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Your Old Jade Piece Is Valuable!


An Old Jade Pendant With Filigree Gold Setting

Hi Arthur

My mother gave me a jade pendant with gold setting on it.  The jade pendant was from my grandmother and I think it is at least 50 years old.

This is a bit old fashion for me.  I want to ask your opinion whether I can re-melt the gold and do some design on the jade itself.  At the back of the jade there is a very faint marking, something like 9K.

Thank you

Janice, Singapore

Hello Janice

It is better that you keep the pendant for several reasons:

The sentimental value is there.  Once you re-melt it you will not be able to re-cast it exactly as it is.

I would estimate that there are less than 3 gm of gold there.  If it is a 9K, then the amount of pure gold (or 99.99%) is less than 1.2gm.  The goldsmith will charge you at least 20% of gold loss.  So probably you will have 0.8gm of pure gold. You will probably get less than US$40.00 for it.

Nowadays to do this type of design it will cost you at least $250 for workmanship. This type of filigree work was quite common about 30 years ago.  Moreover, it is difficult to find those old timers goldsmith who can do this type of work.

I have many clients who brought me old jewelry for re-melting.  My advice to them is to retain it as the amount of gold they realized is very little.  After hearing from me, they begin to love their jade and their design, perhaps at first they were quite biased that their  old piece is not fashionable at all.

If you take it to a goldsmith for re-melting, chances are he will keep the pendant and pay you something for the gold.  And he can find a fitting jade pendant to mount it and the goldsmith has a lovely pendant to sell.

Now judging from the photo you sent me, your jade piece is green but it lacks translucency.  This type of carving also lacks details and the craftsmanship is indicative that this is an old piece.

Dirt might have accumulated along the edges where the gold is set.  So take it to a goldsmith and clean it.  They will use an ultrasonic machine to cleanse all the dirt out.

Believe me, after cleansing the jade you will love the piece.

A.Arthur Lau

Is This Jadeite Or Nephrite Jade? Any Interested Buyers?


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

Your Jade Bangle Is A Dud…



Polymer Impregnated Jadeite Jade Bangle

Email Question from Kenji of Tokyo:

I come to know your website and I told my friends’ mother.  She wrote in Japanese as below. She pay US$1,500.00 for the jade. She mention that the tourist guide said 100% genuine jade bangle. Please give opinion and a picture is inside the mail.

Shitsumon ga aru…Kyonen Beijing ni itta toki, nedan ga takai yatsu no tama ga katta no desu ga, nisemono ka honmono ha kakuninshitain ne !

English Translation:

I’ve have a question, I bought an expensive jade last year in Beijing, I want to check whether is fake or genuine, how?

Dear Kenji

Without viewing your jade bangle physically, I can say with certainty that it is a non genuine jade.  You have been had.

This type of jade bangle is impregnated with polymer to give it color and translucency.  In the trade we called it Type B jade, meaning that it has been enhanced upon and it is not a natural jadeite jade.

But it is still jadeite material. Jadeite jade is a very porous stone and can be impregnated with fine resin to make it look good and gorgeous.  Firstly low quality jadeite mineral is subjected to bleaching by strong acids as well as keeping it under tremendous pressure to open up the pores.  Then colored or colorless polymers are forced  inside the capillaries of the jade under pressure.

And, Presto! you have a beautiful jade bangle with vivid multiple colors and with excellent translucency.

I have purchased some of these bangles in my early years of buying jade.  You mentioned that you paid US$1,500 for it and if it is a genuine Type A jadeite jade bangle the price will be many multiples of it.  I am not saying that my conclusion is based on the price you paid.  It is based on the picture you sent me.  For a tri-color jade the price can be astronomical as the Chinese believe that this relates to the 3 deities of Prosperity, Longevity and Productivity.

Now try this simple test.

Put a thread over the bangle and knock it slightly with a spoon.  Put your ears close to it and listen to the pitch sound it emits.  If it is a genuine jade then the pitch and timbre is quite high and if it is the Type B jade the sound is just a thud.

The reason is quite simple.  Type A jadeite jade is not been impregnated with polymers.  Its capillary veins are still ‘free’ of impurities or foreign elements and when you knock it slightly the sound reverberates within giving it a high timbre pitch.

For Type B jadeite jade the capillary veins are filled with polymers and therefore the sound emitted will be a dull thud.

Note : Please note that terms and conditions apply as to the rendering of my opinion.


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