Jade is very popular today and this popularity is only going up. Unfortunately this means that people will often try and scam you when selling Jade. They may use a variety of methods, because the world of Jade is intricate and has many factors to consider. But don’t feel overwhelmed - read this guide to be prepared and confident, whether you’re at a stall in a Jade Market or you’re in a top jewellers office!
Do your research to learn as much about Jade as you can. The more knowledge you have, the more you will be able to protect yourself against scammers. Learn about the different factors that go into valuing Jade - see our blog post here - and about the different types and colours of Jade - another post here - so you can first get more information about what your preferences are. The world of Jade is fascinating and intricate, and knowledge is power.
On the one hand, there is being scammed into buying fake or low quality Jade, and on the other, there is simply overpaying for Jade that's good, but not great. Not all Jade is equal, so it makes sense to start out with knowing what factors to pay attention to when hunting the best Jade.
Weight - Truly high quality Jade should be dense and heavy, not light. In fact, the heavier the better.
Color - This depends on the color, but generally the deeper and richer the better, especially when it comes to green jade.
Texture - If your jade is rough, beware. Jade should be smooth and if it’s high quality, have a slightly waxy feel.
Translucency - Jade should seem to suck in the light, and almost glow from within. Lower quality jade is dull or cloudy.
Hardness - Although true jade is dense and heavy it is also very hard. Again, it might not be good to try and break the jade you are inspecting to see if you want to buy it, so one thing you can try is to gently scratch the jade on a piece of glass - jade is harder than glass, so if it is real it will leave a mark on it. (make sure to ask the store owner if it’s OK before scratching their glass counter, though!)
Jade Artisan’s Icy Jadeite Ring with Diamonds: Purest white jade boldly placed sideways on a bed of circular diamonds. A contemporary statement radiating vitality and uniqueness.
Unscrupulous merchants will use a variety of methods to cheat you in the Jade market. As mentioned before, the best weapon is just learning more about Jade, but there are also some common tricks and techniques scammers will use that you should know about.
Selling straight up fake jade - There are actually many cases where people will try and sell fake jade, often using green glass, or just taking another stone that has actually been dyed green. Don’t worry though! Use the tips above and you’ll be able to identify this.
Selling treated jade as untreated - Jade is sometimes treated with chemicals, heat or dye to prevent a crack from getting worse or to improve the colour and smoothness of the Jade. While this is not necessarily a problem when the Jade is of middling quality, it certainly is a problem when it’s sold as untreated Jade. Higher quality jade is never treated. The best way to spot treated jade is to look for those cracks and fissures and to also inspect it for changes in color.
Taking it to a gemologist is the best option, but if that isn’t an option, you can always try the scratch test.
To perform the scratch test, take a needle, nail or other sharp object and scratch the surface of the jade. Be gentle, because although true jade is hard to scratch it is possible. If done gently, the scratch will be very shallow and will not cause damage. If the stone is fake, however, it will leave a deep scratch and the stone will be permanently damaged.
This method may be more suited to the jade market than the jewelry store, but an honest jade dealer should usually be prepared to perform this well known test, although they may prefer to do it themselves in the name of safety.
(Photo credit: MAJORIE CHIEW)
The final tip is to investigate the dealer themselves. Ask other customers - find out their reputation.One way is to ask for references from other customers. Another way is to check online reviews. Finally, you can ask for proof of their credentials, such as a membership in a professional organization and proof of their credentials such as the International Jade Association. For higher value pieces, the item itself should also have a certificate of authentication. Sometimes the certificate might come from the dealer himself. If they don’t have a testing gemstone laboratory, a certificate from a third party testing laboratory will be more credible.
We hope this article gives you some good insights and boosts your confidence buying jade at the jade market. If you find this article useful, please share the link with your friends and family. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out - you can find ways to contact us here.