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Identifying And Buying Jade Jewelry

Oct 13, 2007
Jade is popular among many people all over the world most especially on the Chinese and other Asians. All of us envision jade jewelry as a green stone and many are not even aware that it can come in other color variations. Genuine jade can be either jadeite or nephrite. Both of these jade variations are hard and you can expect that they don't chip and break easily. Generally, jade has a medium to high polish.

Of the two variations of jade, jadeite is the more expensive and the rarer one. Burma is the world's major supplier of jadeite although deposits of such can also be found in Guatemala and in other parts around the world. There are also numerous color variations of jadeite from green, lavender, white, yellow, orange, red and black. Jadeite that is translucent and evenly colored in emerald green is called Imperial Jade. On the Mohs scale, the diamond is a ten with jade ranking at 7 for it is a very hard mineral.

More plentiful and abundant than jadeite is nephrite and so it is less expensive. Xinjiang China used to produce the jade traditionally utilized by Chinese artisans until the 1700s when jadeite from Burma became readily available. All over the world, there have been numerous discoveries of nephrite deposits even in the U.S. Nephrite has fewer color variations as compared to jadeite and instead of the usual bright emerald green, the nephrite is often grayish. Nephrite is softer than jadeite and ranks 6.5 on the Mohs scale. The nephrite's finish though cannot be as polished.

When buying jade jewelry, jade color and transparency are important considerations. Multi-colored jade jewelry can be high in demand but one should look for jade that has a uniform color throughout the stone. Jade's most popular color is green and jade that is semi-transparent to translucent is more valuable than the opaque ones.

Jade with cracks and visible flaws should be avoided. Some jades are actually dyed but this is not a permanent treatment. To intensify or lighten the jade's color, heat treatments are utilized. Most jades are waxed.

There are many, fake jade jewelries out there so you have to be careful. Nephrite whose color has been intensified are often marketed and passed off as jadeite. Some dealers dye quartz and other gem stones and sell them as jade. You should purchase jade from a reputable dealer that you trust.
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