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Blue Cabbage Jade

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Pic1

Hi Arthur

I have a piece of blue cabbage jade from my parent, and I have been wondering what’s the age of the jade and whether do you consider this a piece of good grade jade? 

Anticipating our response. Thank you

Alex

 askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hi Alex

Congratulations to you Alex!

 You have in possession of your hand a jadeite jade piece which was formed, perhaps, more than 550 million years ago. (Citing some geological papers which I have read) That is, you are the proud owner of a piece of antique from Mother Nature.

 Anyway, for jade lovers and collectors, we are not concerned about the age of the jade as jade or gemstones are formed millions of years ago. However, provenance becomes important when a jade piece was once in the possession of some legendary Empress of the Imperial court of China or some rich and famous female icons of later times.

Jade pieces of Empress Cixi
Jade pieces of Empress Cixi

 Jadeite Jade pieces once owned by Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty of Imperial China are very rare treasures much coveted by collectors. Firstly, these jade pieces are of magnificent quality with very fine grain and texture, vivid and intense in color hue, saturation and tone and are of superb transparency. Secondly, these pieces are valued for its historical importance.

 

Mdavani Necklace, now know as Double Fortune Necklace
Mdavani Necklace, now know as Double Fortune Necklace

Another great jadeite jade piece is the Mdivani Necklace of 27 pieces of graduated highly saturated green beads once owned by Barbara Hutton and has been auctioned by Sotheby on a few occasions, each time a higher and unprecedented auctioned sale price was achieved on the block.    

 Your piece of bluish cabbage jade is definitely of jadeite jade material. Quality wise, this piece is of medium grade. However, the greatest value of this jade piece is that it belongs to your parents and now you inherit it. To the Chinese, an inheritance of jade from our parents is of extreme significance as it signifies that they are giving you a highly prized possession.

 Keep the jade piece, Alex. Hold it dear to your heart, love it, caress and fondle it as much as you can and good fortune will come your way throughout your life.

 Believe me, Alex, this is an excellent piece, as much as it is personal to you. And when you have become your age, hand it down to your son or daughter, never to leave the possession of your family as it should be perpetuated as a family heirloom. Even to a daughter, it is the jade piece with a tie that binds her back to her maternal family.

 Good luck, Alex

 pic2

Arthur

Photo credit : sothebys.com, pix of Empress Cixi extracted from an old magazine, apology as cannot remember the publication

Dye-Coated Jade Flower Buttons

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Jade Carving Button
Jade Carving Button
Jade Carving Button

Hello  Arthur,

Yesterday, I bought a pair of jade earrings online, and expect to receive them in the mail in a few days. The earrings are made from flower-shaped buttons.

Just now, I re-read your article entitled, “11 Dye Coating of Jadeite Jade”, in which you say, “the coating can easily be seen as very minute particles of green sticking onto the jade. You may be able to see it with a 10X loupe”.

One of the flower-shaped buttons in the seller’s photos appears to have its green pigment concentrated in tiny spots, most clearly visible between 11 o’clock and 12 o’clock on the ‘face’ of the flower. More spots can be seen just below the central hole of the flower.

I have emailed you the close-up photo in question. Arthur, do these spots exemplify the “minute articles of green sticking onto the jade … (visible) with a 10X loupe”, which you mentioned in your article on dye-coated jade?

Looking forward to your reply, and many thanks for your time!

Monty

askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hello Monty

My personal opinion on this jade flower button is that this is not dyed.

It is natural jadeite jade as the texture is quite clearly visible.

Normally for dyed button flower jadeite jade, light green color is the preferred color as that color is more appealing and refreshing.

The marks on the jade button are probably polishing marks. Pre-forming and cutting a jade button is quite an easy task. It is the polishing that really takes a lot of time. For this type of color it is most probably cut and polished by some back-yard cottage industry. The carving is quite crude and the ‘cutter’ would not spend too much time to do a fine polishing. I am sure you can observe a number of whitish spots on this jade button with a 10X loupe as a tell-tale sign that the surface is not well polished but an abraded surface is exposed.

