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“Gold has a value; jade is invaluable”

There is a Chinese saying “Gold has a value; jade is invaluable”. How true is this?

To start with, let’s try to understand more about jade. There are two types of jade stones: jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is highly demanded and is usually sourced from Myanmar, formerly Burma. The latter, nephrite, is usually sourced from China. Here, we will focus on jadeite.

To understand the value of jade, we have to look beyond its role as a gemstone and beautiful adornment. Jade is rich in heritage and widely believed to have spiritual meanings in the Chinese culture.

The ultimate value of a particular piece of jadeite depends on various factors. The most important factor is colour, but translucency, clarity, and even its carvings can significantly affect the price. Unlike other gemstones, jadeite is usually sold by piece, and not by carat weight. Since almost every piece is different, it is difficult to establish a standardized pricing scale.

The value of jadeite is also affected by the demand and supply curves. From demand perspective, we know that the China market is still the largest consumer. Therefore, as China becomes wealthier, and its appetite for jade increases, it will drive up the prices. From supply perspective, the unrest and unstable political situations and trade restrictions in Myanmar, further exacerbated by depletion of natural jadeite mines will certainly cause the prices to climb even further.