An introduction to Jade – Feicui

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Jade Market (c) LinksmanJD"]Jade Market (c) LinksmanJD[/caption]

Everywhere in China you can find Jade. They sell it in street corners, in subway stations, in supermarkets, and in jewelry stores. Some Jade costs as little as 1 yuan and some as much as 100k+ yuan. Whether it’s black, blue, green, yellow or white, Jade is very shiny and alluring, though it’s often a mystery to foreigners and Chinese people alike. So how do you buy Jade without being cheated? I know it can be confusing so here is a brief introduction to “the king of Jade” that is Fěicuì.

Jade Market (c) LinksmanJD
Jade Market (c) LinksmanJD

Fěicuì

Not your typical blog post, but I hope you find it useful

Everywhere in China you can find Jade. They sell it in street corners, in subway stations, in supermarkets, and in jewelry stores. Some Jade costs as little as 1 yuan and some as much as 100k+ yuan. Whether it’s black, blue, green, yellow or white, Jade is very shiny and alluring, though it’s often a mystery to foreigners and Chinese people alike. So how do you buy Jade without being cheated? I know it can be confusing so here is a brief introduction to “the king of Jade” that is Fěicuì.

A Chinese proverb says “huángjīn yǒu jià yù wújià” – one can put a price on gold, but jade is priceless. Even though there is no “Jade standard” like gold, Feicui still has its price. Just like when buying clothes, you have to look at the textures and colors to judge the value. We call Feicui’s color “se,” and when we talk about texture, we refer to the “water” in the Jade. These two things, color and water, directly determine the value of Feicui.

When we talk about the type of Feicui, we refer to the degrees of density (the compression in the stone) and transparency (the clarity). Jewelry made from Feicui must be both dense and clear, as well hard and regal in appearance. Good Jade is dense or highly compact; bad jade is brittle and fractures easily. Feicui’s “water” denotes its level of transparency, a lot of water means high transparency while little “water” means low transparency. In the industry, when we talk about the type of “water” or “shuǐ zhōng,” we refer to the composition of the mineral crystals in the jade that can have clarity similar to different states of water.

There is a Chinese saying, “nèiháng kàn zhōng, wàiháng kàn sè” – an insider looks at kind, an outsider just looks at color. When an expert appraises jade, the texture and transparency of the water are first and foremost. It is the texture of the Jade that determines its kind or type. The color then improves upon the value of the Feicui. So don’t get too distracted by the pretty colors, you’ll want to make sure it’s a good stone first.

Feicui is not just green. Various combinations of chromium and iron give Feicui an array of colors from a rich emerald color, to a mild yellow or a bright violet, to a cool blue-green or a pale white and many more possible colors.

jade
The Many Colors of Jade

Colors of Jade:

  1. Imperial “Yàn lǜ”: This is the highest grade Feicui. This a bright life-giving green, a luxurious verdant green. One shade darker and it would be too blue; one shade lighter and it would be too pale. The transparency and luster of the water are particularly important in Imperial jade.
  2. Dense green “Nóng lǜ”: This is a viridian, deep green with a synthesis of blue or yellow. The age of the Jade affects it’s densitiy or compression, dense green comes in three varieties: old, semi-old, and new. Its water kind either has a clear quality like ice or an opaque quality like glutinous rice.
  3. Vivid Green “Yáng lǜ”: This is a bright green with a hint of yellow. It has very good water or good translucency.Imperial, Dense green, and Vivid green are the top three types of Feicui, and they are all similar in value. It is very rare to come across one of these three types of Jade and almost impossible to obtain. If you come across any jade on the street that claims to be one of these three, its probably a fake.
  4. Mung Bean Green “dòu lǜ”: This green has a hint of blue with a trace of yellow that give it a bold blue-green color. Of all of the Feicui colors, this is the most common.
  5. Apple green “nèn lǜ”: This is a delicate color of green; it is the green of a young grass sprouts or a bright green apple. Although it does not have a noble or imperial quality (not something you would see an Emperor wearing), it has a gentle and cute quality to it (popular among young girls). It usually has a lot of water and gives the effect of extreme softness and delicacy in its structure.
  6. Blue-green “lán lǜ”: This jade has a strong blue color with very little yellow. To have this blue-green color, the stone must be very old (highly compressed). It also has a lot of water. The texture, or pattern of interlocking mineral crystals, of the jade is very delicate. Blue-green Feicui is known for its very high quality bracelets and pendants.
  7. Oily Green “yóu qīng”:This green is almost too green. It looks very deep or dark in color.
  8. Life Green “shēng lǜ”: This is the green of life, like an unripe peach or like the oxidation on old bronze. The green color in this jade swirls around black or white colors like lightly stirred paint. It has little water or low transparency, and its texture or inner structure is slightly coarse and splintery.
  9. Kingfisher “fěi”: We say that Cui is green and Fei is red thus, Fei or kingfisher jade usually has red and yellow colors. The most prized Kingfisher jade is a fiery red, and it is also very expensive.
  10. Violet “chūn”: This is a moderate, light, or brilliant violet or purple. Since it is very rare, its worth even more than the green varieties of Feicui.
  11. Dark-green “mò cuì”: This is such a dark green that it appears black, but when illuminated with a light, the green shines through. The value of this stone has started picking up over the last few years and it has steadily increased ever since.
  12. Mottled Color “zá sè”:This refers to a kind of jade that is a combination of colors, for example “Chun dai cai” (purple and green), “happiness, position and longevity” (Five colors in one stone: red, Green, purple, yellow, white). The more colors in Feicui the rarer it is, and the more colors the higher the price.
glass

Water Kind:

Color needs a good base to be displayed properly; the base of the water kind is divided into the following categories:

