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
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
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.
For 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.