This color is the common garden variety, we called it ‘dead green’ in the trade.

Anyway, I believe that you still possess a genuine Type A Jadeite Jade button.

And that is much better than a dyed jadeite jade.

Thank you Monty

Arthur

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

 

 

 

Dye Green Quartz Bangle

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first photo

Dear Arthur,

Thank you for the great opportunity that you have provided online to help many to understand more about jade and other stones.

Actually, I have a green bangle that has nice veins inside of it but when running my fingernail over the surface, I can feel cracks all over it. I decided to use a magnifying loop to see what was happening on the surface, and I could see thin cracks that form like cracked ice all over the surface. However, when running my hand over the bangle it feels very smooth.

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Can you help me understand what is causing the cracks? I enclosed an image with the others. It shows a similar effect to what I saw on the surface when I looked at it through the magnifying glass (10X).

Is it type A or B? Thank you in advance for your input!

Leah

askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hi Leah

Unfortunately, your bangle does not belong to the pyroxene group mineral content of Jadeite Jade.

Your bangle is a dye green quartz.

quartz crystal
Quartz crystal cluster. Source: wikipedia

Quartz is a silicate compound and it is found abundantly on the earth crust. Rock crystal is another name for it, when it is clear and semi translucent or almost transparent.

combine

Dye green quartz is quite common and it is often used as an imitation to substitute for other green precious gemstones, amongst which is dyed green bangle used to imitate jade bangle. The original quartz slab is quite clear and it is through a process called quench-crackling that green dye is forced in. The quartz slab is heated to quite a high temperature. (Quartz has a melting point of about 1670oCentigrade.) Then the slab is suddenly immersed in iced cold water. The expansion and sudden contraction of the molecules within the quartz will cause the stone to fracture from within.  Thus, when the slab is fractured dyes can be forced into the cracked capillaries. The cracks are very fine lines and the bangle is then re-polished so that it retains it smooth surface.

Cracks
Quench-crackled quartz showing fragments and fractures within

You can see it quite clearly using a 10X loupe, as you have done.

I hope that you did not pay a lot of money for this imitation.

Arthur

 

Valuation Of Jade Earrings

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dt

Dear Arthur

Firstly, I would like to commend you on writing such an informative
and entertaining blog. I have learnt a lot about gemology, in particular Jadeite, through your blog.

I would like your advice on a pair of Jadeite earrings. Here are my
questions:

1) From what I have learnt from your responses to other enquirers, the most conclusive way to identify Type A from Type B is through a lab test. In my situation, this can be tricky because the stones are mounted. Would it be worthwhile to dismount the stones, have them
tested, and subsequently mount them again? I’m aware there are cost
considerations and other risks involved.

2) In your responses to others, I understand you don’t do valuations as you need to legally protect yourself. Moreover, it can be difficult to assess a piece of jewelry without seeing it physically. Other than gemologists, which other parties can I consult to have it appraised (verbal)? Pawn brokers? Jade specialist shops (example: Chinatown area)?

3) Please give me your fullest comments on this piece, based on what
you observe from the pictures. I have done quite a bit of research on
it, using your materials and other sources. I hope to be able to learn
more by comparing your observations against my own findings.

I have attached the pictures for the above enquiry.  

To allow you to do a more complete assessment through pictures, I have taken the pictures of the piece under various lighting conditions.

 The conditions are: 1) Normal Daylight (at 10am) and 2) Under spotlight

Regards,
Dave

 askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hello Dave

The pictures you sent are quite blurred. However, the color turnout is quite ‘natural’ as you have taken them under daylight and under a spotlight.

Viewing jade or any gemstones under daylight condition is the best as it will give you a really good picture on the ‘true’ color of the specimen.

