COLOUR COMES FIRST
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