Jade Identification and Buying Guide In China

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When I think of jade jewelry, I envision a translucent to opaque green stone. True jade can be either of two different minerals, jadeite or nephrite. Both variations of jade are tough stones that don't break or chip easily. All jade typically has a medium to high polish.
We see so much green jade that it's easy to forget the gemstone occurs in other colors.

Jadeite is the more rare of the two jade variations, and the most expensive. Most of the world's supply of fine jadeite comes from Burma, but deposits are found in Guatemala and a few other areas around the world.Jadeite occurs in many colors, including greens, white, lavender, yellows and oranges, black and reds.Evenly colored, translucent emerald green jadeite is called Imperial Jade.Jadeite ranks at about 7 on the Mohs scale, compared to 10 for a diamond, but jade is a tough mineral that resists chipping and breaking.

Nephrite is more plentiful than jadeite, and that makes it less expensive. The Xinjiang Province in China produced the jade traditionally used by Chinese artisans until Burmese jadeite became available to them in the 1700's. Nephrite deposits have been discovered all around the world, even in the United States.

Nephrite jade is found in fewer colors than jadeite.Instead of a bright emerald green, nephrite greens are often grayish or mottled.Nephrite ranks at about 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Because it is softer than jadeite, finished pieces cannot be as highly polished.

Jade Jewelry Buying Advice
Jade Color and TransparencyLook for pieces of jade with uniform color throughout, although multicolor pieces can be in high demand Intense colors of jade are desirable and green is the most popular color of jade.

Semi-transparent to translucent jade is more valuable than opaque jade.
More Jade Tips

Avoid jade with many cracks or other visible flaws.Finely textured, highly polished jade cabochons or other uncarved pieces are considered the most desirable items for jewelry.Jade is often dyed, but dyeing is not considered a permanent treatment.Heat treatments are used to lighten or intensify the color of jade.Most jade is waxed.

Watch for Fake Jade
Color-intensified nephrite is sometimes marketed as jadeite.
Dishonest dealers alter and sell dyed quartz and other stones, labeling them jade, so as with other gemstones, buy from a dealer you trust.

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