The best daylight will be between 10am to about 3pm, in regions around the equatorial where the sun is almost overhead at noon. In temperate countries daylight conditions differ.

under spotlightFor dealers, we normally buy jade or gemstones during this period of the day when we are in countries like Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia or Thailand. When you are in an exhibition area then the lighting conditions are mostly of chandeliers or flourescent, however, you can still use Diamondlite where it stimulates daylight lighting or almost come near to it.

Yellow is a complimentary color to green. So if you view a jade piece under a chandelier light it will invariably gives you a much better color perception. In such circumstances what we do is to take out the jade piece outside to view it under daylight condition, if the seller allows you to do so.

The only conclusive manner to determine whether a jadeite jade is Type A or Type B is to scan it through using an FTIR equipment. When a high energy Infra-Red beam passes through a jade piece it will pick up hydrocarbons and this is shown as a spike on certain wave-length on a chart if it is a Type B jade. Type A jadeite jade has no hydrocarbons and hence the curve is smooth at a certain particular wave-length.

Modern FTIR equipment has an adaptor called a Reflectance Mirror where the Infra-Red beam bounces off the jade to a receptor where signals are analyzed. Hence, if you take your earrings to a gem lab, you do not have to dismount the jade piece. The test can be conducted with mounted jade. Testing a jade piece may cost you around HK$450 to HK$600 or can be higher. Charges may vary as the gem lab may charge a higher testing fees if you declare the value of your jade piece to be more than a Million Hong Kong dollar.

Valuation on a jade piece is perhaps very difficult and it is at most uncertain. No jade pieces are the same, hence, comparative or known transaction-done prices are almost non existence, unlike diamonds where they can be graded consistently. A gemologist may be good at testing and identification of jade and gemstones but a professional gemologist will not give you a price valuation. If a gemologist does that then it is more of a guessing game or perhaps the gemologist has a hidden agenda.

I am not sure of the back of your earrings. Are they closed-back, meaning, the back is sealed off with gold. In this instance it is much more difficult to assess as invariably the jade piece will look much better with light being reflected off the polished gold.

I will write a post on foil-back jewelry later. A foil-back jewelry is an item where the back is closed-back and a thin foil of silver or gold paper is inserted inside to enhance the color of the stone.

In the jade trade, the done price of the merchandise is often determined by the buyer and seller.  If you acquire a jade piece for say $x today, you may be able to sell it tomorrow for $3x amount, making 300% profit, if you are lucky to find a buyer who sells cheap and a seller who buys expensive. This is quite common in the jade trade. Most of the time the buyer will refuse to say how much he has paid for it or the seller will refuse to say how much he has sold the merchandise.

If you want an appraisal on a jade piece, you may have already has an objective in mind before hand.

If it is for insurance purpose then the acquisition cost may come in, as insurance premiums charged is determined partially on replacement cost. Most jade establishments purchase insurance on their jade stock based on their acquisition cost.

Or perhaps you may like to know whether your friendly jeweler has over-charged you for a piece of jade you purchased. In another scenario, you may like to know the value of a jade piece handled to you by your grandmother, or whether the jade piece your girl friend bought for you is a valuable one or just the common garden variety as you are not in the jade trade.

Hence, doing a valuation on jade is at most an academic exercise or an exercise in futility.

Don’t ask a valuation of a jade piece or a jewelry piece from a pawn-broker. Most pawn-brokers may not know the intrinsic value of a jade piece or even a diamond if it is mounted. A number of pawn-brokers will value a jewelry based on the weight of the gold discounted against the current gold price, marked a percentage of gold loss and a percentage of profit, while they discount completely the value of gemstones as they are not sure of how much they will get on disposal if the customer does not come back to re-claim the pawned item. You will be depressed by the valuation given.

Also, don’t ask a valuation of a jade piece from a jade specialist shop, since you did not buy from them. They will probably run down the value of your jade to a common marble stone, if ever they give you a valuation. They are in business and it is of no beneficial value to them to tell you that you have acquired such a fine piece.

Years ago, I bought a jade cabochon from a known dealer whom I have dealt with for some time. Say, I bought it for $1,000. Then another seller came along and I casually asked him for his opinion on the jade cab. He told me that this cab was a lousy stone as I expected him to say and he gave a valuation of $50. I just withdrew my stone back to my pouch. 

