Shopping for Jade in Hong Kong

Arts & Culture

Jade is often associated with long life and good health

Jade is just one of many highly imitated stones and many buyers easily fall prey to its trap when shopping in Hong Kong. Without either keenly trained eyes to spot a genuine jade stone or eager haggling skills, you might just purchase one that is made of glass and painted perfectly like a real one. This stone, which in its Chinese character means beauty and purity, is often associated with long life and good health. From necklaces, bracelets, charms, and mini figurines, jade can be priced at 30,000 HKD or even much more. So, you should get to know your jewels right before going for the splurge.

In Hong Kong, jade retailers can be found at the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei.  Jade sold in Hong Kong comes mostly from Myanmar.  Everything from ornaments to accessories and carvings can be found in the 400 stalls of the Jade Market. Hong Kong’s best-known jeweler Chow Tai Fook sells premium jade with white gold and diamonds. Bangles made from jade are the most prized pieces and some are valued at 75,000 HKD, and can even go as high as 273,000 HKD.

There are three classes or grades of jade that depend on quality and color. Top quality jade or grade A is deep green in color. It is all natural, semi-transparent, and not altered internally.  Grade B is usually more brittle because of the bleaching chemicals that leave small fractures to the stone.  Opaque jade stones that are quite cloudy are less pricey compared to semi-transparent ones. Grade C jade is restored fully through injecting colors to it, which in turn may cause its color to fade easily.

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While the color of the jade says a lot about its authenticity, the sound it produces indicates so as well. The pitch does not indicate if it is a fake or a genuine stone. Instead, take note of the length of sound it produces. It should resonate and you must be able to hear the last second vibrating until the end. However, only translucent jade can be tested with sound as it is the only jade that resonates. Jade from mountain stones must be tested using another method that only specialists can perform.

If you are not willing to stake thousands of money on your own appraisal, there are available jade experts who can check and test your jade and help you determine which ones are real. You can visit www.jadeexperts.com to learn more about them.

When shopping for jade in Hong Kong, always remember two things. First, do your research about the type of jade you want in terms of color and translucency. Check out everything in the market before you decide on what jade and which stall to buy from. Do not commit to anything until you feel comfortable with what you are interested in. Compare with other stores and decide only when you are set out to but what you want. Second, be firm with the price you are willing to haggle and pay. If you are dubious about the price, then walk away. It is safe to haggle the price by half and start from there. Always know how much you are willing to pay to arrive at a fair sale with your vendor.

Main picture credit: MissBossy

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