  1. Glass “bōli”: The texture is as bright and clear as glass. It also appears as hard like glass. If you take a piece of Glass type Feicui to the page of a book, you will be able to read the words underneath.
  2. Ice “bīng”: This jade is clear but with a fine mist inside, like that of a piece of ice. It does not have the clarity or brilliance of Glass jade. If you take a piece of Ice jade to the page of a book, you will be able to see words underneath but not clear enough to distinguish them.
  3. Glutinous rice “nuò huà”: This is transparent and yet opaque, it gives a feeling of dense sticky rice cakes or pulled fluffy cotton. This white stuff does not make up more than 20% of the stone composition.
  4. Moss-in-Snow “bái dì qīng”: This jade has green floating on a white surface like green clouds on a white sky, or like green moss strewn on powdery white snow.
  5. Cyanine “huā qīng”: This jade is blue-green,the base color appears green but it is not distributed evenly. The texture is slightly coarse, and some Cyanine jade are completely opaque while others are completely transparent.
  6. Lotus root starch “ǒu fěn”: This jade appears luminous but it is actually rather dark, it appears transparent but it is rather opaque. It looks like a cloudy murky mess of 80% lotus root powder frozen in 20% water.
  7. Rice water “mǐ tāng”: This kind has many impurities; it is essentially not transparent. It is similar to the white murky liquid leftover when you put too much water in your steamed rice or make rice porridge.
  8. White base “bái dǐ”: This kind is not transparent; it has a lot what looks like cotton inside. It is white with other colors and has very poor water.
  9. Dry base “gān dǐ”:This kind has no water and very coarse texture.

The color and water have a mutual relationship, if there is both good color and good water then the value is immensely greater than if just one is good. For example, Dense green, Imperial, and Vivid green Feicui are all expensive on their own, but they all go up in price by tens or hundreds of thousands when they are the Glass variety. Equally, if the jade has beautiful color but is composed of a coarse texture, or has a delicate texture but poor color, the value is very low. There is Feicui that is worth hundreds to millions, and there is Feicui with poor color and poor texture that is not even worth 100 rmb.

At the same time, limited availability of raw materials means that small pieces of Feicui are easier to come across, while larger stones are harder to obtain. When looking at two pieces of Jade with the same water and color, the size will greatly influence the price. Moreover; the set, cut, finish, region, etc. will also influence the value of the jade.

B and C grade jade
B and C grade jade

Is it real or fake – the ABC’s of Feicui:

Everyone now has some idea as to how to recognize and judge the value of Feicui. Let us put aside discussion of cheap vs. expensive jade and move on to the more frightening matter of fake Feicui. Actually, when one says the words “fake jade” he is classifying himself as an amateur. Jade does not differentiate real vs. fake; it classifies Jade as A, B, C or B+C grade.

A Grade: Unprocessed, unaltered 100% natural Feicui. Natural jade that has only been polished in wax and undergone a heat treatment is known as A grade.

B Grade: Has undergone a bleaching process to clean the inside of impurities and inferior color. However, this process destroys the inner structure of the Feicui, leaving holes where the impurities used to be. These holes are filled with a type of clear polymer and then lacquered. This corrects all of the problems and leaves a highly transparent finished product that is known as B grade.

C Grade: It takes an already cut stone and adds color by dip-dying the stone. Color altered Feicui is known as C Grade.

B+C: After the Feicui has undergone an acid and alkali cleaning, it is dried and then dyed. This is called B+C Grade.

B, C and B+C appear brighter, clearer and have a rich color like the highest quality Feicui, but it is no longer a legitimate natural stone, it does not have the ability to maintain or increase in value. If you spend hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands on a B, C or B + C grade you are simply wasting money because it is not even worth 100 yuan. In addition, B, C or B+C are not durable; after a short time the polymer and inner structure breakdown, the color fades, and it cracks and breaks easily.

Now let me tell you the many ways to distinguish A grade from B grade, C grade, and B+C grade.

B grade’s water quality is a little muddled or cloudy, it looks a little like gelatin. If you use a magnifying glass to examine the texture, you will see obvious continuous sheets of small threads left over from the acrid erosion. B grade feels light in your hand. If you hit a B grade bracelet, it will resonate with a dull sounding “thud.”

A grade Feicui has distinctly different and separate colors within the stone; even though there will be some gradual changes in color, the color changes would never appear sloppy or blurred. In C grade jade, the man altered color flows along the holes left by the removed Feicui impurities and leaves patterns of visible threads.

Another simple distinguishing method is to spend a few yuan to buy a currency detector. Shine the detector’s small ultraviolet light on the Feicui, if you see fluorescent glow, then it is defiantly B or C grade, A grade does not change under the ultraviolet light.

Of course, the safest method is to go to a nationally certified institution to appraise the jade and obtain a certificate of authenticity.

We say there are “thirty two (kinds of) water,” “seventy two (kinds of) bean,” “a hundred and eight (kinds of) blue” which means there are many varied different kinds of Feicui. With so many varieties of Jade, there’s no way for anyone to know everything there is to know about jade. As for me, I just understand a little, after the course of a few years of experience and study, I have come to learn a thing or two about Feicui. I hope this has helped everyone feel a little more confident about buying Jade.

(note: My husband sells jade. He originally wrote this introduction to Feicui and I just translated it into English. Sorry if some parts sound a little awkward, some things are really hard to translate)

Talk on An introduction to Jade – Feicui


53 Comments
  1. Jade and nephrite are both sold in China as ‘zhen yu’, ‘genuine jade’. It was’nt until the beginning of the 1800’s that mineralogists and gemmologists started to differentiate between them, since they do look similar. However, jade is rare and nephrite is not.
    China still considers nephrite to be zhen yu – meaning they’ll give you a certificate of authenticity which won’t wash outside China.
    Jade is jade. Nephrite is nephrite. Two different stones.
    Ask your husband about nephrite. I find it amazing you didn’t mention that.

