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I will be traveling to Beijing and Hong Kong in April. I would like to buy some jade jewelry as souvenirs but do not want to take a chance of dealing with fraudulent sellers.

Can you tell me where in these cities I can find reputable jade dealers? How can I know that the jade I am looking at is good quality jade?

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Welcome to travel.SE. Unfortunately shopping questions are off topic here as per FAQ. –  Karlson Mar 6 '13 at 17:48
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Shopping questions are not welcome at SE as they're mostly too broad, localised and may be obsolete as "the best camera/hiking shoes/bag" changes in time. However, a shop that sells real jade (if that's what the OP is after) is less volatile as it will probably have a good reputation. I think this question is answerable and should not be closed because it is a "shopping question". I think it's even comparable to questions like this about where one can get a certain dish. My two cents. –  Bart Arondson Mar 6 '13 at 23:58
    
To the OP: you might consider splitting this question into two for each city as Beijing and Hong Kong are quite different and not that close to each other. General advice: if it's really cheap it's probably fake. –  Bart Arondson Mar 7 '13 at 0:18
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This is far from a shopping question if you but allow it to be. See my answer. –  Russell McMahon Mar 7 '13 at 0:36
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We seem to have some problems with "spot the trigger word and click close". In the past we had "List questions are bad mmkay" and we still have "Shopping questions are bad mmkay". Instead of seeing who can click close the fastest in recation to listish or shoppingish questions how about some analysis of the questions on their merits against our real criteria of objectivity and answerability? And failing that trying to help tweak questions to fit that criteria. –  hippietrail Mar 7 '13 at 2:52

1 Answer 1

This rather more than a "shopping answer", hopefully.

How to determine if Jade is genuine:

This webpage provides an excellent discussion of types of genuine jade and of non genuine alternatives.

This page is also very useful

Excellent characteristics table for Jade and other materials.
A pocket spectrometer is possibly a really good tool. These are actually available at sensible prices - but few people would carry one :-).
Suitable lights will also show certain characteristics - see table.

Archimedes was here:
About the most useful test you can do "reasonably easily" is to measure density.
It helps to be a little cheeky and prepared to stand out from the crowd :-).
If you prepare for it this can be done very quickly and very easily at any location.
You need a suspension scales* or spring balance that can weigh a suspended item and a container of water large enough to suspend it in while weighing. Engineers and other people of similar bent will have no problem carrying the required equipment in a pocket. Willingness to use it or to ask permission to do so will depend on you :-).

*If you do not have a suspension scale / spring balance you can use the widely available low cost digital platform or pan scales as suspension scales by holding the scales "in the air" and placing a light stick (bamboo skewer or chopstick will work) across the pan and tying a thread from each end down to a point below the scales in a "V" and suspending the target object from there. This can all go in a pocket or bag.

Essentially you weigh the item suspend "in air" and then again while it is suspended in water. You use the weight in air and the weight change from in_air to _in water to measure density. (The weight change is equal to the mass of water displaced and is equal in grams to the volume in CCs (cubic centimetres) and density = mass / volume.

  • **Density = in_air_weight in grams / (weight_change) in grams **

See the pages above, but genuine Jades will be about 3 to 3.3 for Nephrite and 32. to 3.3 for Jadeite. 2.9 to 3.0 is "maybe". Below 2.9 is not Jade.


There are many places to buy Jade and various "factories". One of the many which you will have trouble avoiding in certain circumstances is the one at Long Di - en route to the Great Wall at Badaling. Many tour operators include it in their trip to Badaling - either as an announced part of the tour or "unexpectedly" along the way. It seems to be about as good as any and you can judge the realness for yourself. This You tube video (not mine) shows a trip through their show rooms and some views of their craftsmen at work. It includes a brief comment on testing Jade for realness and of comparing it to glass and shows their show cases which have samples of Jadeite materials from many locations. Opinion only - if you have any ability at all to distinguish "realness" then a place like this gives you maximum chance - you can see the raw material, can see the objects being made and by their spiel they indicate that they are moderately open to people "testing" for realness.

I visited there with a tour group in (I think) 2008 as part of a Badaling day trip. The Jade factory was on the agenda. They told us that it is the only official state jade factory. It's not state and it's not the only one, so that's a guide as to how much you may be able to trust your guides :-).

NB: I bought a chunk of "Jade" from the Long Di factory cutting room rock pile. The price was good. Subsequent density tests show that it is NOT Jade, or is a mixed Jade and other material rock. So, even at Long Di, take care.


Related:

Jade classification

Excellent user discussion on Badaling and Jade factory and more

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