Learn: About Jadeite

There is a Chinese saying “Gold is valuable, but Jade is priceless”. So what is the difference between jade and jadeite? Jade is a general term which consists of two different minerals: Jadeite and Nephrite. Jadeite is highly demanded and is exclusively sourced from Myanmar, formerly Burma, hence it is widely known as “Burmese Jade”. The latter, nephrite, is usually sourced from China. On Cheong only sells Type A Jadeites, hence we will only focus on jadeites.

If you are a first-time buyer of jade jewellery, look for Type A jadeite as they are natural jadeite. So what are the different types of classification for jadeite?

Jadeite Classification 
There are 4 simple classifications to categorise the type of Jadeite.

ClassificationDescription
Type ANatural jadeite without treatment except for surface waxing.
Type BChemically bleached & polymer impregnated jadeite.
Type CDyed jadeite.
Type B + CPolymer impregnated and dyed jadeite.


How Do You Choose Good Quality Jadeite?

The ultimate value of a particular piece of jadeite depends on various factors. The most important factor is colour, but translucency, clarity, cuts, texture and even its carvings can significantly affect the price. Unlike other gemstones, jadeite is usually sold by piece, and not by carat weight. Since almost every piece is different, it is difficult to establish a standardized pricing scale.

Colour
Jadeite comes in arrays of attractive colours such as green, lavender, colourless (icy), red, orange, yellow, black and white. The most desired and finest quality jadeite will be the ones with vibrant emerald green colour with top translucency- known as the “Imperial Green Jade”. Other varieties of green such as apple green (苹果青) and lao keng qing (老坑青are also widely well-liked by jade lovers.

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Translucency

The best jadeite is semi-transparent; opaque jadeite or material with cloudy patches typically is less desirable. It is interesting to note that even if the overall colour is uneven or low in saturation, the price tag might be on a higher value if it has good transparency.

Clarity

The finest jadeite of high value has little to none inclusions or defects that are visible to the naked eye. Internally grown minerals are common. That said, virtually all jadeite has feathers that are visible under magnification which serve as an identity mark for every Jadeite.

Cuts

Typically, the finest qualities are cut for use in jewellery are cabochons, although there are exceptions. With cabochons, the key factors in evaluating cut are the contour of the dome, the symmetry, and its thickness with well-balanced proportions and ratio.

Texture

Textures relate intimately to transparency. The finer the texture, the higher the transparency will be. Evenness of transparency depends on the consistency of the grain size.

Carving

The intricacy of the design and the skill with which it is executed are significant factors in determining the value of the piece. Carving is certainly one area where the whole equals more than the sum of the parts.

Each piece of jadeite is unique with a story of its own to tell, with their inclusions which serve as an identity just like our fingerprints. Most importantly, buying from a reputable jeweller you can truly rely upon is essential for making the right decision.