How to Identify Jade Quality?

Experts believe that, although more expensive, diamonds and gold cannot be compared with jade - jade is animated with a soul.

To obtain a real and choice jade article, you should take pains to learn and appreciate it. The criteria lie in the brightness of color and luster, compactness of inner structure, and the delicacy of the craftwork.

For example, nephrite creates an oily luster and jadeite creates a vitreous luster. Tiny cracks can lower the value of jade; on real jade, air bubbles cannot be seen; the more lenitive the higher quality of jade, and so on.

In general, the value of jade is determined by five standards:

  • Color

  • Tone

  • Translucency

  • Texture

  • Cutting
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Likings for particular colors vary very considerably from region to region and culture to culture. In green jade alone, the connoisseurs differentiate between seven main qualities, from the intense, even green of imperial jade, via apple green and spinach green, all the way to the lighter and to more heavily speckled shades of green.

These special nuances often overlap and can hardly be recognized by the untrained eye. In the USA and Europe, emerald green, spinach green and apple green are regarded as particularly valuable. For example, the following green Burmese Jades are examined according to the varying degrees of its color intensity:

jade color

From the left, the most saturated to the less in the right

In the Far East, on the other hand, pure white or a fine yellow with a delicate pink undertone is highly esteemed. In the world of jewellery, the fine violet nuances of lavender jade are very popular. It is however the rare, emerald green of imperial jade, which shines through at the edges, a color of incredible depth, which fetches the highest prices.

Tone describes the specific quality of a color grade. The Finest colors are "penetrating" and vivid from a distance. They should be pure, evenly distributed and free of brown or gray tones.

jade tone

Vivid color against dull color of Jade

Translucency ranges from near transparent to opaque. The Highest quality has a body appearance that resembles honey. In the following picture, jade ranges from opaque to transparent, with the latter being the rarest and therefore most sought after.

jade transparence

From opaque to transparent Jade

Textures ranges from fine to coarse. The highest quality is clear and free of irregularities.

Jade is usually worked into two categories: plain polished shapes such as cabochon and carved designs.

Plain polished shapes require higher grade material without flaws. Ratings are made on their proportion and symmetry. For example, a well-cut cabochon should be neither too thick nor too thin in relation to the area of its top surface. It's "bulge" should be centered, prominent but not exaggerated.

Carved designs are often used to eliminate or minimize the effect of flaws and cracks. They are assessed on their aesthetics and the workmanship of the details.

All in all, most desirable jade is:
  • Intense and even color

  • Honey-like transparency

  • Watery luster

  • Smooth finish

  • Even texture

  • Pure

  • Vivid root-like structure

  • Learn more About Jade:

    History of Jade
    How Jade Differs
    How to Make Jade Jewelry
    How to Identify Jade Quality
    How to Care For Jade Jewelry

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