Monday, October 1, 2012

Determining the Authenticity of Jade (Part 4)

Nephrite under microscope
Copyright unknown.
Photo credit: Slam6921
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Some East Asian jade dealers have started acid washing lower quality stones to remove inclusions, which in low-quality jade diminish its color and hardness. After removing these inclusions, they inject a plastic polymer resin to fill in the gaps. The end product appears to be A-grade jade in color, but it is nothing of the sort.

Even the highest quality jade will have microscopic inclusions. If you’re looking under a microscope and see no evidence of other elements within the crystal structure, your alarm bells should sound off.

If you’re in the market for A-grade jadeite jade, you must be prepared to pay a high price. Even top-quality nephrite is pricey. Be suspicious of smashing deals. In all likelihood, they are not dealing in gemstone-quality jade. Unless you are beginning a collection or have saved up enough to make a one-time investment in a premier piece of jade jewelry, B-jade may be sufficient for your purposes.

Especially when making a purchase for therapeutic use, even lower-quality jade, as long as it is truly jadeite or nephrite, will have all the properties necessary to effect your body systems. You can confidently spend far less on your piece, as long as you ensure that you are buying true jade.

There are many non-jade stones that are called jade. With names like Australian jade, Siberian jade, and pink jade, and countless others, it would be easy for an amateur to be duped into buying, at best serpentine (Australian jade) and at worst dyed quartz (some forms of pink jade) or glass (Siberian jade). Always verify that what you are buying is true nephrite (called Chinese jade, Oriental jade, Polar jade, pounamu, spinach jade, etc.) or true jadeite (Imperial Jade, Apple jade, Kingfisher jade, Chicken bone, moss-in-the-snow, etc.).

Asking a dealer where the jade was found can be a way to ferret out fake jade. True nephrite jade is primarily found in Khotan in China, the Cowell Province in New Zealand, Australia, British Columbia, and Siberia. True top-quality commercial jadeite, even if purchased from Asian dealers, comes primarily from the Burmese mines of the Tawmaw plateau in Myanmar. Blueish-green jadeite is now sourced from the Motaqua Valley in Guatemala. While this blue jade may not be commercially sold as of yet, it may enter the market in the near future. If your dealer doesn’t know where his jade came from, then exercise great caution and consider requiring authentication before purchase.

Return to Part 1.

1. "Case Study: Jade and its Historic and Modern Meanings for Trade." The Trade and Environment Database. Accessed September 19, 2012.
2. Dietrich, R.V. "Jade (jadeite)." Stoneplus. Last updated April 16, 2012.
3. Dietrich, R.V. "Jade (nephrite)." Stoneplus. Last updated January 20, 2012.
4. "Jade." International Colored Gemstone Association. Accessed September 26, 2012.
5. "Jade Gemstone." Sunny Ray website. Accessed September 26, 2012.
6. Keverne, Roger, editor. Jade. New York: Lorenz Books, 1995.
7. Leaming, Stan and Hudson, Rick. Jade Fever: Hunting the Stone of Heaven. Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.: Surrey, BC, 2005.
8. "Nephrite." Optical Mineralogy. Last updated May 15, 2009.
9. "Power of Stones, The: Jade." Angelfire. Accessed September 26, 2012.
10. Sun, Tay Thye. "The Changing Face of Jade." SSEF Alumni Newsletter, No. 3, January 2006.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


  1. I so agree that it has to be buyer beware when it comes to jade!

    1. Hi Pearl! Thanks for stopping by. I can't even imagine making jade my business of trade!