    • hey nedzer-bob-o here-first learn how to spell gemologist when you criticize others-secondly-i own two emperor’s netsukes-9 dragon-tomb relics-one of one pieces-so how much is your coa worth now?-this was a very cool informative article-ericka is learning-back off.one day you are gonna get a piece of jade-and it is gonna get a hold of you-disrespect any jade-in any way shape or form-and karma will be the shadow behind you-do not say you were not warned-of the mysterious and wonderful properties of jade-you need to learn of peace and respect for the stone-and for others-you will see-there are many unexplained instances-for those who respect jade for its beauty-or its power-good karma comes their way-but for those who disrespect the jade just because its composition does not suit your needs-and place a monetary value upon jade-well-bad karma comes to those people-you would probably enjoy a fine piece of nephrite-if truly had a clue as to what real jade is-i will pray for you-and hope you get a good old fashioned piece of powerful nephrite-so that you can see what i am talking about-it might even make you a nicer person-after all-good old nephrite pendandts get more compliments than jadeite.blessings to you and your family man-love,bob-o-:)

  2. Profile photo of Ericka

    Well, I was actually only writing about Feicui which is Jade. Most other “jade” falls under the category of nephrite. Going into the other stones would be another very long blog. Nephrite is also used more is larger sculptures than in jewelry. Certificates of authenticity don’t just simply state “jade,” they also tell you what kind (Feicui, Hetian, Lantian…) of Jade it is. From the type of Jade on the certificate, you can figure out if it is jade or nephrite.
    I’ll keep it in mind though if I decide to write more about jade.

    • Dear Ericka,
      Herewith this reply,I would like to say that your knowledge about jade and it’s matters is very broad and details. Your explanations and classifications of jade are very clear and brief. You’re doing a very good job. Your visualization toward Chinese culture and civilization is really a brightly description into Chinese live itself. The correlation between jade and the Chinese you successfully engaged,is really match with what people want to hear and to accept in their minds about jade existence. In other words, great job!
      I am myself,have some jade collections that might be not anyone get interested in. Even my husband,does not understand why I like jade so much. But,i love jade. Although my knowledge not as far and as clear as yours in definition, but I accept jade as how it is for me. Just simple,if I like it,then I buy it. That’s why when I read your explanation and your classification of jades, my eyes become widely open and my heart feels alive, I directly think that intact,there are so many kinds of jade in the world,how huge is Chinese culture and it’s correlation to jade. I feel that so many beauty inside jades that you have explore,oh that amazed me. And that experience could make everyone who likes jade jealous. Ericka, you are so lucky. Bless you with your article!
      Regards,
      Lisa

      • right on!its beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,wearer,or owner-except some old shaman carves-have more than beauty…blessings to you and your family lisa-love,bob-o-:)

  3. Interesting guide! I had no idea there was so much to know about jade.

    One thing that bothered me though: You repeatedly wrote “whole” when you meant “hole.” Sorry to nitpick.

  4. I see. Well seeing as you mentioned Lantian jade. Let me tell you about that – Lantian is a type of serpentine called tremolite, and is NOT JADE. It’s light blue and yellowish and is way softer than genuine jade. It comes from Lantian, Shanxi province.

    Let’s talk about some more bullshit from jade sellers in China.

    Does your husband sell “Nanyang jade”? That’s a white to light greenish mineral called saussurite, NOT JADE. Nanyang jade is also made from feldspar called plagioclase, NOT JADE. It comes from Nanyang, in Henan province – it’s also known as “Dushan Jade”.

    Now Jade sellers of “Peking jade” sometimes honestly tell you that it’s nephrite (Nephrite is NOT JADE) , but often it’s only applegreen colored serpentine or worse still green glass!

    They also sell Shanghai Jade. This is a mineral called steatite also known as talc, and it is NOT JADE.

    Another one (the fake list is endless)is “Shoushan Jade”, (also sold as “Shoushan Stone”) NOT JADE. It is mined from the village of Shoushan, and is really lava and crystalline ore. It doesn’t have a wide range of colors but it’s NOT JADE. This so called jade is the one you’ll see as very elaborate small sculptures (it’s easy to carve as it’s NOT JADE)

    “Soochow(Suzhou)jade” is really soapstone, bowenite,serpentine, or steatite, 100% NOT JADE. Their colors is mostly green, blue-green to greyishgreen.

    One more for the road – Xiuyan Jade. This is once again a serpentine and is NOT JADE. It comes from Xiuyan, Liaoning province

    This is China. Fakery is a common practice from toothpaste to tequila and jade has been faked for well over a 1000 years. It’s a practiced art both mining, carving and selling.

    My name is Nedzer and I’ve worked as a jeweller for 19 years on three continents. I have a healthy disrespect for jade sellers and I have a feeling I’m only getting warmed up on the subject. Then again I’m “jaded” on the fakery in China.

    The word “Jaded” has nothing to do with Jade.

    • nedzer-you sure do know how to push people’s buttons-especially in a peaceful forum-you would not know a piece of jade-if it hit you in the head-and it most certainly will-and if it does not-your favorite piece of jade-will suddenly fall from the shelf-and break in two-saddest part is-you would only be sad about your investment-where others would be devastated because of reasons you will never know.wow.

    • Nedzer, I’ve been doing a lot of study on “Jade” lately, and I came across most of the information you listed here, all the people selling “Jade” and not listing the actual semi-precious stone. It’s pretty bothersome, and when you find someone who legitimately sells them as what they are, they all tend to be overly priced. Like we’re paying for the honesty as well.

      I don’t really care if the item I buy isn’t Jadeite or Nephrite, as long as it fits my taste and purposes and I know what it is so I can decide that way. If someone worked hard creating a work of art, than it has it’s own meaning, despite being Jadeite or not. I’ve noticed some other stones actually look better than Jadeite to me, I prefer the milky colored greens and blues and like to avoid the bright, translucent greens.

