole street was full of antique articles for sale.  Each shop lot was just a small one and the wares were stacked closely to each other.  There were also a large number of vendors who placed their wares on top of a large tarpaulin sheet on the pavement.  They were just simply strewn on the floor.  Some of these stores were not even attended to by anybody.  No price tags were adhered to any articles and if you were interested you just asked.

Now would you say that these articles are genuine antiques?

I am not saying that the wares you shown me are fakes.  Some maybe genuine articles while most can be acquired easily from back street stores in China.

So Albert, think about it.

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

Is This Type B Jade Carving?


I need your professional advice on this piece. Is this Class B polymer jade?   It does not look as good as the picture. How do they make the picture looks so good?


Dear Janet

This item was listed on ebay and the winning bid was $180.00. I presumed you have bought it.  I took the liberty to clip the picture from the link you gave me.

This jade carving is in the form of a Ling Zhi and the shape of a Ruyi.  Ling Zhi is a traditional herbal plant that is purported to have aphrodisiac benefits as well as enhancing the health of a person.  Ruyi is in the shape of two tablets with a bridge linking the two parts.  In its simplest term Ruyi means “your wishes shall come true”.  This is an auspicious symbol as it purportedly bring good luck and fortune to the recipient of such a carving.   It was normally conferred to a Mandarin by the Imperial Emperor.

It would be difficult to assess whether the jade carving is the Type A Jadeite Jade or Type B Polymer impregnated jade.  It has to be tested with an FTIR equipment.

Big carvings are seldom impregnated with polymer as the process is quite complicated and it is not worth the effort.  However, most big jade carvings are coated with wax to give it a glossy look.

As far as I know, most sellers who are selling items on ebay, seldom enhanced their pictures with software such as Photoshop.  Buyers are bound to return the item if the specifications do not match.  However, pictures taken with a suitable background can easily make the picture looks much better as in this case with a black background the contrast will make the jade looks much more glossier and sharper.

Hence, when buying on-line you have to be prepared that the picture is always better than the actual product.

Caveat Emptor – buyers beware!

A.Arthur Lau

My Broken Jade Bangle


One of my clients showed me this broken bangle.  It was broken into 3 pieces and she did not know what to do with it.

An examination of the bangle and an FTIR scan showed that the bangle is Type A Natural Jadeite Jade.  Notice that the small patches of green were ingrained quite deep into the interior of the bangle.  Normally for Type B Jadeite Jade, if the color of the Jadeite Jade bangle is artificially enhanced, that is, polymer being impregnated into the jade piece, the penetration of the color dye will only be about a few microns from the surface.

The 3 broken pieces can be re-cut and you can set a suite of jewelry as shown in the pictures, which I have done for a closed friend of mine. Re-cutting the jade pieces will not cost you too much as the task is quite simple.  The raw edges will be repolished to give it a good luster.

So if you have a broken bangle, you can re-make it into a suite of jade jewelry.

A Jade Necklace set with K20 Gold Chain

A Jade Ring Set On 20K Gold

A Pair of Jade Earrings Set On 20K Gold

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

Jade Pendant – Dull & Dead! 玉垂饰是如此的没有光泽


My Jade Pendant Is Dull & Dead! 我的玉垂饰是如此的没有光泽

Abstract: Why is my jade pendant looks so dull and dead after wearing it for several years, while at the beginning it was so much nicer and vibrant? Is it still effective to wear the jade pendant for its protective and therapeutic qualities?

摘要为什么我的玉垂饰在穿过了几年后看起来很沉闷和没有光泽,而开始时时候呢是如此的鲜艳又闪闪发光? 关于戴玉垂饰拥有的防护和治疗的性质它是否仍然有效?

Hi Arthur,

I know you have a great deal of experience with jade.
Please refer to the 2 photos attached here of my jade pendant. I’ve worn this jade pendant for several years with a white gold chain. It’s Grade A, natural jade. In the beginning, it looked so much nicer and more vibrant. But now it looks so dull and dead.

