Identifying Fake Jades
Description & eBay Examples
By Molly Kalafut
June 2009: Update - I've received a lot of wonderful feedback, including helpful constructive information, from viewers of this webpage, and I extend my appreciation to all of you. When I have time I hope to update this page with the information I've received, but it probably won't be anytime soon.
Also, just wanted to say, while I wish I could help reader email requests to identify their jade articles or potential buys, I don't have the expertise. I'm not an expert and it is difficult to judge from just photographs. This page is simply a hobby for me that I hope helps to steer others in the right direction. Please try to contact a commercial gem or jewelry expert. I hope you can understand, thank you.
Many merchants and antique dealers have a tendency to call any green-looking stone "jade", when it may really just be serpentine, glass or even plastic. Some confusion arises when the word "jade" is used misleadingly to describe something that is just "green". Sadly, a number of names for minerals are very misleading because they use the word "jade" but are not, in fact, either jadeite or nephrite. Listed here are a number of common fakes and fraud.
Here are a few ground rules and warnings about fake jades:
1. Just because something is green doesn't make it "jade".
2. Location names are almost a dead giveaway that something is not jadeite or nephrite.
Note About eBay: Be very careful when purchasing jade from sellers on eBay! As illustrated below in many examples, some dishonest or ignorant sellers are more than willing to use the word "jade" in many misleading ways. Try to make sure the seller specifies "jadeite" or "nephrite" and offers a guarantee. I even chose some of the good examples, like where it says "soapstone jade"...some confused or dishonest merchants might list their green soapstone as "jade" and not even say "soapstone". All examples were chosen from eBay on one day and are just a few chosen out of many examples. At any given time there are dozens to hundreds of fake jades for sale. Beware!
"Afghanistan jade" or "Afghan jade" is a variety of serpentine called bowenite, and sometimes called "sang-i-yashm". It can vary from white to light and dark green and can occur with black or pink.
Example of "Afghanistan Jade" falsely represented as jade on eBay
"African jade" is actually a green variety of garnet called "grossular" and is not true jade.
Example of "African Jade" falsely represented as jade on eBay
Not surprisingly, "agate jade" is in fact agate and not jade. Sometimes the color varieties are misrepresented and called "red agate jade".
Example of "agate" falsely represented as jade on eBay
Even worse, this item's description very blatantly tries to give the impression that this is jade, when agate is not jade! "The ancient Chinese believed that jade was the essence of Heaven and Earth. Chinese people has a long history of wearing jade...This baby bangle is made of top Chinese red agate jade"
"Alaska jade" is actually pectolite. The name "Alaska" refers to the pectolite deposits found near Point Barrow, Alaska.
"Albite Jade" is actually a combination white albite feldspar and green actinolite. It is said to be often made into bangles. Albite tends to give a white streaked look to the minerals that it is mixed with.
"Amazon jade" is actually a variety of green feldspar called "amazonite" and is not jade.
"Amazon Jade" is not true jade
"American jade" is actually californite and not jade. Californite is a type of green vesuvianite that is also sometimes called green idocrase.
"American Jade" is not true jade
"Andesine Jade" has nothing to do with jade and is just andesine.
"Asian jade" is such a generic name that it can refer to a variety of fake jades, particularly serpentine.
Example of "serpentine" falsely represented as jade on eBay
"Australian Jade" is chrysoprase quartz and not jade.
B. C. Jade
"B. C. Jade" refers to a nephrite jade found in British Columbia, Canada. The color moss-like medium green color.
"Beijing Jade" is sometimes glass misrepresented as jade.
"Candy jade" refers to a hard white stone (not jade) that is dyed to various bright colors green, yellow, pink and purple. One website describes some as resembling saltwater taffy.
Be careful about this Aztec word! It is used in Mexico to refer to jade, butalso includes carvings of other green non-jade rocks; including marble, serpentine, smithsonite and turquoise.
"Colorado jade" is actually a green variety of feldspar called "amazonite". It is called "Colorado" because the Pikes Peaks region is a large source of amazonite discovered in 1876.
"Dushan jade" is comprised of saussurite, not true jade.
In August 2006 I received email from someone demanding to know my source for this information, and called my page a "misleading bunch of bull". Setting the insults aside, the information on Dushan jade came fromR. V. Dietrich, Professor Emeritus from the College of Science and Technology, Central Michigan University. To quote:
Another website called "Chinese Jade Gifts" even states: "Nanyang jade: A kind of plagioclase rock with a hardness of 6-6.5 degree from Dushan, Nanyang, Henan province. So sometimes it is called Dushan jade." Sorry to say, but "plagioclase rock" is a feldspar, not jadeite or nephrite.
If that isn't considered convincing enough, check out this page
This page is called "Jade Sage from Mt. DuShan" and clearly states "Dushan Chime (Saussurite)"!