      I also notice that a lot of “Jade” items being sold that have ornate metal filigree type designs all seem to be taken apart, and the “Jade” replaced with cheaper versions and shoddily welded back together. I still like to buy some of these items anyway, since they tend to be very cheap but still have cultural significance and beauty to them. It’s just sad that greed has to drive people to the point of losing that perspective.

      The one thing I wanted to comment about was that you called Nephrite “NOT JADE”, which is not true. The only two gemstones that are technically considered Jade are Jadeite and Nephrite, despite the fact that they are both completely different compositions chemically.
      But it wasn’t until the 19th century that some French mineralogist distinguished between the two. Before that Jadeite and Nephrite were both considered the same stone. And they are both today still considered under the title of “Jade”. In fact, Nephrite’s name came from Jadeite’s latin name: lapis nephriticus.

      But aside from that, lots of good basic information here about the different types of Jade-like stones. I’ve been trying to find a good visual comparison but no one seems to have a full collection of these stones, like Jadeite, Nephrite, Serpentine, Zoisite, saussurite and any of the others. Many guides don’t have the actual physical looks of the stones, they just describe them, which makes it a little difficult when buying online.

  5. Profile photo of Ericka

    Wow, you do know a lot about those other stones! You could probably explain how sellers trick people better than I can. I haven’t really run into jade sellers lying about the kind of stones, but I guess it’s hard lie about what you are selling when you go directly to Lantian or Henan.
    I have seen the glass they try to pass of as jade though, but mostly I have just seen Jade in stores that obviously had color added. That really pisses me off because they want outragous prices for them! At least the glass ones are are usually pretty cheap. I can relate to your disrespect for stone/jewelry sellers in china, I used to work for a jewelry company in America and we had some items assembled in China and the factory stole our good rubies and replaced them with really crappy ones that we couldn’t even sell on clearance prices! Not everyone is crooked though.
    My husband really only deals with Feicui so that’s what I know the most about. I’ve never really thought that much about people getting cheated by buying for example Lantian yu, because it’s all dirt cheap! I suppose it all depends on why you are buying something. Most of my foreign friends who come to visit really like the non-feicui bracelets and teapots and such, but none of them really care about jade, they just think the things are cheap and pretty. I personally really like some of the other stones even if they aren’t valuable, it actually makes me feel better if I aciddently break one!
    I can see your point about misnomers though. It’s probably more of a translation problem since any pretty stone can actually be called “Yu” or jade in Chinese – “shi zhi mei zhe ze wei yu” 石之美者则为玉. It’s kind of like how any thing on wheels is called 车 or car in Chinese, or how we can call any food long and stringy noodles in English but Chinese has no one word to describe it. Also nephrite translates to 软玉 or soft jade in chinese. I don’t see a problem with the Chinese calling all of those stones Jade because it’s their culture and language not mine. It is a little confusing since these other kinds of “jade” have only become popular in recent years. In this sense, selling the other stones as “Jade” does seem a little like it’s cheating people who want to buy a cultural souvenir.
    If you speacialize in selling precious stones, I can also see why you would get angry at the common use of the word Jade.

  6. It’s in fact not hard for sellers to lie if you go to Lantian.
    No one is going to mention it’s not jade. No one Their livelyhood is in not telling people it’s lava.
    There are massive credibility issues in regards to any certificate about jade. Think about it – if a dodgy dealer is already bullshitting about their fake jade, nothing stops him giving you fake certifications. Most jeweler associations (n China) are in collusion with the (fake)jade sellers and issue genuine certifications for non-jade pieces. The certificate is genuine in the sense that it comes from a real gemmoligial institiute – but it still means nothing. Bottom line here is paper does not refuse ink – certificates are not to be relied on.
    Having said that, certificate you can trust is the “Gemological Institute of America” (GIA). Unfortunately you won’t find them in China in regards to jade..

    On buying so called antique jade…

    China enforces what is called the “National Antique Law”. Meaning jade or any antiques for that matter made earlier than 1795 is absolutely, absolutely forbidden. Jade dated between 1796 and 1949 requires a red seal and a “Relic Export” certificate from the Beijing Cultural Relics Bureau. So if it’s old you can’t buy it without the proper paperwork. It’s a nice little trip to a PSB holding cell.

    My top five favorite gemstones commonly sold as jade in any highstreet or backstreet store. They come with certificates too.

    My number one is agate, particularly the moss agates or white agates. Clear agates are often carved into little buddhas. They polish up well and are hard like jade. The also can be easly dyed a perfect feicui color. They are a teeny fraction of the cost of the real thing but sold for much, much more.

    Green aventurine is also sold as jade. Also, aventurine that is dyed purple sells well on the market as jade.

    Chalcedony is another type of quartz that is sold as many types of jade.

    Chrysoprase is bright green and can be very clear. It is also sold as jade, and since it is very hard (like jade)it can be difficult to tell the difference. It’s a beautiful stone but is far, far cheaper than jade.

    Jasper
    Jasper is a another type of quartz. The color is usually red, orange, yellow or brown. Jasper is sold as jade at a tiny fraction of the real deal.

  7. I just looked up wikki (I expecting the usual bullshit about lantian jade and so on) but I was shocked to see they got it right.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_jade
    Faux jade
    In almost all dictionaries, the Chinese character ‘yù’ (玉 is translated into English as ‘jade’. However, this frequently leads to misunderstanding: Chinese, Koreans, and Westerners alike generally fail to appreciate that the cultural concept of ‘jade’ is considerably broader in China and Korea than in the West. A more accurate translation for this character on its own would be ‘precious/ornamental rock’. It is seldom, if ever, used on its own to denote ‘true’ jade in Mandarin Chinese; for example, one would normally refer to ‘ying yu’ (硬玉, ‘hard jade’) for jadeite, or ‘ruan yu’ (軟玉, ‘soft jade’) for nephrite. The Chinese names for many ornamental non-jade rocks also incorporate the character ‘yù’, and it is widely understood by native speakers that such stones are not, in fact, true precious nephrite or jadeite. Even so, for commercial reasons, the names of such stones may well still be translated into English as ‘jade’, and this practice continues to confuse the ill-advised.

