Recently a new customer asked me to help her choose a traditional kind of jade bangle bracelet for her elderly mother. Her name indicated she is Chinese. And she had a low
budget and needed a larger size jade bangle so I suggested the traditional Chinese jade. The Chinese jade we sell is specially chosen for me, and carved to our specifications by
a jade carver I have worked with for many years. Chinese jade is "good green" without
too dark of a green that these days means color treated. And Chinese jade has good
"qi energy", a good choice for many Chinese women.
After she received it, I got an email from her that she had taken the bracelet to her
Chinatown and was told many negative things about it by those Chinatown "experts".
Firstly, they told her it wasn't jade, it was glass. Then they told her it was poor quality.
They convinced her it was terrible, and of course offered her an alternative for 2-3
times the cost of what she paid. And she believed them. The sad fact is that most
people, even these Chinatown "experts" don't know very much about jade and confuse
people, especially people who are learning about jade. And of course it's to show how
"knowledgeable" they are, and to get the person to buy from them.
So what can I say? Spend an hour trying to educate her? I blogged last month that I
decided to not respond to emails from people who ask "is your jade real?" anymore. I'm
happy to help new jade buyers learn about and choose the best jade bangle for themselves but it's rude to ask me after reading the description that the jade is real, genuine, natural,
if it's "real".
But wait! Every few months I go on ebay, Etsy, and some other web sites and buy a few
jade bangle bracelets just to see what most jade bangle buyers can purchase. I test them
with gemology tools, including refraction to determine if they are real jade or jadeite. Then
take them to my GIA gemologist jeweler for color testing. Only one of all the bangles I
bought was genuine jadeite natural color. The rest were advertised as grade A, some
even advertises at Grade AAAAA (whatever THAT is!). So I do understand what women
who want genuine, natural jade are having to deal with. It's very difficult to an honest
jade seller to compete with that, and their lower prices. As I told the customer complaining about the Chinese jade bangle, what it comes down to when you buy jade is your trust of
the person selling it. Do they have experience going to China and buying jade? How many
years have they been learning about jade, gemology. Does the information they post make sense to you? Jade sellers in Chinatown are like jade sellers in China. I've had 16 years
experience with both. The only way to really know what you are buying is getting a refraction test. That gives you a true result of what the stone is. Sorry, but there's no
definitive test for jade sellers. But if you buy from a jade seller you trust, don't take your jade to Chinatown for an opinion. Take it to a GIA gemologist.