Gemmologist’s corner – Jade

Gemmologist’s corner – Jade

12 March

Jade ‘The stone of Heaven’ is a fascinating stone, associated mainly with the East, prized by humans as far back as 6000 BC in China where it was used for ceremonial and decorative objects. Due to its toughness and beauty Jade could be carved intricately and even used for items such as weapons and musical instruments, Jade to the Chinese was as diamonds and gold were to the West. It is still prized for its beauty today and as a symbol of wealth and status.

The term jade actually refers to two different minerals commonly used in carvings, ornament and jewellery; nephrite and jadeite, both occur in different hues but the most prized bright green varieties and translucent form are the jadeite form, Nephrite is slightly softer and occurs in bigger deposits lending itself to larger carvings. ‘Imperial’ Jade is the most sought-after variety of jadeite, having an almost electric hue and is translucent. Imperial jade commands huge prices, a rare necklace in imperial jade sold in Sotheby’s Hong Hong in 2020 for 62,000,000 HKD (€6,000,000).

This quality of jade is hard to quantify, due to its chemical composition and lack of inclusions, this type of jade is said to glow from within.

Other varieties of green jade such as flower green jade are also highly prized, they are not as pure as the imperial variety and may be mottled with other hues. A very nice example of green jade in our forthcoming auction can be seen in lot 363, a fine quality green jadeite single stone ring, set with a cabochon, the diffusion of light in jade lends itself to beads and cabochon stones which is why you do not see faceted gems. It is often found carved in ornaments and jewellery, lot 374 is a nice example of a carved jadeite brooch, with diamonds accents.

Other colours found are lavender; which is also highly prized, yellow, orange, black and white. Mutton jade is a valued form of white nephrite found in carvings, lot 375 is a lovely example of a mutton jade carving of a Dog of Fo, a traditional symbol found in Chinese Art, these dogs or Buddhist Lions were said to protect the Buddhist temples. If you want to invest in a beautiful and timeless piece of jade see the following lots:

Lot 363 A FINE JADE RING, the green oval jadeite cabochon stone mounted in yellow gold. Estimated: weight of jade: 14.70 ct, size Q. Est: €4,000 – 5,000
Lot 374 A CARVED JADE SET BROOCH, the green jadeite carved with naturalistic designs, to a diamond set white gold mount. Est: €5500 – 6500