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How To Tell If Jadeite Is Real?

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The article talks about history of jade and how to distinguish real jadeite from fake ones. The difference between albite and jadeite is also analyzed.

Why is Jade so important in Asia?

If you travel to Asia, you will figure out how important jade is in Eastern culture.  For example, in China, jade is connected with Chinese history, politics, culture, art, aesthetic and entertainment. Jade also has a deep influence on Chinese thoughts, philosophy, systems, etiquette, material and spiritual aspects.

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Interesting history about jade

Jade was found used as earrings and even put in the eyes as funerary ornaments in ancient grave around 9000 years ago.

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Around 3000 years ago, there were multiple countries within China. Therefore, the kings from these countries required officials who came to the courts to wear jade, so that the jade collided with each other would make a sound if anyone made large or sudden movements, which would cause attention from kings and guards in order to prevent kings from being assassinated.

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More than 2000 years ago, ancient people put 9 jade plugs into all the “holes” of the dead body (ears, nose, eyes, mouth, anus and genitals). They believed that these jade plugs can stop the soul going out of the body, therefore the body would be immortal.

Famous people relate to jade

Confucius used jade to refer to people of noble character and mentioned that jade has 11 virtues. Jade therefore has very profound cultural and educational significance.

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Qianlong, the longest-lived emperor in Chinese history, lived for eighty-seven years. He was also the reigning emperor who actually held power the longest. Qianlong was obsessed with jade. He wrote around 800 poems about jade in his life. A large proportion of Jade collection in the current museum of Forbidden City was belonged to Qianlong.

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Empress Dowager Cixi was one of the few females who held real power in the Chinese history. In the late Qing Dynasty, even though she has been listening to politics from behind the curtain, she was the real person in power and she reigned for forty-seven years.

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Cixi was very fond of jadeite. From jewellery, various tableware for eating and drinking, to entertainment, many objects that she used were made of jadeite. Many officials paid tribute to her with jadeite, and the precious jadeite that Empress Dowager Cixi was buried with were impressive.

What is jadeite?

Jadeite is one type of Jade and it is considered the most valuable jade. The Chinese name of Jadeite “Fei Cui” comes from birds, the red male is called “Fei” and the green feather female is called “Cui”.

Therefore, a combination of the male and female name of the birds forms the name. Though jadeite is the most important jade for Chinese but 90% of Jadeite comes from Myanmar.

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The chemical formula of Jadeite is NaAlSi2O6, which is Sodium aluminosilicate. The criteria of mineral to be considered as Jadeite is that only when at least half of the mineral is Sodium aluminosilicate can it belong to the jadeite group.

Jadeite is a very hard mineral because the Mohs hardness of Jadeite is approximately 7.0. There are many different types of colors of Jadeite, and the green color is considered the best.

How to tell jadeite is real or fake?

Jadeite is precious and it is particularly appreciated in Chinese jewelry history. From royalty and nobility to ordinary people, Jadeite is regarded as a treasure. Once there is value, someone will fake it and try to make profit from it. To distinguish whether a jadeite is real or fake can consider the following aspects.


If there is some color in the Jadeite, the color of the real Jadeite has a “root”, that is, there is a deep starting point inside somewhere and the boundary of color is clear.  But the color of the fake one is blurred and the boundary of the color is vague.

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The color of the real Jadeite is from deep inside but the color of the fake one looks like “floating” on the surface of the Jadeite.


The real Jadeite gives feeling of transparency but the fake one is a bit foggy and blur.


The real Jadeite has orange peel shape on the surface if you look at it carefully or zoom it under magnifier. But the fake one has little cracks; these cracks can look like web and the color inside the cracks are deeper compared to the nearby places.

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Inside structure

If you look at the real Jadeite carefully with light, you can see some materials looks like cotton-wool inside. Instead, you can see some spider webs or clots of material inside the fake ones.

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Fly wings

“Fly wings” sometimes are not easy to see in a well-made jadeite jewelry piece because the surface has been polished. On the mineral stones or the cross section of jadeite, the small “fly wings” can be observed on the surface. Especially, the more coarse the mineral particles that make up jadeite, the more clear the fly wings.

Albite vs Jadeite

As the albite is very similar to the jadeite, it is very important to distinguish these two minerals. There are many ways to identify the two materials.


The easiest way is to put the minerals in the hand to measure weight, the albite weight is 1/3 lighter comparing to jadeite because its lower density compared to jadeite.

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Fly wings

The fly wings that mentioned above does not exists in albite.


When tapping these two different minerals, one can hear the sound of jadeite is crisp, sweet and short, instead the sound of albite is clear and long.


The gloss of Jadeite is better than albite because the refractive index of jadeite is higher comparing to albite.

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The luster of Jadeite is a bit chilly, instead the luster of albite is not that strong, is only bright.

Reaction to light

The albite can absorb some light or scatter some light, instead the Jadeite will reflect the light well if you use light to shoot on them.


There are hidden cracks and a lot of cotton-wool style structure inside, instead the Jadeite has clearer inside structure.

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The albite is not that transparent and delicate compared to Jadeite because it can have some irregular shaped white spots.

Of course, to understand whether jadeite is real is complicated. It is important to purchase jadeite from a trustable place, with appraisal certificate issued by a qualified institution is a good guarantee.

Author: Hua

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