How to Tell if Jade Is Real


Jade is a beautiful stone that can be green, lavender, orange, red, yellow, or white. It’s quality is graded A, B, and C, depending on how it’s been treated.[1] Whether you’re shopping for jade or are curious about your jewelry collection, it’s helpful to be able to identify the real thing versus a fake. First, check the color and texture of the stone to make sure it looks smooth, vibrant, and consistent. Then, do some basic at-home tests to evaluate the stone. Finally, it’s best to get your stone examined by a jeweler to verify its authenticity.

Part 1
Checking the Color and Texture

Checking the Color and Texture on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Examine the stone's color to make sure it appears rich and vibrant. In most cases, it won’t be purely opaque or purely transparent. Because it’s a combination of opaque and transparent, look for a shine that's similar to light reflecting off water. If the color is dull or flat, it’s likely a fake stone.[2] Jade can sometimes be totally opaque, but the opaque stones aren’t very valuable.[3] If it looks like there are air bubbles in the stone, then it’s likely not real.Tip: Real jade is rated A, B, orC based on how it’s beentreated to achieve the color ofthe stone. Type A means a stoneis natural, untreated jade thatmay have a wax coating to enhanceits color. Type B is chemicallybleached to remove impurities,then injected with a polymer tostrengthen it. Finally, type C ischemically bleached and dyed toenhance its color, so it may fadeor discolor over time.[4]Tip: Real jade is rated A, B, or Cbased on how it’s been treated toachieve the color of the stone. Type Ameans a stone is natural, untreatedjade that may have a wax coating toenhance its color. Type B ischemically bleached to removeimpurities, then injected with apolymer to strengthen it. Finally,type C is chemically bleached and dyedto enhance its color, so it may fadeor discolor over time.[4]Tip: Real jade is rated A, B, or C based onhow it’s been treated to achieve the colorof the stone. Type A means a stone isnatural, untreated jade that may have a waxcoating to enhance its color. Type B ischemically bleached to remove impurities,then injected with a polymer to strengthenit. Finally, type C is chemically bleachedand dyed to enhance its color, so it mayfade or discolor over time.[4]Tip: Real jade is rated A, B, or C based on how it’s been treated toachieve the color of the stone. Type A means a stone is natural,untreated jade that may have a wax coating to enhance its color. Type Bis chemically bleached to remove impurities, then injected with apolymer to strengthen it. Finally, type C is chemically bleached anddyed to enhance its color, so it may fade or discolor over time.[4]Tip: Real jade is rated A, B, or C based on how it’s been treated to achievethe color of the stone. Type A means a stone is natural, untreated jade thatmay have a wax coating to enhance its color. Type B is chemically bleached toremove impurities, then injected with a polymer to strengthen it. Finally,type C is chemically bleached and dyed to enhance its color, so it may fade ordiscolor over time.[4]

Checking the Color and Texture on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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You should notice some color variations throughout the stone if the jade is real. These are likely to be consistent, meaning that you will notice the same patterns throughout the stone. On the other hand, fake jade may have perfect coloration or could have uneven consistency, meaning that it looks blotchy in spots.[5] It may help to examine the jade directly under a light so that you can view it better.Hold the stone to the light andlook for irregularities. If thestone has fibrous veins or airbubbles in the interior it istypically counterfeit.Hold the stone to the light and lookfor irregularities. If the stone hasfibrous veins or air bubbles in theinterior it is typically counterfeit.Hold the stone to the light and look forirregularities. If the stone has fibrousveins or air bubbles in the interior it istypically counterfeit.Hold the stone to the light and look for irregularities. If the stonehas fibrous veins or air bubbles in the interior it is typicallycounterfeit.Hold the stone to the light and look for irregularities. If the stone hasfibrous veins or air bubbles in the interior it is typically counterfeit.

Checking the Color and Texture on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Authentic stones are more likely to have minor imperfections, like an uneven shape, dips in the surface, or pitting. These may remain even after the stone has been polished. Check your stone to see if it looks too perfect. If it does, then it’s likely a fake.[6] This might not work as well if you’re buying a piece of fine jewelry, as the highest quality pieces of jade may not have imperfections.

Part 2
Doing Basic Tests

Doing Basic Tests on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Real jade has a very high density, which means it will feel heavier than you might expect based on its size. Toss and catch the stone several times to get a feel for its weight. If you can, compare it to a different stone so you can get an idea of how heavy the jade feels.[7] Although this test is imprecise, it’s a popular way to judge the authenticity of jade.

Doing Basic Tests on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Jade is naturally a very cool stone, so it will feel cold to the touch. Hold it against your face or neck to see if it feels cool against your skin. If it doesn’t, then it may be a fake.[8] If you hold the stone against your face for a few minutes, it still shouldn’t heat up. It should feel cold even if you rub the stone up and down on your skin.