  8. Profile photo of Ericka

    To be perfectly honest, if this really is an industry you have been in for 19 years, why did it take you this long to look up the definition of Jade?
    As you can see “Yu” encompases more than just what you consider to be Jade in Chinese. Since Jade isn’t really more a part of any culture other than that of the chinese, and the chinese consider more than just jedite to be “yu” than there they are not cheating people buy selling “Lantian yu” because that is what it is in chinese. If you are interested enough about the value of the stone, then you could look up what lantian yu is and realize it is tremolite (I’m sure anyone coming to china to make an expensive jade purchase will research it a bit). They aren’t selling anything “fake” as you called it because they didn’t make the stone themselves, it’s still a natural stone and it’s still called “yu”.
    If you are complaining about them cheating people because they use the word “Jade” in English, well, I’ve never spoken english with anyone who sells jade so I don’t really know what words they use, but I honestly doubt they know the words tremolite or nephrite in English. I’m pretty sure they just know that “yu” is jade. I’ve also never seen a certificate of authenticity written in English so I don’t know if they write the English word Jade or not. I believe that Chinese certificates of authenticity wouldn’t hold up in other countries because no chinese certification, including a college degree, really does, but that is for many various reasons. Most certificates of authenticity should be good enpugh though, they’ll tell you the weight and density, type of “yu,” and whether or not it’s a natural stone or has been altered. They should also give you a tracking number that you can verify online. The institutes that issue those certificates are not cooked because they depend on their reputation to survive. You could do some research to find a highly reputable one.
    If someone sells you “Lantian Yu” or even “Mo yu,” they aren’t cheating anybody because they are telling you exactly what it is, they are “Lantian Yu” or even “Mo yu”. Also if they tell you they are selling “Chinese Jade,” they are not cheating you either because here, the use of the word Chinese denotes that they are refering to the Chinese usage of the word jade, aka “yu,” which encompasses many different stones found in China.
    You can be jaded as you called it and think that the whole country is out to cheat you by selling you Jade that isn’t Jadeite, or you can realize that it is their culture and language and if they think of Lantian yu as jade then it is, at least while in china.
    The other “yu” are mostly used in crafts like intricate dragon boats or large sculptures; their vaule is more in the craftsmanship than in the stone. I’ve seen amazing sculptures made of Dandong yu that sell for a fair amount of money and it’s not because Dandong yu is a rare stone.
    Many Chinese people wear Lantian yu necklaces and bracelets, especially in the Xi’an area. It is still a part of the culture whether or not it is a valuable stone by your standards. Most foreigners who come to china want to buy jade because it is cultural and not because of the value of the stone. In the summer, lantian yu stays just as cold as feicui and makes creat seat covers! It’s true that most people realize that the other yu’s are as valuable, that should be obvious by the price. A Lantian yu bracelet is commonly sold for 10 yuan and you can bargin it down to 5. Obviously, no one buying a 5 yuan lantian yu bracelet is going to think that isn’t a priceless stone, but it’s a little piece of culture. If they jack up the price for foreigner for the other jades, well they do that with T-shirts and everything else too, you just have to be prepared for it.
    I’m sorry if you’ve had bad experiences in China, but you should really try to understand that not everything is as simple as real or fake and not everything has to be rare to have value.

  9. Nope, I don’t have a problem with China. I have a problem with you. Yes you. The person who writes a blatantly biased blog on how her husband sells a bit of jade and that jade being only the best quality. You state it’s your husbands business and you are only translating his words. You also mention he only deals with quality jade. All of which is lies. You’re a seller of faux jade for crying out loud! You and your husband. It’s your business!
    The article is extremely unbalanced – you fail to inform readers about the realities of buying jade in China or the problems in translating the word “YU” into English.
    Why? You and your husband set up stores selling large quantities of faux jade about 3 years ago. 1st company in Shenzhen, 2nd company in Weifang and currently you are in Qingdao. That’s 3 stores you failed to mention.
    Did you or did you not on your first business transaction sell sixty tons of jade to a cutter in Guangzhou? SIXTY TONS!
    You also failed to mention that you primary sales are in fact Lantian jade (which is faux jade) and not feicui as stated in your article above.. I’d also strongly believe that those sixty tons of rock were Lantian jade as you studied at Shanxi Normal University which is not far from Lantian.
    The Jade trade in China has a huge amount of jargon that bamboozles normal Chinese customers. Now add to that if you start selling to Americans. You can get away with selling faux “YU” to the locals (in their culture it’s all jade) but when you start shifting it to Americans it’s misrepresenting the product you sell.

  10. Nedzer, it’s rare that I have to go and call someone a dick twice. Not because I have any persuasive powers or anything like that… just generally they fuck off or I do before we get there again.

    Here’s the thing – I like commentary, I like opinions and I don’t have any need for everyone to agree with each other – but you continually attack and belittle people on this blog with bullshit accusations that make you sound like a complete dick. I’d like to think you’re not a dick, and that for some reason it escapes you that the way you act online should marginally reflect who you are in real life. But then, maybe this is how you are in real life – and if it is, I’m sorry, truly. But such are your problems, not mine. What is mine is your behavior on my blog. So, if it continues… well, it won’t continue.

    You don’t have to agree, and you’re more than welcome to share your thoughts and enlighten us all on how amazingly brilliant you are about pretty much every subject that has ever been written about. However, if you personally attack anyone again – you’re done here.

    … now, a couple things.

    1. Ericka doesn’t try to sell anything, nor does she even link to her and her husband’s business in this post. She is simply sharing information that, as a person in the jade business, she’s interested in. Not seeing the harm.

