Nata Heng Schluessel, GG logo Roland Schluessel, FGA

Jadeite

JADEITE IMPERIAL JADE

“JEWEL OF HEAVEN“

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Imperial Jade of finest quality seems to glow from its inside.

Pillar & Stone International is an importer of untreated gem-quality Burmese Jadeite.

The area of Hpakan in the Myitkyina District of northern Burma is the sole source for the highly appreciated Imperial Jade and it is our pride to select the most excellent qualities directly from Burma (Myanmar).

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Jadeite mine in Hpakan,(Burma). Official Jade auction in Yangon.

Despite over 99% of all Jade on the market is enhanced, Pillar & Stone International offers exclusively untreated “A-grade” Jadeite. The “all natural” origin of each gemstone is documented in a certificate from a renowned gemological laboratory.

It is our policy not to trade in treated Jade merchandise.

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Due to its extreme rarity and high value opposing to a strong demand, Jadeite is the most imitated and most frequently enhanced gemstone among all gem materials. Currently, the commercial term of Jade includes two separate stones: Jadeite and Nephrite. The previous one being considered as “gem Jade”, being much rarer and having better gem properties. Due to its beauty, scarcity and it’s tactile and aural qualities it is prized as high as the finest Emeralds and natural color Sapphires.

  • Did you know that Jadeite is the toughest of all gemstones… even tougher than Diamond?
  • Did you know that Jadeite can be green, purplish, yellow, reddish-orange, brown, black, grey, white and even colorless?
  • Did you know that the Burmese Imperial Jade wasn’t discovered until the mid 18th century and that most of the old Jade consist of the much lesser valuable Nephrite?

Pillar & Stone International trades exclusively with the finest Jadeite qualities. Understanding Jadeite means having developed the ability to appreciate a truly unique gemstone involving a multitude of factors:

  • beauty (color, clarity, degree of translucency)
  • size
  • rarity
  • tactile qualities (feeling to touch)
  • workmanship (cutting/carving, polish)
  • aural qualities (age and culture, symbolism)
  • gemological properties (extreme toughness and subtle optical properties)
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A precious piece of Apple green Jadeite An extraordinary boulder of Jadeite weighing over 6,000 pounds.

“Jade – The Eternal Jewel of Heaven”:

Over 2,500 years ago, Buddha recognized that life on Earth involves pain and suffering. Consequently, few humans have been provided with a foretaste of heaven and we mostly dwell in hell. For the Chinese however, there is a terrestrial link between heaven and hell – JADE.

The huai-gu (literally: remembering the past) is a fashioned Jade with a circular shape and a central perforation. It also resembles the archaic Jade huan and bi, the latter being one of the oldest types of Jade, believed to have been used to worship heaven in China ’s glorious history.

Jade has a history like no other gemstone:

People of the Orient have developed Jade appreciation to a degree found nowhere else in the world, but this knowledge is basically hidden in non-Roman-alphabet texts. This, together with the striking properties of Jadeite adds further to Jadeite’s inscrutable reputation.

The reverence which the Chinese gave to Jade materials can be dated back almost 10,000 years. The Chinese word for Jade is “Yu” and the precious gem was traditionally defined by its remarkable “virtues”, namely a tremendous toughness and high hardness due to its compact and fine texture, smooth and glossy luster, along with high translucency and the ability to take a high polish.

Jade can be considered both as the most ancient and most modern of all gemstones!

Confucius, the most important of Chinese philosophers was enchanted by the clear resonance when stroking a piece of Jade. He also said: “The symbol of courtly rank, Jade represents virtue itself; All beings regard Jade highly, just as they follow the way of truth (dao). Thus, the proverb says: when speaking of the virtuous man, he is as beautiful as Jade.”

WHAT IS IMPERIAL JADE?

MINERAL SPECIES:

Jadeite Jade. Aluminosilicate of the pyroxene family.

APPEARANCE:

To describe and value the color of Jadeite, hue, saturation, tone and color distribution have to be considered.

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Color hue of top quality Imperial Jade. Color hue of fine Lavender Jade.