Doing Basic Tests on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Place the stone in your palm, then wrap your hand around it. Squeeze the stone tightly to try to heat it up. Wait 1-2 minutes, then feel the stone to see if it’s still cool. Real jade should still feel cool to the touch, while a fake will likely be warm.[9] It’s possible that a fake stone will still feel cool, but this test may help you separate the real stones from the fakes.Our Expert Agrees: Thetemperature of the stone can helpdetermine whether it’s realjade. Hold the stone in your handto see how it feels — real jadetakes a while to warm up. If yourstone heats up fairly quickly anddoesn’t feel cool in your hand,it is most likely a counterfeit.Our Expert Agrees: The temperature ofthe stone can help determine whetherit’s real jade. Hold the stone inyour hand to see how it feels — realjade takes a while to warm up. If yourstone heats up fairly quickly anddoesn’t feel cool in your hand, itis most likely a counterfeit.Our Expert Agrees: The temperature of thestone can help determine whether it’s realjade. Hold the stone in your hand to see howit feels — real jade takes a while to warmup. If your stone heats up fairly quicklyand doesn’t feel cool in your hand, it ismost likely a counterfeit.Our Expert Agrees: The temperature of the stone can help determinewhether it’s real jade. Hold the stone in your hand to see how itfeels — real jade takes a while to warm up. If your stone heats upfairly quickly and doesn’t feel cool in your hand, it is most likely acounterfeit.Our Expert Agrees: The temperature of the stone can help determine whetherit’s real jade. Hold the stone in your hand to see how it feels — realjade takes a while to warm up. If your stone heats up fairly quickly anddoesn’t feel cool in your hand, it is most likely a counterfeit.

Doing Basic Tests on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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This can help you judge the density of the stone you think might be jade. Clap the stones together several times and listen to their sound. Since jade is hard, you should hear a deep, resonant sound when the stones strike each other. If the stones sound like plastic beads, then the suspected jade stone is likely a fake.[10] If you don’t have any real jade, you can try doing this test with a different stone. However, keep in mind that it might not work as well as when you use real jade.

Doing Basic Tests on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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For a simple scratch test, rub your fingernail along the side of the stone to see if you can scratch it. As another option, use a pair of scissors or a knife to scratch the surface of the stone in an inconspicuous place. If the stone scratches, it’s likely not real.[11] Real jade is a hard stone, so it won’t scratch easily.Variation: As another option, youcan do a scratch test with a hotpin to make sure the stoneisn’t dyed to look like jade.Heat up a stick pin using hotwater, then rub the point of thepin along the surface of thestone. Check the stone to makesure it didn’t scratch. Ifthere are scratches, it’slikely a fake.[12]Variation: As another option, you cando a scratch test with a hot pin tomake sure the stone isn’t dyed tolook like jade. Heat up a stick pinusing hot water, then rub the point ofthe pin along the surface of thestone. Check the stone to make sure itdidn’t scratch. If there arescratches, it’s likely a fake.[12]Variation: As another option, you can do ascratch test with a hot pin to make sure thestone isn’t dyed to look like jade. Heatup a stick pin using hot water, then rub thepoint of the pin along the surface of thestone. Check the stone to make sure itdidn’t scratch. If there are scratches,it’s likely a fake.[12]Variation: As another option, you can do a scratch test with a hot pinto make sure the stone isn’t dyed to look like jade. Heat up a stickpin using hot water, then rub the point of the pin along the surface ofthe stone. Check the stone to make sure it didn’t scratch. If thereare scratches, it’s likely a fake.[12]Variation: As another option, you can do a scratch test with a hot pin to makesure the stone isn’t dyed to look like jade. Heat up a stick pin using hotwater, then rub the point of the pin along the surface of the stone. Check thestone to make sure it didn’t scratch. If there are scratches, it’s likelya fake.[12]

Part 3
Visiting a Jeweler

Visiting a Jeweler on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Jewelers are trained to recognize real and fake precious gems and stones. They can examine the stone under a magnifier to make sure it has the structure of a true jade and to check for signs of a fake. They will evaluate the properties of the stone and then tell you if it’s real or fake.[13] Typically, the jeweler will do these tests while you’re there. You may want to talk to more than 1 jeweler to get multiple opinions about the authenticity of the stone.

Visiting a Jeweler on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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Your jeweler can measure the density of the stone you suspect is jade using a spring scale and water displacement test. Then, they’ll compare the density to a jade density chart to see if it meets the standards of real jade. If it does, then your stone is likely real. However, it’s likely not real if the density of your stone is not consistent with jade.[14] If you have concerns about the density test, ask your jeweler how they typically perform the test before they get started. They may even let you watch them do it.

Visiting a Jeweler on How to Tell if Jade Is Real

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One of the benefits of seeing a jeweler is getting your stone valued. The jeweler can evaluate both the jade and its setting, if the stone is already part of a piece of jewelry. Ask them how much you can expect to sell the jade for, as well as if they think the value could increase over time.[15] Keep in mind that this valuation is still an estimate. It’s best to talk to multiple jewelers when you’re trying to estimate the value of a piece, but this can help you understand what your stone is worth.