    2. The information she provides is informative and as unbiased as needs to be to fit the very loose requirements around here – this is a blog after all. You do understand what a “blog” is right? It is “biased” by its very nature. It’s like saying that the editorial section of a newspaper has too much opinion in it for your liking.

    3. Ericka asked me if this post was suitable, and I (being that it is my site) told her it was. I have no connection to her business, nor do I have any connection to any jade selling business – I just liked the information. If you don’t like the content on this site, take it up with me, or fuck off, or both. But don’t libelously attack the people who are essentially donating their time to share their thoughts and experiences with the readers here.

    • ryan-you are the man-i agree with everything you said-you maintain a great sense of cool-because i started to get so upset with this asshole’s comments-i am not going to tell you what i would do to a guy like this-what a jerk-this is a forum-his parents must have not taught him anything about being polite yet assertive-karma is definitely gonna catch up with this guy-and for the record-i am glad to purchase his so called fake jades(shoushan/nephrite/etc)-because i purchase them for their artistry-their beauty-and their luck-this guy will never amount to anything-that this world cares about-blessings to you and your family-bob-o-:)

  11. @Ericka, now that Nedzer has needlessly flamed you, you are now officially a member of the LLW Writer’s Guild. Welcome! He does it to all of us…

  12. Profile photo of Ericka

    Sigh, I guess I really shouldn’t have bothered to reply to your comments, but it really bothers me that you say all of those people are lying and cheating. Luckly, most Feicui comes from Myanmar, so you don’t have any reason to buy Jade from the chinese people you apparently hate so much.

    By the way, Lantian is in Shaanxi province and not in Shanxi. The quarry wasn’t in either province.

  13. Regarding jade in China, namely antique jade, I was under the impression that much fled the country during the 1930s and 1940s to end up with extended family members in Thailand and Myanmar for safe keeping. I wonder how much has made it’s way back to the mainland over the past 2 decades, and how much hasn’t?

  14. Profile photo of Ericka

    @Alex

    There probably was some antique Feicui that was “lost” during the revolution. I’m sure that a lot of people who possessed valuable Feicui took it with them when they fled the country, but it’s hard to say how much was taken. I haven’t heard about feicui being taken to Thailand, but I have heard that some of those misplaced pieces made their way to either Hong Kong or Singapore. The Feicui mountain mines in Myanmar used to be a part of China until Zhou Enlai gave them to Myanmar, so I doubt feicui was lost there.

    During the 30’s and 40’s Feicui surged in its popularity due to Song Meiling, the wife of the republic’s president Jiangjieshi. So at this time, there was a lot of Feicui around in China, and since Feicui didn’t become largely produced until around the 1970’s, it must have been more “antique”.

    If any feicui was retrieved from abroad, I’m sure it was placed in a museum so you could research the museums in China and Hong Kong.

    • NOT TO FORGET-THOSE WHO LOVE AND BELIEVE IN JADE-GET HOOKED UP WITH KILLER JADE-AND JADEITE-THE SAME WAY TREASURE DIVERS LIKE MEL FISCHER HERE IN FLORIDA-OR DOMINIC ADDARIO-STUMBLE UPON THE SUNKEN SHIPS-IN FIFTEEN FEET OF WATER-IMAGINE HOW MANY PIECES OF EIGHT ARE FORGED AND COPIED-THEN IMAGINE LIVING FIVE MINUTES FROM THE WRECK-AND HAVING THEM GIVE SOME TO YOU…BLESSINGS ERICKA-TELL YOUR HUSBAND BOB-O SAYS HELLO-YOU GUYS ARE GREAT-I ENJOY EVERY ARTICLE YOU WRITE-AS OUT OF EACH ONE-I ALWAYS LEARN SOMETHING THAT I DID NOT KNOW-BEFORE I READ THE ARTICLE-NEPHRITE,LANTIAN,HETIAN(MY FAVORITE-WHITE FAT MUTTON HETIAN)-IT IS ALL JADE TO ME-GOOD LUCK,BLESSINGS,AND PEACE-IS ALL IT HAS BROUGHT TO ME-I THOUGHT I COULD SELL IT AND TURN IT FOR PROFIT-I BOUGHT IT FOR THE LAST FOUR YEARS WHILE THREE GORGES WAS GOING UP-TURNS OUT I JUST LOVED IT AND KEPT IT.I GUESS THAT IS HOW THE GOOD JADE WORKS.I SELL A STATUE OR TWO A YEAR-AND NO LONGER WORK A DAY JOB.I JUST PLAY MUSIC-SELL GUITARS-AND A STATUE HERE AND THERE.

      • Profile photo of

        Hey bob-o — please no ALL CAPS and no threats (ie. the now deleted reply to Nedzer’s 2-year-old comment where you mention motorcycle gangs and witchcraft).

      • ryan-bob-o here-my sister is passing from a vicious cancer battle-it has kinda increased my alcohol intake-so sorry if i offended anybody in the forum-it is the first and only forum i have ever participated in-as i am not real good with computers either-sometimes when i have one too many-and i see or read something that is mean towards others-i tend to not realize i am in an open forum-but i do remember saying”oh shit” the next day-when i saw i had replied to a statement that was two years old.oh well-i am me.as far as capitals go-i could not even see the letters i was typing-they were doubled and blurry-cause i lost my glasses that night too-hence-the capitals-and strong language that i may have used on that guy nedzer-once again-my apologies for for breakin’ the rules-i’ll start just readin’ the stuff in your forum until my sister passes.blessings to you and your family-love,bob-o-i really didn’t mean to offend anyone but nedzer-:)

  15. Just wanted to thank Ericka for the great information on Jade. Hard to imagine someone getting so upset about it!

    I just bought a Jadeite bangle bracelet online, and I can appreciate how difficult and confusing the topic is. It took me days just to figure out what was really worth the money. There are alot of sites and info on how to identify true Jadeite, but not much on what the color patterns mean or what they may enhance for the wearer (love, happiness, balance, etc). I’d love to hear more from you rearding this and maybe what the average price is in the US. My bangle cost 240$, and that seemed about right.

