Don't Be Jaded: 2 Tips on Evaluating Jade Quality
Real jade isn’t cheap, and some 'opportunists' aren't above passing off imitations as the real deal.
Don’t get ripped off. Don’t get jaded. Check your jade’s integrity in two quick steps:
1. Look (Color & Luster)
Jade comes in a variety of vibrant colors: green, lavender, black, orange, red, and white. Its shine or luster ranges from opaque to semi-transparent.
Opaque jade is less valuable than semi-transparent varieties.
To determine the authenticity and quality of a piece of jade, examine it directly under a source of light. If the jade's valuable, it will glisten like light reflected in clear water.
Though the stone should appear bright and glossy, it will likely contain color variations, several tones and hues of the same color. So if the gem is one solid color—or if its variations are patchy rather than uniform, then the piece is probably fake.
2. Feel (Texture & Temperature)
There are actually two different types of authentic jade: jadeite and nephrite. Both are dense minerals composed of tiny, interlocking crystals. These crystals are responsible for jade's desirable smooth texture.
To check if a piece of jade feels real, simply hold it in your hands.
Pay attention to its temperature as well; real jade is naturally cool to the touch. After noting its coolness, attempt to warm the stone up in your hands.
Then set it aside for several seconds before returning it to your hands. Genuine jade will take some time to heat up and quickly return to its cool temperature.
While these tests may hone your jeweler's eye, the only way to conclusively evaluate jade is through expensive procedures like X-ray crystallography, which specialists use to confirm molecular structures. So save yourself some hassle; stick to stores with reputable jewelers—jewelers who are willing to help you observe, understand, and experience the quality behind high-end gems for yourself.