Followup: The person writing in to complain is in fact...a seller from eBay. After I politely responded with this information about saussurite, plagioclase and feldspar, she responded with, quote: "It seems redicious(sic) to me..I don"t(sic) want to talk about this anymore i'm sure to get my point...It takes all kind and your(sic) one of those other kinds I surpose(sic)..Your(sic) so full of it that it makes me sick". As I've said before, be very careful about purchasing jade on eBay!
Feather River Jade
"Feather River Jade" actually refers to californite, not jade.
"Fire jade" is a poor quality opal and not jade. Interestingly enough, I've seen "fire jade" advertised on eBay actually representing what the seller described as "red jade glass pieces"...clearly glass, not jade in any sense of the word.
"Fire Jade" in the eBay heading described further in the text as "red jade glass pieces". (Emphasis mine)
"Fukien jade" is made of soapstone, not jade.
"Garnet jade" are made of varieties of garnet and are not jade.
A picture of an item for sale called "NOBLEST GARNET JADE NECKLACE 4ROWS LONG" for $0.99 -- not only is it obviously garnet, but a true 4-row jade necklace with be 200 times that price.
Ghost jade is an interesting because while it is close to jade it isn't quite considered jade. It is a coarse-grained nephrite found in western Nevada. But it is too coarsely-grained to be considered true jade.
Happy Camp Jade
"Happy Camp Jade" is actually made of californite, not true jade. The name comes from californite deposits that were found at Happy Jack mine.
"Honan Jade" is really soapstone, serpentine or steatite, not jade. It's even been described as bowenite.
Interestingly, this eBay ad for "Honan Jade heart-all natural" describes it as "Honan jade (bowenite) heart"
Imperial Mexican Jade
"Imperial Mexican Jade" is really just green-dyed calcite, not jade.
The terms "India Jade" or "Indian Jade" usually means a green variety of quartz called aventurine and not true jade.
"India jade" is not true jade
This item is a refreshingly honest description of India Jade as Aventurine
"Jade Tenace" is really a white to light green mineral called saussurite.
Jade Matrix (also known as snowflake jade) is a greenish tremolite with some off-white albite feldspar. It is not true jade.
"Jadeolite" is actually syenite, not jade.
"Jadine" is really Australian chrysoprase and not true jade.
"Japanese jade" is really just white agate speckled with spinach-green.
"Jasper jade" is really just jasper or serpentine, not jade at all.
"Jiuquan jade" is a type of serpentine, not jade. It is green and can have black spots. It comes from the Qilian mountains of Gansu. The hardness is 4.5-5 and density is 2.44-3.18g/cm3.
The so-called "Korea Jade" is usually serpentine, bowenite, steatite or many other types of green stone, not jade. Occasionally it can refer to impure jade. Sometimes it's even just paste.
"Korea Jade" is not true jade
Lantian jade is really a form of serpentine called tremolite, and is not jade. It is generally yellow and light blue and is much softer than true jade. It comes from Lantian, Shanxi...hence the name.
"Lemon jade" is a bright yellow variety of serpentine that is often misrepresented as jade. It is especially confusing because it is conceivable that someone could legitimately describe yellow jade as lemony for descriptive purposes. My suggestion is to thoroughly question the seller about whether it is serpentine or jadeite.
"Longxi jade" is really tremolite, not jade. It is usually found from the Sichuan Province in China.
"Malaysian jade" is actually quartzite that has been dyed green or other colors.
"Manchurian jade" is just soapstone, not true jade.
"Marble jade" or "Jade marble" is a misleading way to describe green-colored marble that is definitely not jade.
These so-called "jade marble nugget beads" are actually made of plastic & acrylic, not jade!
"Meta-jade" is a Japanese glass jade simulant, not true jade. It is described as a "partially devitrified apatite-composition glass" and also "Iimori glass". It isn't as hard as true jade and can have a distinctive conchoidal fracture.
"Mexican Jade" or "Imperial Mexican Jade" is usually just dyed onyx or calcite that is dyed green. It is sometimes called "dyed stalagmitic calcite".
"Mexican Jade" is not true jade
"Mihuang jade" is a light to dark yellow color.
"Mountain Jade" has been a misleading name for dolomite.
"Nanyang jade" is really a white to light green mineral called saussurite, not jade.
"Nanyang jade" is a form of feldspar called plagioclase, and is not jade. It is said to have hardness of 5.5-6.5 and density 2.44-3.18g/cm3. It is produced in Nanyang, Henan and is also called "Dushan Jade".
The so-called "new jade" is usually just serpentine or a variety of serpentine called bowenite. It is a pale green color that some describe as "celery-like".
Oregon Jade or Oregon Jade Jasper
"Oregon Jade" is used to refer to dark green jasper or green garnet found in Oregon and California.