Best color = The most intense and saturated emerald green variety of Jadeite is called “Imperial Jade” or “Imperial Jadeite”. In addition to its vivid and uniform color the stone must exhibit a high degree of translucency. The darker material is referred to as “Old Mine” material while the lighter one is called “Canary Jade” or “Spring Green”.

The ideal color saturation is a vibrant green free from either a bluish or yellowish hue; darker or lighter shades are considered less valuable.

An intense green with a slight yellowish hue is called “Apple Green”, it is a highly valued color third only to the “Old Mine” and the “Canary Jade”.

While a small content of chromium is responsible for the vivid green color of Imperial Jade, blue-lavender (blue to plum-purple) Jade obtains its smooth shade from the presence of manganese. The most desirable Lavender Jade belongs to the pink color range and its color is the result of an iron-ion charge transfer.

Color saturation = This is by far the most important element of green and Lavender Jadeite color.

Color combinations = Jadeite showing more than one color within a single piece lowers its value.

Pleochroism = None.

Transparency = Semitransparent to opaque.

Texture = Often mottled color due to its aggregate nature. Grainy to fibrous texture can be seen when observing the matrix under magnification.

Clarity = Watch for surface reaching cracks. Since Jadeite symbolizes durability and perfection, the most severe clarity defects are fractures; they can dramatically lower the value of a piece of Jade.

Polish luster = Vitreous to greasy. Has a soft, glossy and lustrous appearance.

Tactile qualities = Despite its high hardness Jadeite feels smooth when touched.

Phenomena = None.

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Pinkish type of Lavender Jade. Bluish type of Lavender Jade.

The Burmese divide all untreated Jadeite into 4 main quality categories. From the best to the lowest:

  • Jewelry – gem quality
  • Jewelry – commercial quality
  • Jewelry – accessory quality
  • Utility Jade

CUTTING STYLES:

Cabochons, beads, rings, bangles and carvings.

The cutting style of Jadeite has been defined by the Chinese culture. While the best qualities of Imperial Jade are mainly shaped into oval cabochons and beads for necklaces, other qualities and colors are fashioned into a variety of forms and motifs, e.g.:

  • A knot symbolizes longevity, true love and the wheel of life.
  • A bat stands for good fortune.
  • The pi stone is a perforated disc which means power and authority and is the early pagan symbol of sun.
  • A lotus symbolizes purity and enlightenment.
  • The pearl shape stands for purity and feminine beauty.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES:
Hardness = 6 ½ to 7
Toughness = Exceptional.
Cleavage = Not visible due to its aggregate structure.
Refractive Index = 1.666 – 1.680 (birefringence is not detectable)
Specific Gravity = 3.34

CLEANING METHODS AND STABILITY:

We generally recommend avoiding heat, ultrasonic and chemicals!
Ultrasonic and steamer = Avoid ultrasonic cleaning because almost all Jadeite has undergone the traditional surface waxing.
Warm soapy water = Safe.
Reaction to chemicals = Slightly affected by warm acids. But again, avoid acids due to the fact that waxing of the stone’s surface is a common practice.
Reaction to high heat = Caution: fuses easily to a bubbly glass under a jeweler’s torch or blowpipe.
Reaction to light = Stable.

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MAJOR SOURCE:

Northern Myanmar Burma

ENHANCEMENTS:

Most Jadeite in virtually all qualities on the market is enhanced in one way or another: bleached with acids, impregnated with colorless polymer and/or color dyed.
See Disclosure Scale for Jadeite.
The various treatments on Jadeite result in spectacular improvements of the stone’s appearance. However, their values do not follow this “extreme makeover”. Here is an example for a fine emerald-green cabochon Jadeite measuring approximately 13 x 11 mm:

A-grade = USD 20,000
B-grade = USD 500 to 2,000 (depending upon extent of enhancement)
C-grade = USD 50
D-grade = USD 30 …no kidding…

IMITATIONS:

Translucent grossularite (garnet), bowenite, aventurine quartz, prehnite, idocrase (vesuvianite), verdite, massive talc, pectolite, dyed chalcedony, dyed jasper, dyed marble, glass and many more.

MOST RESEMBLING GEMSTONES:

Translucent grossularite, bowenite, emerald (cabochon with numerous fine inclusions), chrysoprase

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