He showed me his merchandises. I picked up a cab of almost similar quality and asked for the price. He said $5,000. Then I took out the one I bought previously and placed it alongside his. Sure, no business was done. I would not call him a cheat nor a con-man. Business is business and every jade dealer would like to maximize profit.

By the color of your jade earrings I will say that these are quite good pieces, apple-green in color and according to the photos there are no flaws.

So keep this pair of earrings. Testing them in USA may be costly but if you are in Hong Kong have them tested and identified. The gem labs there are professionals and have no hidden agenda since you are a walk-in customer.

Warm regards

Arthur

 

 

 

Assessing A Carved Bangle

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1 jade bangle

Dear Arthur

I have just sent a message via your website. Found your articles really helpful and would be grateful for help in assessing the jade pieces I acquired.

CY

askaarthurlaunewbanner

Hi CY

From the pictures you sent, I think there are 2 bangles taken under varying lighting conditions.

Carving bangles are quite popular with the Chinese. Most of them are carved with motifs of flowers, fern leaves, Pixu (auspicious mystical animal), Ling-Zhi, gourds or other auspicious signs.

It is difficult to assess a jade piece just by seeing a picture. Assessing a jade piece can mean whether a jade piece is of the Type A or Type B Jadeite Jade and assessing can also mean giving an estimated valuation to it.  

3 jade bangleA valuation on a jade piece based on a picture is impossible. Moreover, there is no standard pricing for jade as each piece is as unique as a snow flake, that is, no two jade pieces are the same, even though it may be cut from the same boulder. There will be bound to have some variations, though if cabochons are cut from a sizeable jade boulder there are almost similar. Price is often what the buyer perceives as the best buy.

It has been the standard practice for hundreds of years that when negotiating for a rough boulder some secret language of the fingers covered in a cloth is being used by buyer or seller. The seller does not want to let others know how much he sold the jade boulder while the buyer does not like others to find out how much he paid for it. This practice is still used today in some parts of Hong Kong and China.

2 jade bangle

Even for jade carvings and loose stones, price can differ vastly. I have seen some jade bangles sold for as little as RMB100 ( US$1 ~ RMB6.23) a piece in small road side stores under a bridge while bangles of almost the same quality are sold for as much as RMB1,000 in a shopping mall.

So when you purchase a jade piece, you just have to make your own call on whether you are willing to pay the price the seller is asking.

Based on the pictures, in my opinion there are of the Type A Jadeite Jade.

Type B Jadeite Jade is more translucent and ‘cleaner’ as dark spots and inner impurities will be bleached and bleed out from the jade piece. Note that the ‘Hearing Test’ for carving jade bangles do not work well. If you are really keen to determine whether there are of the Type A or Type B you may have to send them to a gem lab for testing and identification.

For carving jade bangles, do not expect them to be of high quality jade. Mostly there are of medium or low grade jade. Generally, most of the carved bangles invariably have flaws inside which the jade cutter will use his skill to ‘bypass’ it by making depression or by cutting it away to make way for a motif at the part where there are no visible fissures. However, that should not deter you from buying some carved bangles if a particular piece strikes you. I have seen some excellent carving bangles and their cost are really astronomical.

High quality jade bangles are normally of the traditional round type (or flat on the inner surface) with smooth surface to bring out the color and the translucency from within. Carved bangles show the vividness of color on certain parts as when they stand in stark relief against the duller and insipid part of the bangle but the good translucency of the jade piece is almost lacking.

To a jade cutter, the most profitable piece of jewelry that can be first extracted from a rough boulder is to cut as many jade bangles as possible. Jade bangles sell well and can be sold for good price if a jade cutter can avoid the cracks and visible vein-like fissures commonly found on a boulder. The inner core that is cut out from a circular rough jade bangle will be used to fashion cabochons or carving pendants.

Thank you, CY, for your interest.

Arthur

 

 

 

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