VIVID GREEN JADEITE
Color is Jadeite’s most crucial value factor as consumers traditionally associate Jadeite with the color green.
Jadeite’s most desirable color is, in fact, a very specific shade of green. The finest-quality jadeite - almost transparent with vibrant emerald-green color - is known as “Imperial jade.” It is one of the world’s most expensive gems, that can command millions of dollars in the marketplace.
Other highly valued jade varieties include “kingfisher jade,” with a green color that’s only slightly less vivid than Imperial; “apple jade,” which is an intense yellowish green; and “moss-in-snow jade,” which is translucent white with bright green veining, patches, or spots. The most outstanding examples of these are almost always bought and sold in the Asian market.
Lavender is the next most valuable color. Intense colors command a substantial premium over lighter and weaker colors. Black jade is also popular, along with orange to reddish jade, especially when these colors are not brownish.
Jadeite’s transparency ranges from completely opaque to semitransparent. The best jadeite is semitransparent, meaning the text you can read through it would be slightly blurred. Because light penetrates below the surface, semitransparent jadeite has an alluring brilliance. It almost appears to glow, increasing the charm of a lush green or rich lavender hue. The least desirable jadeites are completely opaque or have opaque or cloudy patches that break up their transparency.
To judge transparency, some buyers place a thin jadeite slice on a printed page and try to read the print through the gem. If the transparency is excellent, the viewer can see the print easily, even if the jadeite is dark green. Good transparency can sometimes compensate for lack of uniform color or low color saturation.
Jadeite has a smooth, even texture that makes people want to touch and hold it. Jadeite’s texture can be fine, medium, or coarse, depending on variations in crystal size and hardness. These texture categories are sometimes called, respectively, old mine, relatively old mine, and new mine.
The finest-quality jadeite is usually cut into cabochons for use in rings and other jewelry. When buyers judge cabochons, they consider symmetry, proportion, and thickness.
The Chinese eternity symbol, or bi, bears great spiritual significance for many jadeite connoisseurs. The shape is simple: a convex or plump disk with a round hole in its center. Ideally, the jadeite should be more than twice as wide as