Jade is a gorgeous gemstone used in different jewelry designs for many centuries. It is because of its popularity that jade has also become a common target of imitations. There are times when faux pieces or costume jewelry try passing off fake jade as the real thing. As there are various types of jade textures and colors, it is sometimes quite tricky to determine if a jade stone is real or not.
There are different ways to help you determine if you have a real jade and these include the following:
Inspect for Flaws
Although flaws in gemstones are often considered as drawbacks, there are times when they can actually be blessings in disguise. As far as jade is concerned, the presence of flaws on the stone means that it is likely authentic.
To check the flaws, hold the stone under a light source and inspect it with care. Look for any impurities that resemble thin fibers like a vein. If you notice bubbles in the stone, however, it means that your stone is likely fake.
You might want to get your own jeweler’s loupe that you can use for examining the stone. A loupe can magnify more than 30 times that can give you a much clearer look.
However, you have to be careful here. If you happen to be in a shop selling jade stones and you suddenly start to inspect the gemstone whether with a jeweler’s loupe or not, the retailer might not like it. But, it is also not a good sign if a retailer stops you from checking their stones as this could be an indication that they are hiding something from you.
Perform the Scratch Test
The scratch test is something that most collectors of jade stones swear by. Real jade is extremely tough and hard so it doesn’t scratch that easily. In fact, it is even harder compared to metals used for crafting common objects. While steel ranks 5 on the Mohs hardness scale, jade ranks somewhere between 6 and 7. It only means that jade is harder than steel and it will not get scratched by it.
To conduct the scratch test, get a metal object such as pair of scissors, a knife, or a needle. Use this to scratch the jade’s surface. Your goal here is to check if the metal will leave a mark on your jade stone. If ever you see a clear scratch left behind on your gemstone, it means that your stone is probably fake. Again, even steel cannot scratch genuine jade.
If you will perform the scratch test on mounted jade stones, make sure that you use the part that is not visible such as the underside of a pendant. This test should never be done in stores and even if you will do it at home, you have to be careful and do this in such a way that won’t cause any damage to the jade setting.
Conduct the Temperature Test
By nature, jade is extremely cool to the touch whatever the environment’s the temperature might be. Even if you place it in a place with warm temperature, a jade stone will be able to retain its coolness. It will take some time before it warms up but will cool down really fast.
One way to check this is by holding the jade in your hands and feeling its temperature. This might warm up to your hand’s touch. Set this aside for a few seconds and hold it again. A real jade would cool down really quick.
But, remember that the heat test can be very tricky since this is dependent on various factors and might be a subjective test.
Do the Sound Test
Authentic jade produces a wonderful soft clinking sound that is different from the plastic’s hollow sound or the heavier chime of a glass. Jade is extremely dense and is usually heavier compared to other kind of gemstones of similar size. The sound test will be more effective if your jade stone is real. You just need to tap the stone using a piece of genuine jade then listen to the kind of sound that it will produce. You can also use a piece of glass or any other metal object to tap the gemstone and listen. The sound produced should be a heavy clinking like that of a bell.
Test the Stone Scientifically
Other effective way sof checking if a jade stone is authentic or not is with the use of scientific tests such as proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and refractive index. However, performing these methods might be very expensive and even time consuming.
Know the Craft and History of Jade
Jade lovers have better chances of distinguishing a fake jade from real jade because they are familiar with the different aspects of the stone. London, New York, and Hong Kong are the largest markets for real jade. China is a large market as well but sadly, some dealers in the country are not that honest.
You might want to read up about jade stone’s history in the Chinese culture that can be traced as far back as 10,000 years. You can also visit museums, auction houses, trustworthy dealers, and exhibitions to train your eyes in identifying the characteristics of genuine jade. It is also a big plus if you understand the different carving methods used through the centuries.
Jade bangles of the highest quality are rich in color, translucent, and shiny. Unlike other types of jade items like earrings, bangles are a symbol of balance, love, and protection. There are also jade collectors who don’t wear their bangles and just put them on display on decorative ornamental stands. Either way, a jade bangle is a representation of an eye-catching and admirable beautiful appearance.
Quick Word of Warning
Although there are many ways to tell if you have real jade, most of these tests are not conclusive. If someone tells you that these are foolproof tests, they are probably not being honest with you.