In Chinese, jadeite is called "Fei Cui", which is a bird's name. This bird has brightly-coloured feathers. The male bird has red feathers, while the female bird has green feathers. Jadeite from Myanmar comes in a variety of colours, especially green colours, and people usually call Myanmar jadeite "jadeite (Fei Cui)". The Chinese believe that jadeite can bring luck and safety to the wearer, and ward off evil spirits. There are some factors to consider when purchasing jadeite, such as the variety, thickness, intensity and evenness of colour, transparency and craftsmanship.
Classification of Jadeite
Jadeite can be classified into Type A, Type B and Type C jade. This classification system is used for judging whether the jadeite is Natural Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade) or artificially treated jadeite. Jadeite buyers may take into account the type of jadeite in evaluating its value.
Type A Jade
It is natural jadeite which has not been subject to any chemical treatment, impregnation or dyeing that artificially alters its crystalline structure or original colour.
Type B Jade
Type B jade is chemically treated and resin impregnated jadeite. Lower quality natural jadeite with impurities, coarse texture or poor transparency can be bleached with strong acids, and then impregnated with epoxy resin. This treatment alters the crystalline structure of jadeite and enhances its transparency, but meanwhile may result in cracks on the surface, dull tone, and yellowish hue. Type B+C jade refers to the jadeite that has been dyed during the above treatment process.
Type C Jade
It refers to dyed jadeite. Jadeite of pale colour is partially or wholly dyed green, red, purple, etc. However, such dyed colour will fade and the lustre will become dull over time.
Lukfook Jewellery only sells Type A jadeite, i.e., Natural Fei Cui (Jadeite Jade). Each piece of jadeite is sold together with a jadeite certificate issued by an internationally accredited gemstone laboratory. The type of jadeite is also stated on the invoice to boost customer confidence.
Colours of Jadeite
Jadeite comes in a variety of colours. Most jadeite has uneven colour distribution. A piece of jadeite may exhibit several colours. The green colour of jadeite has the greatest variety, ranging from dark to light in tone.
Green jadeite, also called "Cui", comes in emerald green, jade green, seedling green, apple green, glass green, box green, glossy dark green, light green, parrot green, blackish green, pea green, oil green, etc. The finest-quality green jadeite shall be translucent and penetrating with a vivid, intense and pure colour.
Red jadeite, also called "Fei", may be yellow, yellowish red, red brown or deep red. Deep red and vivid red are the most desirable hues.
Light purple is the most common colour. Intense purple and deep purple are the most rare and valuable.
The three colours of green, red and lavender display on a piece of jadeite.
Jadeite that ranges from white to colourless may be called "white jadeite", which is the most common variety. White jadeite might contain few patches or spots of other colours.
Evaluation of Jadeite
Identification of jadeite authenticity and evaluation of jadeite quality require significant expertise and experience. In general, people may judge the quality of jadeite on the basis of five quality factors: colour, clarity, transparency, cut and crack.
Colour is an important value factor affecting the value of jadeite. The most desirable colour will be the pure colour, the purity of which may depend on the proportion of primary colour and secondary colour. For green jadeite, pure green is the most valuable, yellowish or bluish green are less valuable, and greyish green is the least valuable. Besides, intense and vivid colours with even colouration tend to be more desirable than lighter and weaker colours with uneven colour distribution.
The less cracks, impurities and other inclusions there are in the jadeite, the more valuable the jadeite is. There are mainly two kinds of inclusions, white inclusions and black inclusions. Comparatively speaking, black inclusions are more obvious than white ones, thus resulting in lower value of the jadeite.
When light penetrates the surface of jadeite, the transparent and fine-textured jadeite has alluring brilliance, thus giving it a higher value; while the opaque and coarse-textured jadeite reflects dull light, thus decreasing its value.
Polishing and craving are far more important to jadeite than to other gemstones. Jadeite can be classified into cabochons and carved pieces. The finest-quality jadeite is usually cut into cabochons, and jadeite with cracks will not to be fashioned into cabochons. The proportion, thickness and symmetry of the cabochon also have substantial impact on the finished products. When judging carved jadeite pieces, their overall aesthetics and carving craftsmanship shall be evaluated. Jadeite with cracks is usually carved to cover the flaws.
The value of a piece of jadeite may significantly decrease if there is any crack in it, as the whole piece may break along the crack in case of slight collision. Therefore, it is of great importance to examine the cracks when purchasing jadeite. Jadeite buyers may use flashlights to examine the cracks carefully and thoroughly.