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10 FACTS ABOUT BUYING JADEITE JADE BANGLES

A comprehensive guide to Burmese Jade Bangles and Bracelets
2020 Edition


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Written By: Wai Yan
28 December 2018

Imitation (Fake) Jade

An Imitation is material that looks alike but has completely different chemical compositions and properties. As an example, Australian Jade is often an imitation for high quality Jadeite. Although it has Jade in its name, it's actually Chrysoprase which is a member of the Quartz family. Even Nephrite is sold as Jadeite to the unsuspecting customer. These common imitations are much less valuable and if paid for at Jadeite prices, you could be deeply out of pocket. Read the article on real examples of these fake jade bangles being sold on online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay.  Some common Jadeite imitations are: Grossular Garnet, Aventurine Quartz, Prehnite, Serpentine. These can sometimes fool the most experienced of eyes, further testing must be conducted for an identification. Refer to the table below for a list of common names for these imitations.

Guizhou Jade

A recent survey of the Jade Bangle market shows a large amount Guizhou Jade Bangles from China being sold as "Natural Certified Jadeite Jade" Bangles. Don't be fooled. Guizhou Jade is a type of Green Quartzite, a metamorphosized sandstone.

Treatments

Natural Jadeite comes in many qualities and colours. Not all Jadeite Jade are green and not all are translucent. Lower quality jadeite are opaque and of less desirable colour. In the market where the demand for high quality Jadeite is strong, industry experts artificially treat low quality Jadeite to enhance their transparency and colour. These treatments are not permanent and affects its general durability. The good appearance can deteriorate over time. Colour dyed Jadeite usually loses its colour with long exposure to sunlight. Depending on the level of treatment, the value of the Jadeite drops dramatically. Treated Jadeite will not gain value over time like untreated Jadeite. Beware of shops that pitch their products as “Genuine Fine Quality Burmese Jade” and fail to disclose any treatments. The type of treatments are classified into 5 categories from A - D. Learn in-depth about treated jade bangles in this article.

Grade / Type

Treatment

Comments
ANone / WaxingNatural untreated jade
BBleached, then impregnated with a polymer to enhance translucency and colourLow value, Losses durability and not stable
CDyed to improve colourLow value, Colour change or fade over time
B + CTranslucency and colour enhancedLow value, as above
DComposite materialJadeite combined with other material such as plastics or glass

A man paints on dyes onto a Jade Bangle to mimic natural looking colour veins and inclusions.

TYPE C Jade Bangles Floods Myanmar Jade Market

A recent market update from Myanmar shows the Jade market in Myanmar is now flooded with dyed, Grade C Jadeite Jade Bangles. The Burmese rarely treat their Jade products but as of the last recent years, treatments are becoming more common and in some cases, they are becoming the new norm. The majority of the world's Jade bangle supply comes from Burma. For this reason, we need to be aware of these treatments that can affect the value of a Jade bangle greatly. Read more: Dyed Jade Bangles in Myanamar.

Degradation of polymer on the surface revealing a bleached area.

Graph showing the value of natural vs treated jade over time.

Internal degradation of polymer showing discolouration.

Flaws and Value

Imperfections or flaws as some may put it, is one of the key considerations in determining the value of a jade bangle bracelet. Many shopping for a jade bangle online may overlook this important factor to opt for a cheaper option. A single critical flaw or multiple flaws can have significant impact (up-to 90% reduction) on the pricing depending on the severity of the flaw. For example, 2 bangles that look entirely similar in colour, texture and translucency. One is priced at $55 and the other, $550. One is flawless and the other has a critical flaw that might affect the structural integrity of the bangle. Which also means a light impact to the bangle may cause it break into pieces. There are many examples evident through our collection; similar looking bangles carved out of the same stone but varying greatly in prices. Every single bangle available through us has gone through rigorous inspections to check for flaws in determining its value.

Flaw TypeSeverity
Internal StonelinesLow - Moderate
Surface Reaching FracturesLow - High
VeinsLow
ChipsLow - Moderate
DentsLow - Moderate
SymmetryLow - Moderate
Surface BlemishesLow - Moderate

World's Most Expensive Jade Bangle

The current world record price for Jadeite bangle is currently at $7.8M AUD ($5.6M USD) set in 2015 at Sotheby's Hong Kong. It was a Guifei bangle; an oval shaped bangle for imperial consorts pioneered during the Tang Dynasty. But as of recently (2018) a highly translucent, imperial green coloured jadeite bangle named The Circle of Heaven has been offered with an estimate price more than double the current record.  See the Top 10 most expensive bangles article.

The driller uses a specialised drilling machine to form rough jadeite bangles.

How Jade Bangles are Made

Jade Bangles are made by craving from large natural boulders which are then sliced in to manageable slabs. Holes are drilled out of these slabs to create a rough jade bangle. From the rough, skilled men shaped them into various styles just with the use of the hands. They are finally polished in a traditional manner just like from ancient times. See the whole jade bangle production process from boulder to bangle with photos here.

