A Traveller's Guide in Buying Jade in Beijing

In China, Jade is one of the most famous gemstone  a person could have. This precious stone can be green, white, orange or yellow and graded as high, medium or low.  Many people love jade as they are really beautiful and symbol as luck. There are many jades sold in the market, from jewelries to home ornaments, but sometimes it is difficult to differentiate if its made from pure and real jades. 

As one of our itenerary in the tour is going into a Jade factory in Beijing. Personally, I find this part of our tour tedious because I am not really a 'Jade-tic' person but since I paid for it, I am obliged to enter the Jade factory.

According to the woman who gave us lecture about this ornamental rock, Jade is two different metamorphic rocks that are composed of different silicate minerals. Only nephrites and jadeite are considered the real jades. Jadeite has the same hardness as quartz and Nephrites is slighlty softer but  it is tougher, meaning resistant to breakage than Jadeite. In China, Nephrite can be found in a creamy white form and they call it "mutton fats"jade, while Jadeite  comes from various color. Of the two jades, Jadeite is rarely found.

So heres a few quick test and observation you can conduct when buying a jade in the market.

Criteria 1: WEIGHT :Toss the stone in the air and catch it in your palms. 
REAL : Has very high density, which means it is somewhat heavier than any ordinary gemstone. 
FAKE : Almost always flimsy

Criteria 2: COLOR: Observe the stone and put it under a bright light.
REAL : You can find the stone equably, has glaze, and impure inside - it means it is natural.
FAKE : None.

Criteria 3: FEEL/TEXTURE: Hold the piece of jade in your hand. Does it feel cool to touch?
REAL : It should feel cold, smooth and somewhat soap-like. The real jade has excellent thermal conductivity and will remain cold for a long time.
FAKE : Warm up easily, it could be another type of rock or it is made up of glass.

Criteria 4: SCRATCH TEST: Use a sharp knife/metal of the scissors to scratch a piece of jade. If the scratch makes a white line in the jadeite/nephrite jade, wipe it off gently.
REAL : If there isn't a line left, it is for real.
FAKE : the scratch is still there after wiping it off.

STORY ON THE WAY: The Happiness Ball, according to locals is a lucky charm, inside of it has small circles carved like the one outside. The Majong box and Abacus are seriously heavy. When I grab it, I thought it was just an ordinary display but they are genuinely jade. The large sculptured frame-like dragons and the sculptured - white flower on my brothers' photo were made up of jade, it cost thousands of Chinese Yuan. And there's a rule : 'You grab, drop and broke any items, you pay for it' So if you're clumsy, you better be careful. 

Though, the tour was monotonous I find it knowledgeable and enjoyed the different and expensive jewelries of Beijing. I was entertained on how they designed and carved the rock and form it into a masterpiece. 

And I hope this  quick simple test will guide you in buying your jade in Beijing.

Share this: