For thousands of years, Jade has become completely interweaved in the Chinese culture, art and history. Jade is the embodiment of the Confucian virtues of humanity, courage, wisdom, honesty, righteousness and compassion. The polish and brilliance of jade stone is considered by the Chinese to be representative of purity while its compactness and hardness reflect intelligence. Justice is represented by its angles and the sound produced by it when it is struck is a symbol of music. The color of jade stone depicts loyalty while its flaws reflect sincerity. The Chinese also value jade stone because of its brightness; representing heaven, while its substance; representing earth.
The term Jade is actually comprises of two distinct jade stones, namely Nephrite and Jadeite. Both of these stones share many qualities and beauty, but only Jadeite from Myanmar (Burma) is highly sought after due to its rarity, gemstone quality, wide spectrum of colours, high lustre and translucency.
Over here, we will focus on Jadeite.
In the same manner that gold and diamonds are highly treasured in the West, the Chinese regard Jadeite jade with a special significance. Today, a rare and good translucency Jadeite can command tens of thousands of dollars per ounce.
To understand the value of jadeite, we have to look beyond its role as beautiful gemstone jewelry or ornament. The main factors that affect the value of Jadeite are the color, clarity, cutting, crack, translucency, texture and volume.
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The carvings can also significantly affect the value too. In the recent years, we have seen the Jadeite market flooded with many carvings done using computer programs. The CNC Engraving Machine reduces human interaction and hence, reduces the labor cost and the cost of production. Intricately hand-made or hand-carved products are more valuable than carving done using the engraving machine.
Unlike other gemstones, Jadeite jade is like an art piece, usually sold by piece, and not by carat weight. Since most pieces are different, it is very difficult to establish a standard pricing formula.
Jadeite has shown itself to be a lucrative investment, a Cartier’s Jadeite jade necklace once belonging to Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction in April 2014 for US$27.44 million, more than six times the price when it was sold for in auction in 1994.
As the Chinese proverb goes, “Gold has a price and jade is priceless”.