  16. Nedzer,ericka,Ryan and others:
    I am impressed by your writing, regardless some unrelated discuss about ericka’s family business, which I personally have no interest at all. I would say I learned a lot from here. The first thing, I have to thank Nedzer, is I will not purchase Jade,as it’s named, in my life. Why? Think about the complexity and the story around it makes me sick. I would relate the greedy, the blood and lot of other negative things to today’s Jade and keep away from those things. Still, the academic term and knowledge keep my curiosity alive – that’s it.
    Your knowledge and your good heart will be the real Jade – how’s that sounds?

  17. I thought that Nephrite and Jadeite where the only two stones still considered true Jade, at least by the rest of the world. Before Jadeite was even discovered Nephrite was used in ancient China, and was considered valuable and adorned the palaces. How can a stone that was considered this valuable be dismissed because Jadeite came along? I understand that a newer more beautiful stone may have been discovered but does this mean that all the items that came from ancient China, made of Nephrite, now have no value? Confused

  18. Profile photo of Ericka

    @Brenda, this was a confusing argument.
    Nephrite and Jadeite are both considered true Jade.
    The problem is, as you said, there were many other stones that are called Jade in Chinese and were very valueable before these stones were discovered. This is especially true if you go back before the Shang dynasty where you will find many carvings of gods and face painting stones made from something called “qing yu.” These stones have cultural and historical value but the stones themselves have no value in western countries. Within the asian culture, all of the stones refered to as “jade” (in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) are valuable, but with no international standard or cultural value in the West only Nephrite and Jadeite are considered even a little valuable.

  19. I bought a piece, rather large and heavy, which I thought was beautiful. I was told it was jade. It is not. Probably feldspar. But here is my question: even though it is not jade, it seems to be hand carved with great detail. That must hold some value. What do you think?

  20. Profile photo of Ericka

    @Patrick
    As a general rule, large pieces are not made from Feicui since it is too valuable a stone. Even the thickness of a bracelet could indicate that it is not Feicui. Look for Feicui in mostly jewelry and *small* carved sculptures. Small sculptures will be made from less valuable Feicui so if it has good color or clarity and it is a sculpture, it is probably not Feicui.

    Another rule is that most artisans won’t take the time to carve a worthless stone. This means if there is really good workmanship on it, it’s probably fairly valuable (keep in mind larger pieces are easier to carve than smaller ones and most of the bulk of carving is done by machines today with intricate details done by hand).

    Slightly contradictory – Some unique Jade (non-feicui) pieces actually fall under the category of crafts or art rather than precious stones because the workmanship on them is more valuable than the stones themselves (similar to the value of those peach pits carved by Chinese monks).

    These rules don’t apply to (old) artifacts as the stones used then were usually of lesser quality by today’s standards and without modern carving tools, less intricately carved.

    I’ve seen a lot of Jade imposers in America that are beautiful (machine carved) but don’t look like natural stone and are fairly expensive. If you like it and think it looks good, then it is worth whatever you paid. Natural stone increases in value the longer you have it; altered stone decreases. If it is one of kind it is more likely to be valuable.
    I hope this helps you.

  21. Hi everyone, I just happened to visit this blog while surfing for on-line jade purchases. Thank you Ericka for the information. Btw, I am Chinese and I tend to agree with the point of view that most Chinese know what they are in for when they purchase jade. My mother has many jade pieces with her and to be honest, many of these would not qualify as “jade” in the true sense but they have a value to us (other than for the obvious sentimental reasons as they were passed down from my grandmother). Most Chinese wear or collect jade because of its “good luck” and auspicious value, also for the value of its carving and not for the aim of reselling it unless you mean the expert collectors. I have been wearing my jade bangle for a long time and even if it is discovered to be “fake”, it does not mean any less to me.

    Most jade sellers and buyers operate on a “you yuan” or “having fate” with the stone concept…you buy it if it gives you “that feeling” and because it is beautiful and you like it. You pay what you think it is worth. There are of course those that quote you a high price and this is where this blog helps you. A jade seller I go to has sold me a xiu yu bracelet and he tells me that it is not fei cui, it is xiu yu and the price reflects that. No way would anyone mistake a stone of the same look and appearance at that price to be fei cui.

  22. sorry but just to add on…nowadays, “bing zhong” or icy jade or even water jade is very popular with the younger folks but for the older people, bing zhong jade has no value, for them the value is in green jade..so everything is relative…jade is something that cannot be assessed like diamonds or gold..the value is in the eye of the beholder

  23. Dear Ms. Erica, I really amused after I have read your article,that intact there are so many kinds of jade names. I’ve never heard about the categorization as clear and as historical as you mention in your article. You are really great in this field,especially you as a foreigner(if I’m not mistaken),can dig deeply into other’s culture. Yap,deepin my heart I really feel salute to you! Honestly! I am Chinese since I was born,but never know so much about the culture like you did. From your useful and rich article now I can see how various and multiple my Chinese culture is. Especially in this jade field that I really attracted in. I am still an amateur in knowing the types of jade. Would you mind if I ask you help me and give me expertise advice toward my bangles? These are mine that I bought from jade supplier around my country,but I really confused whether these bangles are belong to jade category, or another stones. But where can I attach pictures or where can we dicussed about jade in your website? Sorry,I still new to all of these stuffs. Thank you. Best regards, Anelis

  24. Hi there — if i were to send you a picture via email of jade pendants i have…would you be able to “guestimate” what i have? i live in Orlando Florida and believe it or not…cannot find ANYONE who can tell me what my pendants are. My dad bought them for me about 35 years ago while stationed in Korea…they are very special to me and are simply gorgeous. I’m curious to know what kind of jade they are…i’m clueless where to go at this point. Many thanks! Susan