"Pectolite jade" is made of pectolite, not true jade.
While "Peking jade" sometimes legitimately refers to nephrite jade, sometimes it is only green glass or an apple-green colored serpentine.
Peking glass is just glass, not jade
The eBay comment for this item is: "Buddha head carving measuring approximately 12cm tall and 7.5cm in width carved from apple green serpentine sometimes referred to as "Peking Jade" by the jewelry trade"
"Pulga jade" is made of californite, not true jade. It received it's name for the deposits of californite found near Pulga, California.
"Pulga Jade is also known as Californite and is from Pulga, California which is on the Feather River where the main Pulga Jade - Californite was originally mined"
Pulga Jade is actually californite, not jade
"Queensland jade" is made of a variety of quartz called chrysoprase chalcedony.
"Regal jade" is a variety of quartz called aventurine, not true jade.
Rhode Island Jade
"Rhode Island jade" is a variety of light-green serpentine called bowenite that is misrepresented as jade. It occurs in Rhode Island inside small bits of limestone. Bowenite was discovered in 1822 and named after George T. Bowen, a Rhode Island geologist. It was in fact made the official state mineral in 1966. Reportedly there isn't much limestone left in Rhode Island so it's not found too often. Two of the most known quarries are called Harris and Conklin Lime Quarries.
"Rhodesian jade" is made of verite, not jade.
"Russian Jade" is usually serpentine, not jade.
"Serpentine Jade" is usually serpentine or bowenite, not jade.
"Shanghai Jade is steatite or talc, and not true jade.
"Shoushan Jade" (also called "Shoushan Stone") is sometimes called "jade". It is mined and quarried from a village called Shoushan, and is actually comprised of lava and crystalline ore. It does come in a wide range of colors but is not nearly as tough as true jade. These are most often faked as very elaborate 3-D sculptures.
Example of "ShouShan Stone" falsely represented as jade on eBay
Silver Peak Jade
"Silver Peak Jade" is a misleading term used (reportedly in Nevada) for malachite. It's not nearly as hard as jade (3.5-4 compared to jade's 6-7). It is usually easily visibly different.
"Siberian Jade" is occasionally described as nephrite, but in many places it appears with "Russian Jade" and described as serpentine, not jade.
"Siberian blue nephrite (also called dianite) - a massive blue (diverse hues) quartz, tremolite, magnesio-arfvedsonite rock, the texture of which resembles nephrite jade from an unspecified location, in Siberia (Johnson et al., 2000). Dianite - name used, especially in Russia, for the material listed here as Siberian blue nephrite (Johnson et al., 2000, p.66-67)."
Siberian or Russian jade is not true jade
"Soochow jade" is actually a soapstone, serpentine, bowenite or steatite...definitely not jade. The color is usually green, blue-green to grey-green. The name comes from the city of Soochow.
SooChow Jade is not true jade
South African Jade
"South African Jade" is actually a green variety of garnet called "grossular".
"Stryrian jade" from is a variety of serpentine found in Austria.
"Styrian jade - rock consisting largely of an aluminous serpentine (sometimes incorrectly called pseudophite), plus pinite (name sometimes applied to massive fine grained mica, typically muscovite) and clinochlore (a chlorite). Much, if not all, of this rock that has been carved into ornaments and marketed as a jade substitute has come from east of Graz, Styria State, Austria - [inferior hardness]. Pseudophite - see Styrian jade."
"Styrian jade - an aluminous serpentine (sometimes incorrectly called pseudophite) plus pinite (a designation frequently applied to massive, fine-grained mica, typically muscovite) and clinochlore (a chlorite) that has been carved into ornaments and marketed as a jade substitute. A well known locality is east of Graz, Styria State, Austria. "
"Swiss Jade" is actually just a dyed-green jasper or a white-to-green material called saussurite.
"Timber-Veined Jade" is actually comprised of calcite with some iron and received it's name from the vein stripes.
This may be a poor translation to English, but one website warns that this "this kind of jade will lose its polish right after contacting beer."
"Transvaal jade" is actually a green variety of garnet called "massive green grossular" and is not jade. It has also been called "hydrogrossular from Bufflesfontein".
Turkish Jade or Turkish Jadeite is a purple rock from Turkey that may have some jadeite content, but less than 80%.
"Vesuvianite jade" is another term for californite and is not true jade. The term "Vesuvianite" comes from deposits that were found near Mount Vesuvius in Italy.
"Virginia jade" is a green variety of feldspar called "amazonite" and is not jade.
"Xiuyan jade" is a form of serpentine -Mg6[Si4O10](OH)8- and is not jade. The rigidity is 3.5-5.5, density is 2.44-3.18g/cm3. It comes from Xiuyan of Liaoning.
Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and beyond! By Molly Kalafut