Highly coveted by Chinese collectors for centuries, jadeite is getting the wider attention it deserves. These facts about the gemstone and exquisite jewellery by Tin Min Jade will pique your interest
Jadeite is the term used to differentiate the high-quality jade suitable for use in jewellery from the lower quality jade used in larger decorative pieces.
Myanmar is the source of more than 90 per cent of the world’s jadeite. The best jade carvers, however, are found in China. It is traditionally a symbol of supreme status and wealth, and was worn by historical figures such as Empress Dowager Cixi and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton was also passionate about the beautiful stone; her famous Hutton-mdivani necklace, which features 27 perfect jadeite beads, sold for a world record US$27.44 million at auction in 2014.
Contrary to popular belief, jadeite is not only green. It comes in many colours, including white, black, lavender, red and yellow, and can also be a colourless stone.
Imperial jade, a type of green jadeite known for its vibrant green hue and high translucency, is the most valuable. The best samples can command millions of US dollars. Jadeite is believed to be a spiritual gemstone that, when worn close to the skin, transmits good energy; the wearer’s positive aura is also said to cause the stone to retain its vibrant colour and translucency.
Other highly valued green varieties include kingfisher jade (slightly less intense than imperial), apple jade (an intense yellowish green shade) and moss-in-snow jade (translucent white with bright green veins or spots). Lavender is the next most valuable colour.