Chinese appreciate fine jade as much as a Westerner love diamonds, ruby and emerald taken together.
In Bangkok, one may ID the Chinese traders by their massive jade rings, and if you know how to value imperial jade (a long shot), you may also judge their financial status, at least as far as they want to show it, which is usually pretty far and further. Buddhism as religion does not hinder egos from expanding endlessly.
The finest translucent, vivid green, imperial jadeite jade cabochons from Burma sell for prices of new cars, and not the cheap brands. It is hardly possible to understate the importance of jade in Chinese history, which as everybody today should know, reaches as far back as our western civilization.
Books of bamboo stripes, not in our languages, have been filled with facts and poetry about this miraculous gem, hence we should not assume to understand much without years of study. Hence, allow me a short incomplete overview:
The premium jadeite is green, again chromium is the coloring agent, but it is also found in white, pink or other colors.
Its value is determined by
- color, beating emerald if at its best, pure green in medium tone and a color-distribution ideally free from what would be called color-zoning in other gemstones
- transparency, from opaque to almost transparent, with inclusions, the less the better, playing an important role, the best appearing to be gas-like and solid at the same time
- texture, the graininess or taken from other gemstones, the crystal structure, obviously, the finer, the smoother, the better
I have had the honor, if not always pleasure because they are the toughest negotiaters of all (Good Luck, Mr. Trump!), to trade with wealthy Chinese flaunting their family heirloom jade rings. These high-end jades stop your breath, radiating something divine beyond normal matter, drawing you in and keeping your eyes fixed. Watch your manners, though, it is impolite to stare for longer than normal appreciation does require and do NOT ask to touch it (even if it screams 'touch me'!).
Finally, jade is a high risk gem to be ripped off with. Nasty treatments, fakes, and colored substitutes are on offer left and right. No valuable gem should be bought without lab report, but least of all jadeite.
To our shame, we are currently sold out of true imperial Jade but not of Type A Jadeite in general and Bowenite as substitute. Please let us hunt the good luck imperial jadeite of your dreams. We still have the right contacts into the fast changing Burma.