One of my most favorite pieces of jewelry is my White Lavender Jade bracelet which I bought when I was in Beijing in 2007, however, the most common color for Jade is green. I bought this doing my tour of a Jade factory as part of all the great history of China I was about to learn and explore. I paid a good price for my bracelet and learned “how to tell if this jade bracelet was real or fake” and wanted to share my knowledge.
Only Jadeite jade, Nephrite jade are considered authentic jade although the most expensive and desirable jadeite (Burmese Jadeite, Burma Jade, Imperial Jade, or Chinese Jade) usually comes from Myanmar (formerly Burma), but small quantities are mined in Guatemala, Mexico and Russia. Jade can come from many places an proud to say that 75% of the world’s jade come from the mines of British Columbia, my back yard so to speak, in the form of nephrite, but that’s also mined in Taiwan, the United States and (in small amounts) Australia.
When possible, examine the internal structure with a 10X loupe, the perfect little gemological tool. What can you see? Little fibrous or granular, felt-like, asbestos-like intertwining? If so, it’s probably genuine nephrite or jadeite. Chrysoprase, on the other hand, is microcrystalline and sometimes gets mistaken for jade, so it’ll look homogeneous. If you see anything resembling layers with the 10X loupe, you’re probably looking at jadeite that’s been “doubled” or even “tripled” (thin layer of gem-quality jadeite sometimes glued over a different base). It is very difficult to tell with an untrained eye.
Jade is divided into three categories based on the list below:
- Type A – Natural, untreated, undergoes a traditional process like (plum juice washing, polishing with beeswax), no “artificial treatments” (e.g. high temperature or high-pressure treatments). This has a “true” color of Jade.
- Type B – Chemically bleached to remove impurities; injected with polymer with the use of a centrifuge to enhance translucency; covered with hard and clear plastic like coating. Subject to instability, discoloration over time because polymer eventually gets broken down by heat or household detergents; yet nevertheless, still 100% real jade with 100% natural color, but treated to enhance.
- Type C – Chemically bleached; dyed to enhance color; it is subject to discoloration over time due to reaction with strong light, body heat or household detergent.
If you don’t have a 10X loupe (gemological tool), toss the stone in the air and catch it in your palm. Real jade has a very high density, which means it will feel somewhat heavier than it looks. If it feels heavier than most stone pieces of the same size and passes the eye test, it is more likely to be an authentic jade. This is obviously an imprecise but effective test to perform, and once commonly used by traders and purchasers of gems.
Tap the stones together. Another traditional way to judge the density of stones without measuring is to observe the sound of plastic beads gently tapping each other. If you have a piece of real jade, clink it against the stone in question. If it sounds like plastic beads, then the stone in question is probably fake. If there’s a deeper, more resonant sound to the clicking, it might be authentic. When in the Beijing jade factory, they did the sound test to make sure we could distinguish the difference between glass and real jade.
Jade should feel cold, smooth and somewhat soap-like when held in your hand. It should take a while to get warm if it is real. This is most helpful when you can compare it to a real jade of a similar shape and size.
Jadeite is super hard, It has a Mohs hardness of about 6.5 to 7.0 depending on the composition. The mineral is dense, with a specific gravity of about 3.4.; it will scratch glass or even metal. Nephrite, however, can be much softer, so performing a scratch test improperly may damage a genuine piece, this is the test which I don’t like to perform for obvious reasons. If it scratches to glass or steel, it could still be many of the alternatives to jade as well, including the various forms of green quartz and prehnite. Use the blunt end of a pair of scissors and gently press down and draw a line on an area on the jade piece. Do this on the bottom or a side which isn’t the front to avoid vandalizing the carving. If there is still a line and the scratch remains, it is most likely to be fake.
Be aware of what constitutes imitation jade.
- Some of these materials passed off as jade include: Serpentine (“New Jade” or “Olive Jade”)
- Prehnite (much lighter in color and cloudy as well)
- Aventurine quartz (could definitely pass as Jade but it sure isn’t)
- Grossular garnet (“Transvaal Jade”)
- Chrysoprase (“Australian jade” – most of it comes from Queensland, Australia)
- Malaysia Jade (permanently dyed translucent quartz that may be called by its color – Red Jade, Yellow Jade, Blue Jade)
- Opaque dolomite marble (“Mountain Jade” – from Asia, dyed in vibrant colors- not authentic)
In New Zealand Greenstone or Pounamu is highly regarded by Māori people who recognize four main types of pounamu, identifying by color and translucence: kawakawa, kahurangi, īnanga. These are all nephrite. They also regard the fourth type of pounamu – tangiwai– from Milford Sound which, although prized, is actually bowenite and authentic jade in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Jade is a special stone that is believed to promote wisdom, balance, and peace. It has spiritual attributes, which are extremely distinct. This prehistoric sign of calm and peace is a unique, strong piece of tool that encourages our consciousness to increase at a higher level. However, jade gemstones perform such function in a restrained and humble way. The extraordinary broad effectiveness, this gemstone is frequently categorized together with the diamond. It relieves anxiety and lightens emotions developed from fear. This stone is one of the many gemstones, which never allow any negative energy or negative influences to affect the individual wearing it nor allow the entry of any external negative vibration. It simply protects people from getting disturbed by negative influences as it continues to emit cleansing and calming aura. Jade can also establish a closer connection between the different stages of the intellectual part of the body. Hence, it improves the mental capacity of a person. The ancient people from the East have known all the healing properties of Jade for hundreds of years.
Jade and the Astrological Signs
There are two minerals, which are equally interpenetrating within Jade’s immense gemstone formation; nephrite and jadeite. The best varieties of jadeite are nearly clear, but they are infrequently completely transparent. The greatest jade varieties are packed with concealed beauty and power.
Brown and yellow jade gemstones are great for Aries and Leo. If you have a brown jade, you can use it to help you in adjusting to any new surroundings. For instance, you have been assigned to a new workplace; brown jade will assist you in adapting to a new environment.
Jade with deep green colors is very special for Pisces, Gemini, Scorpio, and Aquarius.
Lilac and pinkish tones are intended for Sagittarius, Libra, and Taurus.
Light shades of white and cream jade stones are best for Capricorn, Cancer, and Virgo. ( So interesting as I am Cancer and without knowing this, I bought a White lavender jade bangle as mentioned above) To achieve self-control, wearing jewelry with lavender jade can help. It will enable you to connect to and stabilize your soft, emotional side. Hence, this is perfect for people who have been disappointed or hurt by love…..YUP … it was trying to tell me something!
Gray and black shaded jade gemstones are created for the wise ones. These stones encourage the proper use of power.
When purchasing jade, quality is determined by the degree of translucency, cleanness of color along with the purity of color.