COLOUR COMES FIRST

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

adeite, or fei cui, as it’s known in Asia, has long been a sym­bol of supreme sta­tus and wealth, worn by such iconic fig­ures as Em­press Dowager Cixi and Madame Chi­ang Kaishek. It’s also made its mark in the West with such prom­i­nent women as Michelle Obama, who wore a Dick­son Yewn jadeite ring to a Buck­ing­ham Palace ban­quet, and Wool­worth heiress Bar­bara Hut­ton, a pas­sion­ate jade en­thu­si­ast whose Hut­tonM­di­vani neck­lace sold for a world record US$27.44 mil­lion at auc­tion last year.

Many be­lieve it’s a spir­i­tual gem­stone that, worn close to the skin, trans­fers en­ergy and ex­erts a healthy in­flu­ence on the wearer; in re­turn, the wearer’s pos­i­tive aura causes the stone to re­tain its vi­brant colour and translu­cency. But choos­ing the best jadeite jew­ellery shouldn’t just de­pend on the feel­ing a piece im­parts, or its de­sign or crafts­man­ship. Some shop­ping savvy and knowl­edge of the ma­te­rial are key to se­lect­ing pieces that will re­tain both their beauty and value.

Ev­ery year, auc­tion house Bon­hams holds a se­ries of mas­ter classes for jew­ellery col­lec­tors, with spe­cial­ists im­part­ing the lat­est in­for­ma­tion and use­ful in­vest­ment tips. KK Chow, a cer­ti­fied gem­mol­o­gist and ex­pe­ri­enced jew­ellery ap­praiser from the Gem­mo­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong, gave his in­sights on eval­u­at­ing jadeite at a re­cent mas­ter­class. Chow says colour is the most im­por­tant fac­tor in eval­u­at­ing jadeite. One should look for a stone in which the colour is rich and com­pletely even. Pure jadeite is colour­less. The hue comes from im­pu­ri­ties present at the time of its for­ma­tion, such as chromium, From top: The Hut­tonM­di­vani neck­lace; a jadeite pen­dant brooch and ban­gle fea­tured at an up­com­ing Bon­hams auc­tion on June 3; Xi Xi jadeite and di­a­mond ear­rings by Qeelin

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