Jade refers to both jadeite and nephrite. When people use the word, jade, they are actually referring to jadeite, which is the high-quality material you see in jewellery. Jadeite bangles are very popular in Asian culture. Chinese grandparents give jadeite bangles to newborns as an amulet, because in Chinese tradition jadeite rids evil ghosts and protects young and insecure souls. The shape of a bangle bracelet represents happiness and completion.
Decide the type of jade bangle bracelet you wish to acquire. Jade is divided into two major types on the market: nephrite and jadeite jade. Jade composed of nephrite is very common. Nephrite is often used in sculptures, as its texture is not suitable for fine jewellery. Jadeite is the material used in fine jewellery. The kind of jadeite that appears in emerald colour without any colour enhancement is quite rare in nature. Jade treatment determines the price of the bangle bracelet. Grade A is untreated natural jade. Grade AAA and Grade AA are used to describe finer colour clarity, intensity and transparency of the jade. Grade B is natural jade treated with polymer. Grade C is natural jade treated with colour enhancements. Certain Grade C jadeite is treated with enhanced colours. The colours available are green, lavender, white, mixed colour, yellow jade and red/orange.
Go to a reliable jeweller. Enquire if the jeweller belongs to a gemstone association. Associations such as the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) perpetuate a certain ethical standards among its members. Enquire if your jeweller offers certificates from the Hong Kong Jade & Stone Laboratory Limited, China Gemological Testing Center (GTC) or any other internationally recognised testing laboratories. Certificates authenticate the quality and estimates the appraised price of your bangle bracelet.
Compare prices of jade bangle bracelets by different retailers. A fine bangle bracelet that shows good clarity, colour intensity and transparency could come with a price tag upward of £5,200. Jadeite bangle bracelets, priced anywhere between £91 and £292, are good for personal enjoyment. They would not be a wise investment if you are seeking value appreciation in the future. Many jade collectors value antique jewellery, as jade colour grows deeper and develops a shinier surface from frequent contacts with the wearer.
Use untreated, Grade A Imperial jade without brown blotches as a starting point for your bracelet search. You could go to the lower grades if the bracelets you come across are too expensive. Examine the edges to see if the jade bracelet shines naturally without the lighting effects from jeweller lamps. Look for chips and unevenness around the bangle.
Evaluate jadeite's colour by its tone (lighter or darker colour), saturation (colour intensity) and its hue (position on the colour wheel). Use a colour wheel from the retailer as a reference. Keep in mind that top-quality jadeite appears in fine "emerald green" without any colour enhancements. Study the texture of the jade. A high-quality piece should be free of such blemishes, as brown and grey spots.
Study the bangle bracelet carefully using a side-by-side comparison. Compare the colour saturation between jadeite bangle bracelets. Ask the merchant to show you Grade A and Grade AA jade samples, so you have a point of reference for comparison. Saturation is very important to green and lavender jade. A fine quality jadeite should appear with very penetrating, intense colour, even when viewed from a distance. The ideal tone is evenly distributed, not too light or too dark. Evaluate the evenness of the colour distribution throughout the bangle bracelet. A fine quality piece should have a colour that is consistent and evenly distributed.
Although the hinged bangle bracelet has grown in popularity in the UK gem market, avoid buying this style; a one-piece bangle bracelet is appraised for higher values than hinged bangle bracelets with jadeite linked together by hinges.
Avoid jadeite with veins and root-like specks or blotches, as that is a sign of a low-quality jadeite.