Real Jade Vs Fake Jade: How to Tell if Jade is Real

Jade is a highly prized gemstone renowned for its beauty, but it can be hard to know how to tell if jade is real.

With the rise of fake jade flooding the market, it’s crucial to learn how to identify and differentiate real jade from fake jade.

It is important to understand the different characteristics of genuine jade, the different types of jade, how to authenticate jade and ensure its quality, and where to buy authentic jade jewelry.

How Many Types of Jade Are There?

A raw Burmese jadeite stone, showing beautiful green color.
Raw Burmese Jadeite. Image provided under the Creative Commons License. Credit to James St. John.

There are two main types of jade: Jadeite and Nephrite.

Jadeite is the rarer and more valuable of the two and comes in a range of colors, including green, lavender, yellow, and white.

Nephrite jade is found in shades of green, brown, and white.

Identifying Real Jade

Key Differences of Real Jade vs Fake Jade

Genuine jade has unique qualities that distinguish it from fake jade, such as a cool-to-touch temperature, smooth texture, and waxy luster.

Fake jade feels warmer, has a rougher surface, and lacks the characteristic luster of real jade.

Carefully examining the stone’s appearance, texture, and other properties can help you differentiate real jade from fake jade, and this is a basic test. Imitation jade, or jade that has been treated, can resemble high quality specimens.

The only sure way to know if jade is real is to purchase it from a reputable source, or to get a certificate of authenticity from a trusted lab.

How Can You Tell the Quality of Jade?

When determining the quality of jade, factors such as color, translucency, texture, and any inclusions or impurities are considered.

The highest-quality jade is known as Grade A, and is untreated and unaltered.

Grade B jade is typically bleached and impregnated with polymers to enhance its color and transparency.

Shop Authentic Natural Nephrite Jade

What Makes Jade “Fake Jade”

Fake jade can be any stone or material made to look like jade. This can include glass, resin, and plastic imitations, as well as stones that are sold as jade but are not genuine, such as serpentine, aventurine, chrysoprase, and prehnite.

Poor quality jade can also be treated to improve its appearance, such as bleaching or dyeing, which can decrease its value.

How to Tell if Treatments Have Been Done to Your Jade

To tell if treatments have been done to your jade, examine the color and translucency of the stone.

Treated jade may have an unnatural color or inconsistent coloration, and may be more opaque than genuine jade.

These are basic rules. Jade from different regions can look very different.

Once again, imitations and dyed jades can look real to the untrained eye, so never purchase jade without a proper certificate of authenticity.

Understanding Color in Coordination with Value

A closeup of lavender jadeite, showing the texture and deep colors of real jade.
Lavender jadeite. Image provided under the Creative Commons License. Credit to James St. John.

Color is an essential factor in determining the value of jade, with the most valuable and rarest type of jade being Imperial Jade, which has a vivid emerald-green hue and high translucency.

Other colors of jade can also be valuable, such as lavender, yellow, and white.

Big Sur Jade can be found naturally dyed, such as Vulcan Jade, by iron rich soils.

In general, the more vibrant and even the color distribution, the more valuable the jade.

Authenticating Jade and Ensuring Quality

How to Tell if Green Jade or Jadeite is Real

To authenticate green jade or jadeite, examine the stone’s color, luster, and texture. Genuine jade should have a smooth, waxy luster and a cool-to-touch temperature.

Additionally, jadeite often exhibits a vibrant, even color distribution, while fake jade may have inconsistent coloration or unnatural hues.

Nephrite jade rarely follows these rules, but is usually less expensive.

Does Real Jade Tarnish or Break Easily?

Authentic jade is a durable and resilient gemstone that doesn’t tarnish or break easily.

It’s essential to handle jade jewelry and carvings with care. Jade can be damaged by rough handling or extreme temperature changes.

Different Tests to Tell if Jade is Real

There are different at-home tests you can do to test if your jade is real. These test are the scratch test, sound test, light test, and hot needle test.

These are basic tests, and does not guarantee if jade is real or untreated. Remember that the only sure way to how to know if jade is real is by getting a certificate of authenticity.

The scratch test involves trying to scratch the surface of the stone with a metal object. Genuine jade is harder than metal, and will not scratch easily.

The sound test involves lightly tapping the jade with a metal object and listening to the sound it produces. Genuine jade should produce a distinctly clear, ringing sound.

The light test involves holding the jade up to a light source and observing its translucency. Real jade will often display a translucent quality, allowing light to pass through the stone to some extent.

The hot needle test involves heating a needle and pressing it against the surface of the jade. Real jade will not be damaged by the heat.

Professional tests are the only way to be certain of the authenticity of jade. These tests include the specific gravity, a X-ray fluorescence test and the Raman spectroscopy test.

Where to Buy Authentic Jade Jewelry

When looking for authentic jade jewelry, it’s absolutely crucial to purchase from reputable sources.

You should look for trusted online retailers, established jewelry stores, and certified jade dealers to find genuine jade items.

Always ask for certification and grading information to ensure you’re buying real jade or jadeite jewelry.

Some examples of reputable jewelers are Mason Kay and Baikalla.

How Much is Real Jade Worth?

The worth of real jade varies widely and factors such as how vivid the color is, clarity, size, and grade are all considered.

While some affordable jade pieces are available, the rarest and highest-quality jade, such as Imperial Jade, can be very expensive.

It’s essential to research and compare prices to determine the value of the jade you’re considering.

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