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Jade is considered a good luck charm, particularly among East Asian cultures. Many believe that it can ward off evil spirits, and bring you health and wealth. Real jade refers to jadeite or nephrite. Highly valued for spiritual and decorative reasons, jade has been used in China and throughout Asia for more than 5000 years. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most commonly imitated. So, how to tell the difference between a decent fake and the real deal? Noble Jades will show you the tips below.
- Hold the piece in question up to the light. Dealers are unlikely to become offended by this gesture and if they are, be wary. Many fakes will contain air bubbles, rather than the veining that is common in authentic jade, and they are easily spotted when light shines through them.
- Check for coolness. Hold the piece in you hand. Even in a warm environment, jade should feel cool to the touch. If you are unsure, clasp the jade piece in your closed hand until it has warmed to approximately the same temperature as your body. Then set the jade aside for 30 seconds. Touch it with the tip of your tongue. Real jade does not retain heat well and should feel very cool.
- Do a scratch test, but only on pieces you already own. Use a rounded bit of metal, such as the end of a pair of blunt scissors or the post of an earring, and draw a line across the bottom of the jade piece. Press down gently–there is no need to try to plow into or jab the stone. Choose a non-visible area to perform the test as it may leave a permanent mark on the item. If you are able to easily scratch the stone, it is probably not authentic jade.
- Run your finger nail over the surface of the piece. This is a bit like running pearls across your teeth, only less obvious. Your fingers can’t feel the minuscule bumps in glass and your eye can’t see them, but in fake jade, your fingernail will catch on every tiny surface flaw.
- Listen to the pieces. Hold one jade bangle loosely in each hand. Bump them into each other. If the bangles are genuine jade, they will produce a lovely, chime like tone. Real jade pieces produce a sound with a slightly higher resonance than pieces made of plastic or glass, while fakes sound like marbles rattling in a jar or glasses clinking together in a toast.
- Consult with a jeweler. Take your jade to a jeweler to get a professional opinion of your stone’s authenticity. They will examine the jade and perform a density test. The jeweler can also help you determine the potential value of your piece — maybe helping you uncover a treasure you never even knew you had.
Do not perform a scratch test on display pieces. If you damage the merchandise, you’ll have to pay for it. and Nephrite jade can be damaged in a scratch test if you press too hard. It is less expensive, more common, and a lot softer than jadeite, but it is still real jade.