What’s It Worth? The Many Shades Of Jade

Jade valuation is determined by many factors — technical, aesthetic, scientific and historical. Jade has been used for millennia as adornment as well as for utilitarian purposes, such as cups, saucers, and buckles. Ancient pieces of jade were repurposed centuries later as jewelry. It comes in many forms, including jadeite and nephrite.

Jadeite (the finest jade) is hotter than ever right now with the emergence of China and other Asian countries into the marketplace. Finer jade typically retains its value, especially in signed pieces by Gump’s, Tiffany and Cartier, as well as ancient, larger carved Asian pieces. Sizeable nephrite objets d’art of various colors — not just green — can be worth a small fortune. Color can vary from mutton-fat white to rust or red, from many shades of green to a kind of colorless hue commonly called water jade.

We have handled fine, small transparent jadeite rings for as much as $15,000, as well as larger objects like bowls, buckles and cups and even a Ruyi (a kind of scepter or wand) for as much as $50,000.

It should be noted there are scores of jade simulants, like carnelian, meta-jade, green glass, and aventurine. Nephrite jade, while often discounted, can on occasion be not only beautiful but rare as well – especially 200- to 300-year-old items.

The vibrant green jadeite pin was sold to us by an antique dealer in New York. While the metal value is less than $150, we paid over $1,500 because of the fine color, translucence, and craftsmanship. Had it been transparent, it would be worth much more.

The white mutton fat (more common) nephrite jade buckle – repurposed long ago as a letter opener – is stunning and we paid over $500 for it.

It takes highly educated experts like the team of graduate gemologists at Old Northeast Jewelers to understand and identify the true value of pieces like this. Bring in your family heirlooms for an appraisal and offer, by me or our senior graduate gemologists, Katrina or Darren.

Do you have a fine Asian antique? We are experts and can help you ID them – or buy them outright or auction them.

JEFF HESS, Owner & Appraiser

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