HomeAssembled Jadeite

Various types of assembled or composite pieces of jadeite appear to have been around for some time. 

Writing in the 1950s, Ehrmann (1958: 135, 158) describes a type of assembled jadeite triplet made in Hong Kong. The triplet is comprised of a hollow cabochon of very fine translucent white jadeite that is about 0.5 millimeter thick, a smaller cabochon that is cut to fit into the hollow one, and a piece of flat, oval jadeite that covers the bottom. The center of the cabochon is "colored with a jelly-like dye of the same color as the finest Imperial jade." The oval bottom is glued to the top and repolished. Ehrmann (1958: 158) states that "When unset, such triplets can be recognized easily by the seam on the bottom of the cabochon." But warns that once set "in the Chinese fashion (i.e., with a plate covering at the bottom of the stone, making the ridge invisible)... the result is perfect, giving the appearance of the finest quality, most expensive jadeite." A more conventional triplet was reported by the GIA in the mid-1960s "containing a green cement layer" (Walker 1991: 35).

A prominent travel guide to Hong Kong published in the 1980s warns travelers to look out for a type of jadeite triplet: "One trick of jade merchants is to sell a supposedly solid piece of jade jewellery which is actually a thin slice of jade backed by green glue and a quartz" (Clewlow 1986: 160). Webster (1975: 233) discusses what he describes as "an ingenious jadeite triplet." The process involves cementing a thin hollow cabochon top made of pale green highly translucent jadeite over a cabochon core and using green-colored cement. The base is made of a third piece of flat jadeite of inferior quality. The pieces are made of white jadeite that is stained green. Kammerling and McClure (1995) describe another version of assembled jadeite. The top of this one is made from an extremely thin piece of extremely dark green jadeite. The thinness of the jadeite allows light to pass through the stone in order to create the illusion that it is a piece of fine Imperial jade. The piece is filled with an epoxy-like substance and then mounted in such a way that the back is hidden. With some versions, the jadeite cabochon is dyed and then varnished (Koivula, Kammerling, and Fritsch 1994).

Walker (1991: 35) warns that "with adequate illlumination, a loose or unmounted jadeite triplet is easy to spot. But if the triplet is mounted in rings, earrings or cuff links, with covered backs, the separation plane is not readily visible." Testing wit a refractometer is little help with most of these triplets since they are made of pieces of jadeite. Discrepancies can often be detected under magnification. These include bubbles in the various substances used.

Hughes, Galibert, et al (2000: 23-24) discuss various types of assembled rough jadeite. This includes one type where the outer skin of the boulder is removed and then the surface if painted or stained green. Then the stone is immersed in chemicals which deposit a new oxidation layer on the surface. The authors note that "unlike the skin on genuine jadeite boulders, which is extremely tough and can be removed only by grinding, the fake skins are soft and easily taken off." In another version the core of the boulder is sawn or drilled out and then a green-colored filling and reflector are inserted. The hole is covered with a mixture of epoxy and grindings from the boulder surface. Sometimes only the window of the stone is treated. This can entail breaking off a chip from the boulder, staining it green, and then replaced it with epoxy so that when a window is cut on the stone it shows the faked green color. A somewhat easier method is simply to stain the window area green.

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