Using jadeite in modern jewellery is becoming increasingly popular


Jadeite has become a popular choice in jewellery, for example in this ring with rubies, by DeGem. — photo: DeGem

Jewellery connoisseurs and collectors place value in various types of stones, and jadeite is not just valuable, rare and beautiful, it is also a symbol of longevity, prosperity and integrity.

“When people talk about jade (Yu in Mandarin), it actually consists of two distinct minerals, jadeite and nephrite, but only jadeite (known as Fei Cui in Mandarin) is rare and appreciates in value in the gemstone industry and the worldwide market, ” explains DeGem Group’s operations and business devevelopment director Jia Chen Choong.

“People buy jadeite for its meaning, beauty and value. At DeGem, we aim to enhance the experience for the customer in all three aspects”.

In oriental culture, jadeite is a special mineral that symbolises longevity, prosperity and integrity.

DeGem’s Jia Chen Choong explains that the brand has a fresh, modern approach to jadeite design. — Photos: DeGemDeGem’s Jia Chen Choong explains that the brand has a fresh, modern approach to jadeite design. — Photos: DeGem

To the Chinese, it is ascribed traditional ideal virtues, valued for its superior hardness, toughness, translucency and glossy luster. The Chinese commonly believe that jadeite protects its wearer from harm and evil – that jadeite bracelets cushion falls and blows to the body.

The value and beauty of jadeite

Prized as a status symbol, it adorns many a headgear of officials in ancient China, depicting integrity and a clean character.

In ancient China, only limited amounts of nephrite were mined, and it was only in 1784, when Qing dynasty emperor Qianlong expanded Chinese rule into northern Burma, that Chinese adventurers soon discovered the source of fine jadeite.

From the 18th century onwards, this Burmese jadeite was transported back to the imperial court, reserved only for royalty.

Among prominent historical figures that were fond of jadeite was Empress Dowager Cixi, de facto supreme ruler of China for 47 years until her death in 1908.

She is documented in official portraits wearing deep-green jadeite bracelets on both wrists, and she also enjoyed having jadeites as accessories on her daily clothing.

“Fine jadeite is valued based on its translucency, texture and intensity of green. The more translucent, the greener, and the more even its texture and lustre, the more value it can command, ” says Choong.

Sleek green jadeite cabochon set in Art Deco-inspired ring design.  — photo: DeGem Sleek green jadeite cabochon set in Art Deco-inspired ring design. — photo: DeGem

“The finest-quality or most ideal jadeite, known as ‘imperial jade’ is almost transparent with vibrant and pure emerald-green colour, ” he adds. “This rare colour, once favoured by Emperor Qianlong, tops the charts as one of the world’s most expensive gems, to date.

“The green that can command millions of dollars may range from pure green to a slightly bluish green or a slightly yellowish green, with no trace of grey”.

Other prized fine jadeite colours range from lavender and brown to ice white, and while these colours used to be more affordable in the 1980s, their value has now increased manifold in value as the supply of fine colours are dwindling.

“At DeGem, we only deal with Type A Jadeite, which is natural Burmese jadeite that is not dyed in colour or chemically treated to enhance its appearance. If you’re looking for a piece to invest in or as an heirloom, treated jadeite does not hold value, ” explains Choong.

“All of our fine jadeite are handpicked personally from the source, and we curate exceptional pieces that we know in our experience will only increase in value for generations to come.

“Overall, in the past 20 years, we have seen the prices of jadeite increase more than 10 times, because the demand is only getting stronger brought on by increasing buying power from the large mainland Chinese population, but supply-wise, the Burmese jade mountains are diminishing, ” he adds.

A fresh approach to jadeite

At DeGem, the approach to jadeite design is a more contemporary one, as some perceive it as being old-fashioned, linking it to carvings and deity protection amulets.

“We have a fresher approach by selecting unique shapes of beautiful jadeite instead of traditional carvings or cabochon shapes, in fine colours of green, lavender and ice white, ” says Choong.

“Then, we set these gems into modern yet timeless designs that truly change customers’ perceptions, as pieces they can easily imagine wearing on the daily or as outstanding pieces for dinners and weddings.

Green jadeite slabs in a modern design as elegant earrings. — photo: DeGem Green jadeite slabs in a modern design as elegant earrings. — photo: DeGem

“As we have clients in China and Europe, what we see in these markets is that the young Chinese and Europeans love our unique and modern designs, especially in the Art Deco or Chinoiserie inspired styles that add more mystical allure to the beauty of fine jadeite. We also see that Americans have a strong appreciation and love for one-of-a-kind jadeite jewellery, ” adds Choong.

Every Lunar New Year, DeGem launches a small collection of that year’s zodiac animal, with pieces featuring Type A Jadeite, a range that has been well-received as customers purchase them as collectibles and gifts.

Whether it’s jadeite, diamonds, or other fine gems, DeGem remains a top choice for it’s various products, customer service and customer education.

With three generations’ worth of knowledge in sourcing the finest quality gems for the fairest prices, DeGem has built a reliable track record, and having forged direct relationships with miners, they have immediate access to prime goods before it is passed to other jewellers.

“With our expertise, we have our own in-house gem cutting facility to fashion rough to gemstone, allowing us to have better quality control over the gemstones we source, and custom cut specifications for customers, offering personalised gemstone cutting, ” explains Choong.

“Our existing diverse curation of ready stock is also an advantage and one of the reasons why customers choose us, as they are able to have an immediate selection of fine pieces to choose from, in the comfort of our boutiques in secure locations, ” he adds.

They also have a made-to-order jewellery design service, for customers who prefer personalised and one-of-a-kind pieces.

Visit www.degemdiamond.com for more information on these and other products.

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