Jade. Water Buffalo.

Age: 21st century

Condition: Excellent

Size (cminches): 10 x 5 x 5

Buy Now

Item information


Green jade carved water buffalo.

History & Provenance

Try as it might, the Western world can simply no longer overlook the aesthetic and cultural significance of jade. There are two geologically distinct forms of jade: nephrite and jadeite. One won't cover the differences between nephrite and jadeite jade here. Suffice it to say that they have very similar physical properties and are both considered true jades from a gemmological, monetary and cultural standpoint. Jadeite jade is the scarcer of the two varieties, but any high-quality jade - regardless of whether it is nephrite or jadeite - is quite desirable and will fetch strong prices. Judging Jade Quality - There are three major characteristics to look for when investing in jade: translucency, texture and attractive coloration. Translucency is the ease with which light can pass through an object. With jade, the more translucent the stone, the more valuable it is. The most expensive jades are highly translucent, which gives them a diffuse, velvety appearance as they reflect light back to the viewer from deep within the stone. Opaque jades, on the other hand, will appear flat and one-dimensional in comparison. The texture of a jade is also quite important in determining its value. This can vary from a coarse texture, where individual crystals or fibres are readily visible, to a very fine texture, where effectively no internal structures are evident. A finely textured jade is much more desirable than a coarsely textured one. This is partly because the finer a jade's texture, the greater its translucency. Colour is the final factor in assessing a piece of jade. Bright, pure and vibrant colours (typically greens, whites, blues and lavenders) are the most valuable. In addition, the colour will ideally be evenly distributed throughout the stone, with little variation or mottling. Less desirable colours like browns, greys or blacks (unless pure black) will drag down the value of a piece. One uses these criteria to break jade down into three major quality categories: decorative, carving and jewellery. Decorative Quality Jade - The lowest tier is decorative quality jade. This jade is invariably coarsely textured and completely opaque, with no translucency whatsoever. In addition, its colour is often dull, splotchy or otherwise imperfect. It is quite common for decorative quality jade to contain healed fractures or non-jade mineral intrusions. 25 or 30 years ago, this type of low quality jade was simply abandoned at the mine site because it had no commercial value. But starting in the 1990s, there was a concerted effort to employ it in high-volume decorative uses (hence the name). Today, this kind of jade is used in premium floor and backsplash tiles, sink vanities and even kitchen countertops. It might also be used for low quality statues, bookends or other household decor. Carving Quality Jade - The next tier up in quality is carving jade. This mid-range quality jade varies from being completely opaque to slightly translucent. Likewise, its texture can range from coarse to medium. The colour palette of carving quality jades is generally much more evenly distributed and attractive compared to decorative jades. However, it will usually lack the wow factor characteristic of the highest quality jades. Carving quality jade might have some healed fractures, but non-jade mineral intrusions will usually be minimal. As the name implies, carving quality jade is most frequently used for carved statues, objets d'art, and other fairly high-end décor. It is also sometimes used in jewellery, but this will normally be lower-end to mid-range jewellery. When working with jade of this quality, a skilled carver can hide healed fractures and areas of poor colour within a finished piece's overall design, thus maximizing the value of the rough. Jewellery Quality Jade - The highest quality tier for jade is what I call jewellery quality. This jade will possess medium, fine or very fine texture. The finer texture of jewellery quality jade contributes to its greater translucency, which is a very desirable attribute. Jewellery quality jade can vary from being slightly translucent to extremely translucent, with large increases in value for relatively small increases in translucency. The colours found in this quality of jade are always attractive; it is just a question of how attractive. Some examples of the most desirable jade colours are Imperial green jadeite, which can look like the finest emerald, and mutton fat nephrite, which has a lustrous, creamy-white tone similar to porcelain. Colour distribution is typically good to excellent, with little mottling. One should note that in some instances strong colour contrasts are desirable. For example, moss-in-snow jade has grass green areas randomly sprinkled against a white background. Jewellery quality jade is extremely rare and therefore used exclusively for high-end jewellery or expensive objets d'art. Every single part of the jade rough is used in order to minimize waste. Cabochons, bangle bracelets and carved pendants are typical products. Bangles made from jewellery quality jade are particularly desirable, as it can be quite difficult to find rough material large enough to fashion into a single-piece bracelet. Jewellery quality jade is quite expensive and even the lower end of this quality spectrum is coveted. One wants to remind readers that these are subjective jade quality rankings, and are not industry standard. In addition, there are no clear distinctions between the quality categories. High end decorative quality jades blend seamlessly into low end carving quality jades. Likewise, the best carving quality jades merge into the bottom-rung of the jewellery quality jades.

Want to know more about this item?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this item. In addition, it is also possible to request more photographs if there is something specific you want illustrated.
Ask a question

Share this Page with a friend