Jade Bangle Styles

Myanmar Jadeite Jade Bangles comes in six different styles. The diagram on the left shows the cross section of a bangle. Traditionally, Jade bangles were worn with a Round or Oval style. Over time, the trend is progressing towards Halfmoon and Flat styles. Partly due to the decreasing amount of good translucent material. A thinner, flatter style allows more light to pass through making the bangle appear more translucent. Nevertheless, round styles are still popular and is a matter of personal preference.

A closeup of a person hands cleaning a jade bangle with a pink sponge.

Maintenance and Care

Caring for a Natural Jade Bangle requires very little. The material itself is very tough and will resist to chips and breaks. Regular cleaning is recommended to maintain your bangle's original lustre (shine). Read this expert's guide to cleaning, waxing and caring for Jade Bangles, natural or treated.

Sizing

Jadeite Jade Bangles are non-flexible, made out of solid mineral. Sizes refer to the internal diameter as shown below in millimetres. The usual sizes are from 54mm - 66mm. Follow this Jade Bangle Sizing Guide to determine the correct fitment.

Benefits of Wearing a Jade Bangle

Jadeite Jade is a symbol of wealth, health and protection in Chinese culture. The Chinese have treasure this gemstone for centuries because it is believed to bring the wearer wealth and good fortune.

Origin

The finest source of Jadeite Jade in the world comes from Kachin state, Myanmar (Burma). It's also the only commercial source for Jadeite in the world. Other small deposits are found in Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, Guatemala, and USA.

Colour Change Over Time

There are reported cases of Grade A Jadeite Jade bangles changing colour over time from wear. It’s important to note that colour change in treated jadeite is different topic. If the colour change from green to brownish colour, it is believed that the bangle has been drawing negative energy from your body. On the other hand, if the bangle turns greener, the bangle has been deposited with positive energy over time. The process may take years to notice and it's important to note that there is no scientific explanation to the process. Perhaps it's supernatural.

Mineral Properties

Chemical FormulaNaAlSi2O6 (Sodium Aluminium Silicate)
Hardness6.5 - 7
Crystal SystemMonoclinic
TransparencyNear transparent – Opaque
Specific Gravity3.3 - 3.5
Reflective Index1.654 – 1.673
Birefringence0.019
LustreVitreous – Waxy

Misnomers

Trade NameMineral
Burmese, Yunnan, Imperial JadeJadeite
Chinese, Canada, Russian, Wyoming JadeNephrite
New Zeland GreenstoneNephrite or Bowenite
Indian, Amazon JadeAventurine
Manchurian, Shanghai, Fujian, Honan JadeGreen Talc
Guizhou, Malaysia JadeQuartzite
Australian JadeChrysoprase
California, American JadeVesuvianite
About the Author
WAI YAN
Wai was born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Trained by the Gemmological Association of Australia, he is a qualified Gemologist and a fellow of the GAA. Throughout his life, he has been in constant contact with gemstones and jewellery through the family business and has been fascinated by the beauty and rarity of them all. He is now operating a branch of the business in Australia, supplying all kinds of gemstones especially of Burmese origin to international markets.

Further Reading

Jade Pendants 101: Meanings and Symbolism

Jade Pendants 101: Meanings and Symbolism

Uncover the rich cultural significance and diverse symbolisms behind jade pendants. This article covers all jade pendant designs from various cultures such as: Chinese, Maori and Mesoamerican and their meanings.
Read more
Fake Jade with Fake Certificate from China: A Gemologist Review

Fake Jade with Fake Certificate from China: A Gemologist Review

A gemologist debunks jade scams involving fake certificates from China.
Read more
Exploring the Meaning and Symbolism of Jade Bracelets

Exploring the Meaning and Symbolism of Jade Bracelets

This article delves into the cultural significance, symbolism, and spiritual beliefs associated with jade jewellery, focusing on jade bangle bracelets. It highlights the meaning and symbolism of jade bracelets in Chinese culture and other cultures.
Read more
a jade bangle bracelet held up against a sunny sky.

5 Hidden Benefits of Wearing a Jade Bangle Bracelet

In this article, we delve into the captivating world of jade bangle bracelets, uncovering their popularity as a jewelry choice and the array of benefits they bring to those who wear them. From their exquisite beauty and unmatched value to the profound impact on wellbeing, we explore five key benefits of donning real jade bangle bracelets. Prepare to be amazed by the remarkable advantages these stunning pieces offer, extending far beyond aesthetics.

Read more
How a Jade Bangle is Made Traditionally

How a Jade Bangle is Made Traditionally

How Jade Bangles are Made Traditionally made in Myanmar (Burma). This article explains the processes of how a jade bangle is crafted from rough boulder to a fine piece of jewellery.
Read more
5 Types of Jade Bangle Treatment

5 Types of Jade Bangle Treatment

Detailed information on treatments applied to Jade Bangle Bracelets. Treated Jade Bangles are common in the market place today and are there to deceive consumers.
Read more

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