Jade is a precious gemstone in eastern culture, especially in China. In fact, the importance of jade in Chinese culture is higher than that of diamonds in the United States. But how much is jade worth?
Recently, a miner discovered a massive jade boulder in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar. This giant jade is worth 170 million dollars.
The gemstone is typically priced by carat, with larger stones being more valuable. However, the quality of the jade also affects the price, with stones that are more translucent and have a richer color being more valuable.
It’s necessary to evaluate the gemstone properly to assess the factors that fluctuate the price. But how to evaluate and determine the value of jade objects? Read on to find out.
What Is Jade?
Jade is a green gemstone that has been prized for centuries for its beauty and its purported powers of healing and protection. It has been used for making jewelry, gemstones, sculptures, tools, and so on for over 8000 years.
Origin of the Name
The word “Jade” originated from the Spanish sentence “Piedra de la ijada,” which means “The stone of colic.” In ancient times, Aztecs and Mayans used to believe that jade stone had the power to cure body pain.
Jade’s Importance in Different Cultures
Jade stones have held great significance throughout history in different cultures, including China, Mayan, Mesoamerica, and more.
Jade has always had an extraordinary place and has been highly valued throughout the history of Chinese culture. They call jade ‘Yù’ which means Royal Gem.
In Li Ji (Book of Rites), Chinese philosopher Confucius expressed that jade is a metaphor for 11 virtues. There is a famous proverb stating that jade is worth more than gold. They even used the valuable Kunlun Jade to make the medals for the 2008 Beijing Olympics to prove it correct.
- Mayan Civilization
People of the Mayan civilization used to wear pendants with the belief that it connected them with the sun god Kinich Ahau. They used to mimic the god by putting on polished jade; consequently, it increased the jade’s value.
This stone holds a significant place in Mesoamerica regions, such as the Aztecs and Olmecs. Its value was beyond its material worth; hence, societal elites used to wear it as a symbol of social status.
It was often engraved with hieroglyphics and utilized in spiritual or ritual ceremonies.
The Different Types of Jade
Jade is an ornamental rock, mostly known for its green varieties, which can be found in a range of shades from light green to dark emerald green. It can also occur in white, orange, yellow, and other variations. Still, green is by far the most popular and well-known color.
How much is jade worth? Depending on the type, the prices may vary to a great extent. Here are the types of jade:
Jadeite and Nephrite
People used to believe that all jade stones were made of the same materials. But Frenchman Alexis Damour discovered the jadeite and nephrite variations in 1863.
The Chinese started importing the jadeite variety from Burma in 1784. Before that, they used nephrite jade to make jewelry and tools.
The semi-transparent jadeite colors can vary from yellow to gold, light to dark green, gray to intense green, pink to lavender, rusty reds, black, white, and brown.
The color intensity and transparency of jade are essential parts of evaluating its quality. However, when it comes to jadeite, any internal fractures in the stone can affect how much is jade worth. The most expensive jade is intense green in color and semi-transparent, known as Imperial Jade.
On the other hand, nephrite jade is less valuable and attractive than jadeite. It’s mainly used for making utensils, jewelry, tools, religious articles, etc.
The name of nephrite jade can change depending on the stone’s color. For instance, a nephrite stone in dark-cooked spinach is known as Taiwan Jade, and a translucent creamy white nephrite is known as mutton fat jade.
How much is jade worth when it’s a nephrite variety? The stone’s clarity and color still play a vital role in determining its value.
However, both of these minerals may look very similar to most people. But it contains some fine differences in their physical properties. For example:
|Color||Dark green, white, pink, gray, red, black, yellow, orange, blue, etc||Cream, white, and dark green|
|Diagnostic features||Toughness, grain size, refractive index, gravity, and habit||Hardness, grain size, habit, color, gravity, and toughness|
|Chemistry (Silicate)||Aluminum rich pyroxene||Magnesium rich amphibole|
|Luster||Vitreous to sugary||Vitreous, waxy, greasy, silky|
|Chemical formula||NaAlSi2O6 or Na(Al,Fe3+)Si2O6||Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2|
Jade Treatments that Influence the Price
Most jade goes through several treatments to increase its color. These enhancements influence the stone’s stability and decrease toughness. Generally, there are four grades of after-treatment jade to consider:
This grade of jade stone doesn’t undergo artificial treatment. It’s only treated with a wax coating, which can enhance the stone’s luster. So, Type A jades are practically natural jadeite and nephrite with a wax coating.
