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Jadeite Cutting Styles

So you love estate jade rings, vintage pendants, rings and bangle bracelets then you will want to know a little something about jadeite. China is jadeites main center for polishing.  Many jadeite cutters from Hpakan, Lonkin, Mogaung and Mandalay still cut the “ancient way using a hollow bamboo lathe treated with sand and water”. Producers of jadeite cut it into regular decorative jewelry forms such as bangles, jade rings, pendants and earrings.  Some are hololiths which means the jewelry is carved from a single piece of jadeite rough.

Cabochon shaped jadeite is usually considered the best cut for finer jewelry and the standard size cabochon is 14 X 10 millimeters.  Often, jadeite is cut into a double cabochon shape looking much like an almond.  Cutting in this fashion deepens its color in lighter translucent jadeite.  When cutting an opaque stone in a double cabochon shape, it does nothing to brighten the stone.  In that case, a flat cut is a better cut for an opaque stone since a double cabochon only adds weight and does nothing for its color. Mountings are often time used to increase the brilliance of a jadeite piece of jewelry.  A cabochon piece of jadeite is often set into a mounting with a hole in the back. 

When light is shined through the hole, it can tell the customer whether the stone was treated or damaged in any way. Strands of matching jadeite beads are cut out of one piece of rough.  Producers will also match for “transparency, size and symmetry of cut”.  Because matching for color is so difficult,  single strands of jadeite beads can sell for extremely high prices.  The twenty seven bead Doubly Fortunate necklace sold for $9.3 million dollars making each 15mm bead worth $344,000 dollars. The first jade bracelet dates back at least four thousand years.  Even today, a perfectly smooth jadeite bangle is thought to bring peace and protection.

  A single 8.36mm jadeite bangle sold at Christie’s Hong Kong auction in November 1999 for $2,576,600 dollars. Jadeite has a degree of 7 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale.  Because some bangles are cut from one piece of rough, a great deal of rough is lost.  Several pieces of a hinged jadeite bangle will cost less than one cut out of one piece of jadeite. The traditional carved bangle can hide imperfections in the material.  This is especially true with mottled jadeite but as mentioned earlier, when a jadeite bracelet is carved from one piece of rough, it will be quite expensive. The Chinese eternity symbol is simple and bears great significance.  It is a plumb disk with a hole in the center.  The disk is expected to be more than twice the size of the hole which could be decorated with a diamond in the middle.  Jadeite eternity symbols are usually mounted as pendants or brooches.  Smaller eternity symbols are made into earrings or cufflinks.

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