You’re at the right place if you want to know how to tell if jade is real or fake. In this article, we’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about this precious gemstone including:
- What is nephrite jade?
- How can I test if jade is real or fake?
- Is authentic jade always green?
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
How to Tell If Jade Is Real
Jade is also known as green gemstones. Jade stones are not faceted unlike other gemstones on the market. They are opaque to translucent albeit never transparent. These stones come in different variations including imitation jewelry pieces, treated jade, real jade gemstones and stones with jade content.
Jade falls in the jewelry collection category although they’re not faceted. It’s not quite popular in western countries but specially prized by most South East Asian countries. You can use jade to make carvings and ornaments. Jade jewelry pieces, on the other hand, are usually jade bangles, brooches and beads.
There are different types of jade gemstones on the market and each one of them is usually named based on location. However, there are two main variants of jade – nephrite jade and jadeite jade.
If you’re looking for high-quality jade then jadeite jade is the way to go. Jadeite jade is the most expensive variant of green jade. The best color is imperial jade which is a rich shade of green. It’s usually found as opaque to translucent stones but never transparent.
You should be worried if you get jade at a cheaper price because imperial jade from real jadeite is quite rare. In such scenarios, sellers tend to advertise them as authentic jade so that they can sell at higher prices. However, you can easily obtain the imperial green color of jade by dyeing.
Natural jade stones with no treatment are relatively expensive as compared to their treated counterparts. Jadeite jade comes in many different shades of green from olive jade to pale green. Most people don’t even know that jade gemstones are also available in other different colors like lilac, white, orange, red, yellow, black and brown among others.
Nephrite jade is an authentic jade gemstone but isn’t as valuable as the real jadeite jade. It usually occurs in fewer color varieties but that doesn’t necessarily mean that its limited to green nephrite jade.
Green nephrite jade is not as intense and bright as jadeite. However, they also come in yellow, yellow green, mutton brown, brown, grayish brown and olive green brown varieties. Nephrite jade is less expensive they’re not the most desirable of colors for jewelry pieces.
You can subject nephrite jade to other different color enhancement treatments but not dyes. The cost of nephrite jade carvings can be on the higher side of the pricing spectrum although the stone itself is relatively cheap.
Jade comes in other different forms as well including stones that are part of the content. Currently, Turkish purple jade is the most common form of jade gemstones available on the market. Despite the name, it contains more than 505 0f authentic jade content.
For this reason, most people still debate whether or not it should be part of jade stones. Lilac purple jadeite is as rare as it is expensive and Turkish purple has none of that. Xinyuan jade stones, on the other hand, contain serpentine and nephrite jade.
Serpentine gemstone has been on the market since time immemorial and is considered as a traditional jade stone in China. If you don’t specify, you’ll probably get a serpentine if you’re looking to buy jade in China.
Serpentine jade gemstone is as authentic as they come but can never command prices of real jadeite. Plus, it’s relatively cheap. You can find these stones under different trade names such as New Jade, Korean Jade and Olive Jade.
What is Imitation or Fake Jade?
There’s a difference between treated and untreated jade. I thought you should know that before we delve into misleading trade names and imitation jade. Jade pieces are still genuine even if they are subjected to different treatments to enhance their natural color.
Jade cannot be fake if it undergoes artificial treatment although they tend to bring down its value and cost. Color enhanced jade stones are still authentic gemstones.
By now, you already know that you can dye jadeite jade to give it a bright green hue. Nephrite jade, on the other hand, cannot be dyed owing to its high density. However, thanks to advancement in technology, there are other different ways to enhance the color of authentic jade stones.
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Save for dyeing and polymer impregnation, jadeite jade can also be subjected to different kinds of color treatments. These treatments can be done simultaneously. Genuine jade gemstones s classified in three different categories – A, B and C jade. If you’re looking for untreated jade stones, then you need to buy them from a certified reputable dealer.
- Type A Jade
Jade stones that fall in this category are natural jadeite with no chemical treatments. Its value doesn’t decrease even if it has a wax coating to help enhance color.
- Type B Jade
If a piece of jade is classified as type B jade, then it means that the stone in question has undergone polymer impregnation or has been subjected to bleaching chemicals.
- Type C Jade
Type C jade is an authentic jade without any dyes.
- A Combination of Type B and C Jade
If a piece of jade is classified as a combination of type B and C jade, then it means the real jade has been chemically bleached and dyed.
As earlier mentioned, most jade stones usually undergo polymer impregnation and dyeing. These types of jade stones have a typical hybrid classification. You should be on the look out for any doublets of jade. This means that there are different doublets of opal gemstones that include pieces of actual stone.