I bought it for its protective and therapeutic qualities. I’ve never dropped it so it’s not damaged or broken. I’m wondering if there’s any point in wearing it anymore because it now looks so dull and dead. Why has it become so dull and dead-looking? Is it still effective to wear this piece of jade? 

Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks. 

Sincerely, J.H.

, 亚瑟,


请参阅我在这里附上的2玉垂饰的照片. 我已经戴用这个玉垂饰好几年了, 它穿了一条白色的金链子。它是A级的天然玉石. 开始的时候它看起来比较鲜艳多了,更有活力。 但现在看起来却如此的沉闷和没有光泽。

买它是因为玉石拥有的防护和治疗的性质 . 它从来没有摔落过地上,所以没有任何的损坏或破损. 我现在正在想是否还有任何意义去戴用它,因为它现在看起来是如此的沉闷和没有光泽. 为什么它会变成这样呢 ? 继续穿戴它是否仍然有效呢 ?

Hi Ms J.H.

From the photos of your jade pendant, the lustre is still there. I am quite sure that this is the Type A natural jadeite jade pendant.

Your pendant is probably cut and polished manually many years ago. The grain on the surface of a freshly cut jade piece is very coarse. Under magnification of 60X it may look like a moon crater. Hence, a lot of manual polishing work using sand paper of various grit sizes, whetstones, aluminium oxide powder, lamb leather, or diamond powder must be used in order to polish it to a fine grain.

, J.H 女士

从您的玉垂饰照片看来,它光泽是仍然在. 我确信这是A级的天然翡翠饰。

您的玉垂饰很可能是在多年前被手工切割和磨光.新鲜切割玉石片表面的颗粒是非常粗糙. 60倍的放大倍率下,它看起来像一个月球火山口。因此,会使用各种砂粒粗尺寸的砂,砂,氧化粉,羊皮或金石粉末行手工磨光,以便将其磨光到精细为止

To save on labour, a jade cutter may just skip the finer polishing part. Instead he may use wax to coat the jade. Hence, after wearing it for a number of years the wax would be worn off leaving the jade piece dull and dead.

Currently, Jade pendants are polished by tumblers using abrasives of various grades. Hence, it can be polished to a very fine lustre.

为了节省劳动工,切割玉石时他们很有可能会跳过更精细的磨光过程, 而改用打蜡的方式. 因此,穿了好几年之后,蜡会磨,使玉石没有光泽.

目前,翡翠垂饰是用不同等级的磨料磨光的。 因此,它可以磨光到非常精细的光泽.

Jadeite jade is a very porous material. As the wax coating may have worn off, your body oil can easily permeate into the jade pendant as you continue to wear it. Or you can ‘polish’ your jade pendant by constantly rubbing it with your thumb and fore finger. The lustre may return later.

Alternatively, you can take it to a lapidary shop to have the jade pendant re-polished.



In my view, the protective and therapeutic qualities of the jade pendant are still effective because the primordial essence of the stone remains intact as long as its natural state of existence has not being altered in any way. Once a jade piece is being bleached or impregnated with polymer, it then becomes an ornamental piece of jewelry.

在我看来,这块玉石饰拥有的防护和治疗的性质是仍然有效的因为只要其天然的生存状态没有以收到任何改变,头的原始精华就会保持原样. 一旦玉器被漂白过或用聚合物浸渍过,它就只能成为装饰性的首饰

In the Chinese belief system, excessiveness of the ‘Yin’ (or negative energy) element is contributory to various illnesses or bad luck. Hence, wearing a jade piece will enhance the ‘Yang’ energy to the wearer, negating the effects of the negative energy.

You can read more about it here: Jade Fishing In Olden China

No worries, J.H. Your jade piece is Type A natural jadeite jade, wear the pendant.


在中国的信仰中,负能量)因素的过剩是造成各种疾病或运气不利的原因。 因此, 佩戴玉器会将的能量提升到佩戴者身上,抵消负能量的影响。


不用担心,J.H. 女士, 你的玉器肯定是一A级的天然翡翠,可以继续戴上


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


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