How to Value Jade

With its distinctly unique quality of beauty and allure, it is easy to understand why jade has been one of the most highly coveted semi-precious stones since ancient times. Read more and find about how much is jade worth today.

Jade

Jade stone figure of bear holding fish. Image: Public Domain

  For thousands of years people have admired jade for its richness in color and decorative nature, qualities that resulted in the stone being associated with royalty, luxury, and beauty. Today people across the world continue to enjoy what this gorgeous stone has to offer, whether in terms of its natural form, jewelry, decoration, ceremonial relevance, or more. Would you like to know more about how much is your jade worth on today’s market? First we have to answer a question: What is jade?

Jade or Jadeite?

The name Jade actually refers to two different silicate minerals: nephrite and jadeite. While two of them look quite the same in terms of texture and color, they actually differ in properties. For example nephrite can be found in a creamy white shades as well as a variety of light green colors. It is also much softer mineral and much more common in nature. Jadeite, however, offers more colour variations, is much harder and has the build similar to a crystal which often adds to its translucency. Jadeite is also very rare and has ben recorded in fewer than 12 places around the world.

What is the most expensive piece of Jade?

According to an ancient Chinese proverb "黄金有价,玉无价" ("gold has a value, jade is invaluable") it is easier to put value on the gold than establish the value of jade because it often exceeds the worth of the stone. While there are many technical parameters that have to be taken into account while putting a price tag on a jade item, such as mineral composition, size or its purity, one of the most important aspects is also the design and a context in which the object was use. The purpose can affect the value so much that the small jade item can be much more expensive than a larger scale jade sculpture. For example, one of the most expensive ancient items made of jade is Neolithic vessel called jade cong with sacred human and animal face from Liangzhu culture. The circular vessel is just 8,4 cm in diameter and it was sold for roughly a $230 000 in 2018. The most expensive piece of jade jewellery is already iconic jade necklace of Barbara Hutton, sold for a record-breaking $27.44 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2018 to the Cartier Collection.

nephrite jade mutton, milky green

Large piece of nephrite jade in light milky green shade displayed in Hotan Cultural Museum's lobby. Image: John Hill / Lincense : CC BY-SA 3.0

imperial green jade, green jade piece

A piece of jadeite jade displayed in Jade City, British Columbia, Canada, Image: Public Domain

Jade stone and its colors

The first aspect to take notice regarding the value of a piece of jade is its color. Contrary to what many may believe, jade not only can be found in various shades of green, but also forms in colors such as lavender, orange, red, yellow, black, and white. Jade in certain colors is more sought after and thus more worth than others. Because of this highly decisive factor in the valuing of this type of jade stone, some will treat or bleach jade in order to obscure and remove the evidence of discoloration before instilling it with colored polymers; these artificially altered jadeites are not nearly as valuable as their untreated counterparts.

Green Jade

Many of us think of the rich bottle green color when we think of jade, and this is not a coincidence. The more green jade is, the higher its value. The most expensive examples of jade are in so called Imperial Jade color, which is a rich and vibrant emerald green. In order to reach the highest value possible, jade stone must be as pure as possible with no specks of gray or other colors. Imperial Jade, as one of the most expensive gemstones in the world, can sometimes be worth millions of dollars.

Lavender Jade

The second most expensive jade stone exhibits a lavender hue. Lavender jade will be worth more than other types of non-Imperial green jade, such as those with a more blue or yellow tint. In general the more untainted and uninterrupted by impurities your jade stone is, the more valuable it will be. Though jade that bear streaks and veins of contrasting colors may appear attractive and thus bring in some buyer interest in that regard, they will never stand up to the value that a more uniform jadeite will attract. 

antique jade bird, white jade stone

Antique bird figure made of white hue jade stone. Image: Public Domain

White Jade

White jade stone was regarded as ancient China's most precious and valuable stone. Its value was equivalent to how the West values diamonds and gold. It was highly prized for its beauty and durability, it symbolised purity and moral integrity, even indestructibility, and was often used to make so called burial jade suit for the wealthiest and most important personas in the country. Today we know that white or creamy nephrite is much more common and not as valuable as white jadeite, which is a very rare stone and can still be prized more than gold in the Asian countries.

Related: The meaning of Jade

Translucency and texture of jade

Jade value depends also on its translucency and texture. Jade stone varies in its translucency, coming in forms that range from entirely opaque to almost entirely translucent. Because those stones that are opaque do not hold any light and thus appear to be dull, jade stones that are semi-transparent will be worth much more. In fact these types of jade can reach high prices even despite unevenness in tone and color. Usually the finer and smoother the texture of the stone, the more translucent it will appear as opposed to those jade stones with a more rugged texture, and thus the relationship with texture to value follows this correlation.

"...Jade stones are more valuable when thick, symmetrical, and proportional; there ought not to be any flaws or imperfections visible to the naked eye..."

The perfect cut for jade

Often times, jade is cut into cabochons for use in jewelry or other accessories, meaning it is polished but not faceted. In these cases, the jade stones are more valuable when thick, symmetrical, and proportional; there ought not to be any flaws or imperfections to the surface of a jade stone visible to the naked eye and some shapes ought to be uniform with no flat spots or unevenness. Other times, jade can be cut into round beads which are then matched to others of a similar color hue and intensity to be strung together. Because of the difficulty in finding jade beads of a matching color, long strands with larger beads can be extremely expensive. Another highly valuable cut of jade is bracelets or bangles that have been cut from a single piece of stone. 

Check The Latest Jade Auctions at Barnebys Here!

Jade appraisals

Wether it is a modern jade sculpture or piece of antique jade jewelry it is always good to get a professional appraisal of your pieces because is the most important step in ascertaining the jade stone value. Only a professional will be able to provide you with a sure and certain range of value and a up to date price of your jade stone by using their experience and expertise to eliminate as much chance for misstep and error as possible. Luckily here at Value My Stuff, there are experts in the field that will be able to provide professional appraisal and valuation services, so that you can take the necessary steps to discover how much your jade stone is worth today!

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