Jade valuation is determined by many factors — some technical, some aesthetic, some scientific and some historical. Jade has been used for millennia as adornment as well as for utilitarian purposes, such as cups, saucers and buckles. Many ancient pieces of jade were repurposed in the 1880s and 1890s as jewelry. It comes in many forms, including jadeite — the finest form — and nephrite.
Jadeite typically retains its value, especially in signed pieces by Gump’s, Tiffany and Cartier, as well as ancient, Asian carved larger pieces. Large nephrite objets d’art of various colors — not just green — can be worth a small fortune. Color can vary from mutton-fat white to rust to red to many shades of green.
We have handled fine, small translucent jadeite rings for as much as $15,000, as well as larger ruyi (a kind of scepter or wand) for as much as $50,000. It should be noted there are scores of jade simulants, like carnelian, meta-jade, green glass and aventurine.
This small pin was sold to us by a local pawn dealer. While the gold value is less than $50, we paid well over $1,000 for it because of the fine color and craftsmanship. Had it been translucent, it would have been worth much more.
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