Jade is a beautiful stone that comes in green, lavender, orange, red, yellow, and white. Its quality is rated A, B and C depending on how it has been treated. Whether you’re shopping for jade or curious about your jewelry collection, it’s helpful to be able to tell real stones from fake ones. First, you should check the stone’s color and texture to ensure it looks smooth, vibrant, and even. Then run some basic tests at home to evaluate the stone. Ultimately, it is best to have the stone examined by a jeweler to verify its authenticity.
Check the stone’s color to make sure it looks vibrant. In most cases, it is not fully opaque or transparent. Since it combines opaque and transparent, you should look for a sheen that resembles the light reflecting off the water. If the color appears dull or flat, it’s probably a fake stone. Jade can sometimes be completely opaque, but the opaque stones are not very valuable. If it looks like air bubbles in the stone, it’s probably not real.
Tip: Real jade is graded A, B or C depending on how it has been treated to achieve the stone’s color. Type A is natural, untreated jade that may have a wax coating to enhance its color. Type B is chemically bleached to remove impurities and then injected with a polymer to enhance color. Finally, Type C is chemically bleached and dyed to enhance its color so that it may fade or discolor over time.
If the jade is real, you should notice some color variation throughout the stone. These are likely consistent, meaning you’ll notice the same patterns throughout the stone. On the other hand, fake jade can have perfect coloring or uneven consistency, which means it looks blotchy in some places. Examining the jade under direct light can help to see it better.
Authentic stones are more likely to have minor imperfections, such as an uneven shape, grooves on the surface, or dimples. These can remain even after the stone has been polished. Check the stone to see if it looks too perfect. If it does, then it’s probably a fake. This may not work well if you are purchasing a fine piece of jewelry as the highest quality jade pieces may not have imperfections.
Real jade has a very high density, which means it feels heavier than one might expect given its size. Throw and catch the stone several times to get a feel for its weight. If you can, compare the weight to another stone to get an idea of how heavy the jade feels. Although this test is inaccurate, it is a popular way to judge jade’s authenticity.
Jade is naturally a very cool stone, so it feels cold to the touch. Hold it against your face or neck to see if it feels cool against your skin. If not, then maybe it’s a fake. If you hold the stone against your face for a few minutes, it should still not heat up. It should feel cold even as you rub the stone up and down your skin.
Place the stone in your palm and wrap your hand around it. Squeeze the stone firmly to warm it up. Wait a minute or two to see if it’s still cool. Real jade should still feel cool to the touch, while a fake will likely get warm. A fake stone may still feel cool to the touch, but this test can help you tell the real stones from the fake ones.
This allows you to judge the density of the stone you think might be jade. Tap the stones together several times and listen to their sound. Because jade is hard, you should hear a deep, resonant sound when you do it. If the stones sound like plastic beads, then the supposed jade stone is probably a fake. You can do this test with a different stone if you don’t have real jade. However, it may not work as well as real jade.
For a simple scratch test, rub your fingernail along the side of the stone to see if you can scratch it. Another option is to use scissors or a knife to scratch the stone’s surface in an inconspicuous area. If the stone is scratched, it’s probably not real. Real jade is a hard stone, so it doesn’t scratch easily.
Variation: As another option, you can do a hot needle scratch test to ensure the stone isn’t colored to look like jade. Heat a needle with hot water and rub the tip along the stone’s surface. Check the stone to make sure it isn’t scratched. If there are scratches, it’s probably a fake.
Jewelers are trained to recognize real and fake gems and stones. You can examine the stone under a magnifying glass to make sure it has the texture of real jade and to look for signs of a fake. They will assess the stone’s properties and then tell you if it’s real or fake. Usually, the jeweler will do these tests while you are there. You can speak to more than one jeweler to get multiple opinions on the stone’s authenticity.
Your jeweler can measure the density of what you think is jade using a spring balance and water displacement test. He then compares the density to a jade density map to see if it meets real jade standards. If so, then your stone is probably real. However, it’s probably not real if the density of your stone doesn’t match jade. If you have concerns about the density test, ask your jeweler how they typically do the test before they begin. You might even get to watch him do it.
The benefit of using a jeweler is that they can appraise your stone. He can assess the jade and its setting when the stone is already part of a piece of jewelry. Ask how much you can sell the jade and if he thinks the value could increase over time. Keep in mind that this rating is still an estimate. It’s best to speak to multiple jewelers when estimating the value of a piece. This way, you can find out what your stone is worth.
If you love jade and want high-quality pieces, ask for a lab certificate certifying that your piece is “A” quality. Most jewelers will provide you with this verification. It’s difficult to tell yourself if a stone is real, so be careful when buying one. It is best to have a stone appraised by a professional jeweler before investing a lot of money.