A thinner layer of authentic jade is usually placed over the base when it comes to doublets. You can find these stones in different places like Zales or Kay.
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Misleading Trade Names and Imitation Jade
A gemstone is said to be fake when it’s different from other mineral families or other materials. It’s fake jade or imitation if the seller is advertising it as jade but its internal structure is different. Jadeite comes in arrange of colors but the most common variety with fakes and imitations is lilac jade and green imperial jade.
Real Jade Vs Fake Jade
You can’t really tell if a gemstone is original or fake especially if you’re not a gemologist or an expert. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who aren’t conversant with these types of stones can’t tell real and fake jade apart.
There are different ways to confirm whether jade stones are real or fake. Some of these methods will require you to examine the jade piece closely while in other instances, you’ll need an appropriate equipment. To avoid all these problems, ensure you buy your jade gemstones from a reputable dealer with a gem certificate.
Original certifications from reliable gemological labs will help establish if the real stone has been subjected to any treatments.
Fake or Imitation Jade Stones
Gemstones imitation for fake jade is any shade of green and lilac stones resembling authentic jadeite. Some of the most common imitations of jade include serpentine, malachite, dyed chalcedony, aventurine, amazonite and dyed quartz. The aforementioned are not jade although they’re actual gemstones. However, serpentine contains jade content.
Fake Jade Materials
Save for the above-mentioned real gemstones, imitation jade also comes from other different materials. Glass is one of the most common materials.
Misleading Trade Names
Be cautious when you see any description before the word jade stones in the listing. There are different trade names that are normally used for both fake and real stones of each gem. The industry uses trade names to make less valuable stones look more enticing. They’re just giving trade names which is not illegal.
However, some trade names are misleading. In this case, the buyer needs to be conversant with gemstones to be able to tell the difference between real nephrite or jadeite and trade name.
- New Jade, Xiuang Jade and Korean Jade – They’re all serpentine jade that contain more than 50% nephrite.
- Malaysia Jade – This gemstone is dyed quartz or chalcedony
- Transvaal Jade – It’s grossular garnet.
- Mountain Jade – It doesn’t have jade but features higher grade dolomite marble with color enhancements and dyes.
- Indian Jade – This gemstone is typically a green aventurine.
- Australian Jade – Chrysoprase is the actual gemstone.
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How to Tell If Jade Is Real
Perform a Scratch Test
Performing a scratch test is one of the easiest way to check whether a gemstone is real or fake. Mohs scale is the basis upon which this test was initially formed. The scale helps determine Scratchability and resistance to dirt and dust.
The hardness level of authentic jadeite stones is usually between 6.5 to 7 which makes it fairly hard. However, it’s not quite impervious to scratch. You can try scratching the surface of the jade by simply taking a steel stool. Nephrite is relatively soft as compared to jadeite but you shouldn’t scratch either of them by actual steel.
The hardness rating of the stone could be softer than a 5 on Mohs scale if it tends to scratch. Besides, steel scratches glass and can also prevent residue from scratching especially if the jade is fake.
Sound test always involves the use of a metal object and jade jewelry piece. In this case, you’ll have to tap on the stone and listen to it instead of scratching its surface. Authentic jade echoes in some muted tones.
Your jade bracelet will not echo but instead produce a hollow sound if it’s made of plastic beads or glass.
The density test is also known as the toss test since they’re both reliant on jade’s density. Nephrite is denser than jadeite jade but they’re both fairly heavy. It should have a light weight when you toss it up in the air and catch it.
It’s probably plastic or glass if it feels relatively light. Other different gemstones can be heavy so this test isn’t a typical surefire for jade.
The color of real jade is usually consistent all through the whole piece. You can check it out under a bright light to ensure there are no irregularities in its color. Jade stones have blemishes, imperfections and small dents.
The price will help you know if the stone is real or fake if it has consistent color throughout the entire piece and looks perfect. Besides, jade reflects light like water.
Observe the gemstone. For instance, you might notice some air bubble on a fake jade stone. A jade carving or stone may have rough spots or pits and its luster is waxy. This means that if it’s almost perfect and smooth then its fake.
Final Thoughts – How to Tell If Jade Is Real
It’s quite difficult to tell the difference between a real and fake jade especially if you’re not a gemologist or an expert. However, thanks to this guide, you already know what to look for which makes it a lot easier.
There are different ways to ascertain whether or not jade is fake or real save for buying them from a reputable dealer with a gem certificate. You can achieve this by trying out different tests including:
- The light test
- The scratch test
- Density test
- Sound test
You can try out two different tests simultaneously to get an actual representation of the genuineness of the stone in question.