Identifying jade


To the Ancient Chinese, jade was more valuable than gold and called the stone of heaven. They considered jade to have special powers and symbolic meaning.

Though commonly thought of as green, jade can be found in different colors including white and red, and can be transparent to opaque. Jade is be one of two minerals, nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is the jade the Chinese used, is more common and a touch softer than jadeite. Jadeite is more valuable.

The best way to determine if an item advertised as genuine jade is genuine jade is to take it to a knowledgeable gemnologist or geologist. However, the following are some simple tips that will help separate the real from crystal, glass and other faked jade.

** Jade is cold to the touch. Hold it to your face or in your hand It’s noticeably colder than glass. Plastic is typically warm.

** Jade is dense and heavy. It has heft in your hand.

** If there are air bubbles in the stone, it is not jade but glass.

** Jade can’t be scratched by steel.

** Jade gives a chime-like sound when it’s hit by anther stone. Many other stones give a dead thunk. The Chinese made flutes and other instruments from jade.

** Jade often has a shiny, greasy looking surface.

** Jade is usually super smooth. If it feels bumpy when you run your fingernail across is, it’s likely not jade.


Purchase a copy of Identifying Common Materials in Antiques: A Pocket Guide

4 thoughts on “Identifying jade

  1. Really old Jade can appear rough especially if it has some river stone in it. Sometimes carved archaic pieces can become calcified especially if they have been buried a long time. This is not the case of quality jade carvings. I have some extremely old Jade carvings, two pieces both very smooth one is more calcified than the other and resembles grey stone. One other Han piece is almost like marble it is so smooth yet the other Han piece appears to have veins of stone in it, most is really smooth the other a tad tough to touch.

  2. When I work out how to post some pictures on here I would like to show the examples of which I speak. It may be that one of the pieces could even be some kind of stone other than Jade, but I did purchase it as an archaic Jade statue about 15 years ago, it certainly is ancient. I would appreciate your feedback. Your content on all stones, gems etc has been very good reading.

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