Why Chinese Jade Is so Valuable?
Eastern cultures have cherished jade stones for thousands of years. Those cultures revered the stone for its rarity, durability, and beauty. Humans have worked with the material since ancient times to fashion the mineral into objects that the early cultures worshiped.
So what makes Chinese jade so valuable? Among all collections, jade from China is considered to be the most valuable. Read on to learn what makes this precious stone worth so much.
What Makes Chinese Jade So Expensive?
Anyone who has considered buying an ancient Chinese artifact made from jade has likely noticed that the base material determines a large part of the artifact's value. Chinese jade is expensive due to its rarity, beauty, and history.
China was the first culture to master the art of carving jade, and they had the highest standards for which stones to use. Several qualities of the stone add to its value, and one of the most important factors is jade's rarity.
Chinese Jade is Very Rare
Chinese jade is only found in metamorphic rocks. This means the mineral is very hard to find and mine.
Cultures around the world have used jade due to its jade stone clarity, but the rarity of Chinese jade artifacts reflects how rare the mineral is. Despite over 6,000 years of culture in China and elsewhere using the mineral for jewelry and other decorative items, historians and museums rarely find new artifacts.
It is this rarity that adds to the value of the mineral. Only certain countries can mine jade.
These countries include:
- New Zealand
- Southern Europe
Chinese jade is often called the "king of minerals" because of the effort it takes to mine, cut, and process the mineral into pieces of jade. In fact, Chinese jade is one of the most expensive materials in the world.
People prize Chinese jade for its color and even mystical powers. Many cultures believe the stone delivers good luck to its owner and healing powers.
Among the many traditions within crafting Chinese artifacts was the belief that certain artifacts could heal people. Traditional Chinese medicine users associate jade with healing the heart and lungs. Many people also believe jade can reduce inflammation and restore balance to the body.
Are you looking for a natural remedy for reducing stress, anxiety, and other ailments? Consider buying a piece of jade jewelry. The wisdom of ancient Chinese medicine is well-known and respected.
The Cost of Craftsmanship
Another cost factor involves craftsmanship. Chinese jade is rare, and not many craftsmen are familiar with the material.
The cost of crafting Chinese jade into jewelry is what drives up its price tag. First, miners must locate deposits of the stone. Only a few areas around the world mine the material.
After a craftsman discovers the material, he or she must handle it with caution. Any damage to the mineral could reduce its value. Of all the jade collected around the world, Chinese jade is considered the most valuable, so only skilled craftsmen handle the mineral.
All of these steps add to the value of jade because everyone involved in mining and crafting jade must be paid. You are paying for the time and attention of many individuals when you purchase a rare Chinese jade artwork or object.
The craftsmen are true artists, and the jade jewelry is their art. When you purchase a jade artifact, you are buying something that is one-of-a-kind.
Another important characteristic of jade is its texture. Chinese jade stone is incredibly smooth. This is one of the qualities that make owners want to touch and hold it.
Although jade is known for being smooth, it can actually be fine, medium, or coarse. The crystal size and hardness determine these factors. Experts in jade call these "old mine" and "new mine."
But the texture is only one quality that buyers of jade look for. There is also clarity and color.
The value of your Chinese jade jewelry or artifact will also be determined by its clarity. An expert will look at the mineral for signs of colored veins. He or she may also look for fractures.
Anything that diminishes the clarity of the jade could lower the price. Jade often has high levels of clarity. This is another reason why the mineral is so valued.
Many people associate the jade with the color green. Across cultures, green is associated with nature and feelings of calm and peace. People may be surprised to learn that jade comes in many other colors.
Jade can be found in red, orange, yellow, brown, white, and even black. Many of these varieties are incredibly beautiful. Still, most buyers of jade prefer traditional green.
The darker the color, the more valuable the jade is. Of all the colors, green is considered the most desirable.
If you are looking for a more affordable piece, don't let this factor keep you from enjoying the purchase of a jade piece. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many people love and prize their red, black, or yellow jade jewelry or artwork.
The final shape of the Chinese jade jewelry or artifact is important. Certain Chinese dynasties were known for having highly skilled artists. This is why experienced collectors of jade artifacts consider Chinese jade objects to be the most valuable.
The artistry goes beyond the initial design. The artist must polish and carve jade. This is a very time-consuming process. If you are planning to buy a jade product, the quality of the artist's work will determine how valuable the object is.
Other Factors that Determine the Value of Chinese Jade
Jade products go through a series of steps that include cutting and polishing. This is true of other gemstones. The idea is to deliver a pleasing final product for the customer.
In some cases, low-quality jade can be polished to make it appear of higher quality. The seller should disclose this practice. Some sellers may not disclose this, so be sure to ask for a full disclosure of the jade product you are planning to purchase so you are not tricked.
So-called enhancement treatments improve the color, stability, and transparency of the mineral. Heat treatments may be used to improve the color of the stone. These treatments are difficult to identify without professional help.
Enhancements rarely change the refractive index of the mineral. Jewelers rely on the RI to determine the value of a gemstone. One way you can prevent being misled is by working with a reputable seller of jade products.
Our founder, Dr. Gerald Weisbrod, began his collection of artifacts in the early 1960s. He purchased Chinese works of art. Then his son Michael joined the venture, making it a family venture.
Michael studied at the Royal Ontario Museum. He visited major galleries, museums, and auction houses while learning about Chinese art.
How to Tell If Chinese Jade Is Real
Chinese jade is incredibly valuable. For this reason, many people try to imitate it. Fortunately, there are reliable ways to detect if a seller used enhancements to alter the appearance of low-quality jade.
Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometry detects enhancements. Specialized lab equipment can do so as well.
Potential buyers should ask a gemological report from sellers or at least some type of official certificate that validates the Chinese jade being sold.
While several world markets have developed their own grading systems, the grade of your jade should also be considered.
Chinese jade imitators include:
- Chloromelanite (jade albite)
- Prehnite Vesuvianite
Sellers of these jade imitators may refer to the fake jade as Indian jade, Russian jade, or Australian jade. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for
unscrupulous sellers to try and pass off the serpentine, resin, or even quartz to unsuspecting buyers under these names.
A trained eye can identify imposters. But new buyers should be on guard because those signs are not always easy to identify. Signs of stress factors can reveal serpentine imitators, for example.
Resin is much lighter than real jade. Many imitators will show small cracks caused by intricate carvings. Or the fractures may be caused by several pieces that the seller glued back together from a broken original piece of sculpture or jewelry.
The easiest way to avoid buying a bogus jade piece is to work with the experts at the Weisbrod Family Collections.
Purchase a High-Quality Jade Stone Artwork
Are you ready to invest in a quality artifact or piece of jewelry made from jade stone? Our collection of rare Chinese objects and artworks is unique and eye-catching. They are the perfect addition to your private collection or to adorn your home.
World-class museums have purchased pieces from the Weisbrod Family Collections and so can you. To explore our collections, contact Michael at 852-2868-9865.