    • Hey Susan, I am not in the business but have pretty good knowledge about Jadeite. You can send me photo and I’ll have a look. Photos should be taken from different angles, and must be as clear as possible. Better in the midday sun light, instead of lamp. Also better use white background.
      Email: goal1860@hotmail.com

  25. hi you guys-bob-o here-i left a reply for ryan-now i see i can leave one in the forum-that guy was so rude-and had no respect for all the people in this forum trying to learn and share ideas-it is clearly evident that he only lives for money -he must not care about artistry or respect for anyone-personally i believe there is one jade that is the best in the world-a good jade is one you like-period.i like the fake jades-as this jerk calls them-shoushan,serpentine,xiuyan,dushan-i have several masterpieces in my collection-their detail in carving is amazing and intricate-and for the record-i have never lost a dime selling my jade pieces to anyone-feel free to visit my store-jupiterislandtrading.com-blessings to you and your families-bob-o-:)

  26. Ericka,
    You say that you should buy jade from a certified institution. Could you recommend some good stores in Shanghai. I have been trying to find a good place to buy a nice jade bracelet for my mom. I really enjoyed your article and it has helped me to better understand what I am buying. But I have been having trouble finding a good store to buy from. Thanks

  27. Peace. Thank you very much for the information therein.
    As a jadeite (and nephrite) enthusiast, the info provided here is very valuable (especially as it is in English), and after coming across other sources of info, I would say, accurate.
    Will be re-reading this blog to absorb more of the market-based terms used for the jadeite trade.

    I am always on the look out for good A jade (within my budget range), so would greatly appreciate it if you could provide recommendations to sellers in Guangzhou, Shenzhen or HK which are reputable and trustworthy (if any).

    It has been a great pleasure to have finally found this blog. Thank you very much.

  28. I specialize in Nephrite. The conversation on this blog has been entertaining. Almost everyone here has made accurate comments, even the rude one. One of the problems is that we are in the information age and cultures are diverging all the time. Especially here in the U.S.A. Jade, has been defined here as either Jadeite or Nephrite but as mentioned, the language translation confusese other materials as Jade. Sellers here in the US are constantly challenged with pricing because of things called Jade but are not. It can be very frustrating to the seller and the buyer. Other cultures have embraced “Jade” besides China. One in particular is New Zealand. They have a rich culture of nephrite jade. I personally collect jade (nephrite) from the ocean at a place where the continential plates collide. A very rare and very powerful place. The jade I collect comes in all different colors and qualities. Very unique as many places on this planet where nephrite is found do not have many different colors. We have some colors here that are truely astounding and not well know around the world. The really high quality material is rare but it does exist. I only get irritated when I hear nephrite is not quality jade and not worth much. I think there is a misunderstanging out there. Nephrite is not nearly as rare as Jadeite, true, but high quality nephrite might be close to the rarity of high quality Jadeite.

  29. We got some antique beads (excavated) which glow in the dark, no UV light necessary. We want to know if these are fake or if there is some low level of radiation causing them to glow. Please advise.

  30. Thanks ! AT LAST !!!! I have identifies an engimatic pendant bought from a Manchu Imperial Court nobleman in Peking in 1912 0r 1913 by my grandfather, and al these years I thought its Amber Deep Fiery Red transparent, but on your guidelines its seems to Fei Kingfisher, as its clear transparent, with yeloow in the center, when shined with light through. MoH 7.121
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=306575359415101&set=a.306575252748445.70768.100001879197465&type=1&theater

    Now I am trying to indentified another known jadeite sculpture of Kwan Yin, but in multiple colors MoH 7.213
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.194037767335528.47533.100001879197465&type=3

  31. The jade for Chinese is just like the dimonde for Americans. It’s really interesting to meander around the famous markets in China, like the Silk Market in Beijing, aka Silk Street and observe all the different qualities of China jade being sold. But it is important that you have to know how to indentify the fake one among lots of jades on the markets.

  32. My family has kept mutton white jade for several hundred years. This is the way to truely know what you have. Documented provenance helps identify where and when the Jade came from and entered a family. True Mutton White Jade with a High Polish carved by hand is easily identifiable once you handle it enough. The 2-6 Inch carvings of plants and animals are my favorite, especially when the craftsman took the time to carve 360 degrees, not just flat on the bottom. In the 18th and early 19th century, craftsman took their time and made some lovely pieces. If you are looking for some great jade, I hear there will be come Superb White Mutton pieces at Michaan’s Auction House in December 2012. I know I will be looking at those…maybe bidding… I love Jade!

  33. Another thing: If people are puzzled about the constant use of ‘Imperial Jade’ they may think it’s just a sales technique to sell high grade Jadeite. Not necessarily so. During China’s Imperial past any good stone-of any kind-was submitted to the imperial palace to be selected or rejected. Nevertheless the stone had passed through the imperial palace.

    In museums it used to be common to see turquoise, lapis lazuli, and sundry other stones in the jade collection.

    Is the author sure that jadeite grade A is so hard to find?

  34. dear nedzer

    stop being an obnoxious idiot

    jadeite =/= nephrite, no shit we all know that

    but jade encompasses both albeit one is rarer

    the word yu’s even broader, and poorly translated and interpreted by the likes of you

  35. i have a GIA certificate for a nephrite Jade owner claims it is avery old antique appraised by an appraiser by the name of David N. Radinsky which he claims he is an appraiser i tried to verify him i couldn’t i told my friend that it looks like a scam
    as the appraisal signed by him says that is an anticraft piece carved over 2200 years it is a portrait of Emperor Qin Shi hUANGDI.
    PLEASE CAN ANYBODY HELP

  36. Actually neprite is considered as real jade! Jaeite is also jade and it is harder and more expensive than nephrite. and taking note that nephrite has value fyi it is just cheaper than jadeite

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