The process involves cleaning the stones in boiled water before dipping them in molten wax to fill cracks and pores. After the wax cools, all excess wax is removed and buffed to a brilliant luster and smooth surface. It’s the most physically stable and valuable jade type.
Type B jades are bleached with sulfuric or hydrochloric acid to get rid of stains, although bleaching makes the stone porous and fragile.
For this reason, manufacturers use polymer fillers or wax to strengthen the jade’s stability. This step fills pores and fractures in the stone, giving the final object an improved luster, evenness, and beautiful color.
Unfortunately, it still reduces the toughness and makes the gemstones brittle. Type B jadeite will decay due to the acid bleach after a few years. And the use of resin will begin to discolor due to sunlight and heat exposure.
Type C jades are treated similarly to type B but are coated with a specific color.
The dyed color of the jadeite will start to fade due to exposure to sunlight and heat. That’s why it’s necessary to evaluate the jade carefully with a gem color filter or microscope before buying.
This grade of jade stones receives bleaching, polymer coat, and color dyeing. These treatments can weaken the physical stability of the jade.
However, the seller should disclose the treatments applied to a stone before selling it, and you don’t necessarily need to run any tests.
What Are Jade’s Quality Factors?
How much is jade worth? It depends on its quality and durability as well. To evaluate a piece of jade, you must consider some quality factors. The factors are 3 C’s (Color, Clarity, and Cut) and 2 T’s (Transparency and Texture).
One of the crucial factors in evaluating jade quality is its color. Most jades are available in different shades of green, but other colors are available too.
These colors are categorized into three sections by the standard color nomenclature: hue (color wheel position), saturation (strength), and tone (light or dark)
Generally, dark green jade is most valuable and preferred by people due to its semi-transparency and vivid color quality. Some popular green jade shades are apple jade, moss-in-snow jade, and kingfisher jade.
Other colors like lavender, red, black, and orange are the second most popular and valuable varieties. While looking for jadeite jewelry, opt for vibrant and lively colors.
This factor refers to the imperfection of the jade that hinders the passage of light. A high-quality jade should be free of any inclusion defects. Typical mineral inclusions are dark green, brown, black, white, or other colored spots.
Because of the available color varieties, a black or dark spot is evident in a jade stone, and the Chinese consider it a sign of bad luck. White spots are also a pretty common imperfection.
However, unhealed fractures inside the stone are the most common clarity defect. Since jade is celebrated as a symbol of perfection, low clarity affects the gemstone’s value.
Jade can be curved and cut into any desired shape. Thanks to its fine-grained crystal structure that prevents cracking and breaking while cutting the stone.
Most high-quality jade varieties are used for jewelry with cabochons cut. Sometimes, manufacturers use a piece of jade to make the entire jewelry design known as hololiths.
This jewelry-making process is mostly applied to making rings and bangles. Due to the amount of rough wastage, hololiths pieces of jewelry are the most expensive.
Why the Traditional 4th C
Chinese artisans consider a fine-grained jade stone with a bright translucence and uniform green the highest-quality imperial jade. In ancient China, only the emperors used to own and wear this type.
However, anyone with enough money can own this jade at present. But how much is green jade worth? The value of this green jade costs more than high-quality diamonds per carat.
The best quality jade stones are always semi-transparent. And low-quality jade has opaque transparency with granular cloudy patches. How much is jade worth? It’s determined mainly by good clarity, regardless of the quality or color.
Transparency is a measure of how much light can pass through the stone. The higher the transparency level, the more valuable the stone is. This is because transparency provides clarity and vibrancy to the stone, making it more desirable to collectors and jewelers.
The texture is an essential factor when evaluating the value of jade, as it gives us an insight into the quality of the gemstone. A gemstone with a fine and even texture is usually considered to be of higher value than one with a bumpy or rough surface.
A jade’s texture can range from smooth to waxy, slightly granular, coarse, and grainy. It is complementary to the transparency; for example, the higher the jade transparency, the finer the texture is.
A high-quality jade should have a high luster and reflect light evenly. In contrast, lower-quality jade may appear dull or mottled.
The artistry factor of jade involves examining the craftsmanship and skill that went into creating an object from the gemstone. It includes assessing the jade carving, shape, color, and texture and the intricate designs and patterns often carved into it.
The craftsmanship can help determine the value of the jade and how much it may be worth. Through it, you can also appreciate the skill and handiwork that went into its creation.
Why Is Jade Worth So Much?
There is a Chinese proverb, “黄金有价，玉无价,” which translates to “Gold has a value, jade is invaluable.“
Jade stones cost a lot. You may wonder why a perfect semi-transparent cabochon cut jade is worth so much. It’s simply due to the cultural context.
The lavish look of the jadeite and nephrite produced by the tiny minerals’ intergrowth makes these stones too expensive. And as these stones have been serving for thousands of years in Asian culture and tradition, their value has gone beyond their actual price.
How to Evaluate Jade Value?
Jades are evaluated by their texture, transparency, color, cut, clarity, and artistry. Mineral compositions should also be taken into account while evaluating the gemstone.
There are two primary types of jade: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a less expensive type of jade and can range in color from white to gray to green. Jadeite is a more expensive type and is typically a more vivid green.
While evaluating the jade value, experts focus more on the colors. The more vivid and intense the green color, the more valuable the jade gemstone.
On the other hand, the stone’s veins and surface evenness are the telling signs of its transparency and texture. The more transparent and smooth the texture, the higher it’ll cost. Also, the stone’s cut should be symmetrical and appropriate for the shape of the gemstone.
From Jade Appraisal to Price
How much is jade worth? Since various factors are in play, it’s challenging to pinpoint fixed prices. In 2018, a jade necklace of Barbara Hutton sold for $27.44 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. It was a record-breaking price for the gemstone throughout history.
Jade Price Per Different Units
The quality of the jade influences its overall price. A jade stone can cost as little as $5 per carat and dramatically increase to $3M per carat. In terms of grams, the stone price may vary between $25 to $5000.
Here is a list of jade prices (in dollars) per different unit:
- Carat: 5 to 1500
- Gram: 25 to 5,000
- Ounce: 600 to 150,000
- Pound: 11,000 to 2,270,000
- Kilo: 25,000 to 5,000,000
Jade Price Per Color
How much is jade worth? As mentioned above, varieties of jade colors affect the price. Here’s a chart of the jade price (in dollars per gram) according to its color:
- Brown Jade: 5 to 80
- Black Jade: 5 to 100
- Gray Jade: 7 to 60
- Red Jade: 10 to 80
- Green Jade: 30 to 800
- Pink Jade: 30 to 1200
- Blue and Purple Jade: 50 to 1500
- Yellow and Orange Jade: 70 to 1600
- Light Green and White Jade: 500 to 1500
- Lavender Jade: 1000 to 7000
- White Nephrite Jade: Over 1500 per carat
Jade Price Per Places of Origin
According to origins, Burmese jade is the most expensive than the other origins. Here’s a chart on how different places of origin affect the jade price:
|Origins||Price in dollars per gram|
|Persian||5 to 400|
|New Zealand||10 to 2500|
|Chinese||25 to 5000|
|Hetian||300 to 39000|
|Burmese||750 to 5000|
|Alaskan||50 to 500 (per kilo)|
|Mexican||100 to 1000 (per kilo)|
|Canadian||200 to 2000 (per kilo)|
|Russian||1000 to 5000 (per kilo)|
Where to Purchase Jade?
What’s the value of jade? You must know that by now. Let’s learn where to buy these stones from. The beauty of jade stone attracts people a lot. And as these gemstones are expensive, many people sell fake ones.
That’s why you should buy from renowned retailers to get genuine jade. Usually, online stores are more trustworthy than in-person retailers.
The only difference between each type of jade is the applied treatments. Buying jadeite with exceptional quality and color without any treatments will cost you higher than usual.
However, no matter where you purchase from, the seller should provide you with a laboratory report regarding the chemical treatments. You can also attend jade auctions to purchase rare jade stones and ornaments.
How much is jade worth? Hope you get a clear idea about the stone’s price, what influences its value, and where to buy a genuine piece. If you want to avoid purchasing expensive jade online, consider buying it from a licensed retailer.
If you don’t have any skills to evaluate the gemstone, do a laboratory test, as it’s tricky to assess it with the naked eye. Hope all the above information was enough to clear your doubts regarding the piece of jade.
FAQs about How Much Is Jade Worth?
Is jade worth a lot of money?
Depending on the treatments, quality, color, texture, and transparency, the price of the jade can be as high as millions of dollars.
What color of jade is most valuable?
There are many available colors of jade, but intense green imperial jadeite is the most expensive.
Is jade worth more than gold?
Yes, jade is worth more than gold. There is a deep connection between Chinese culture and green jade stone; hence, it holds a special place in Chinese history. Consequently, the price of jade in some cultures is higher than gold.
How can you tell the value of jade?
The most crucial value factor of jade is transparency, texture, and color. Besides these, clarity and cut also play a vital role in determining the value. So the better these qualities of jade are, the higher the price is.