Jade - Real of Fake?

Posted by Lisa Woods on

So, how do you know if it's real Jade or not?

Jade is an amazing stone that is not only beautiful but it also has great healing qualities. It is absolutely one of my favorite stones to work with but with so many fakes out there in the market place, how do you know if what you have or what you are attempting to purchase is the real deal?

Only jadeite jade and nephrite jade are considered authentic jade.  

On my last annual trip to Hong Kong a couple months ago I had the great pleasure to learn about this in great detail.  As a Crystal Healer and a teacher of Crystal Healing, I felt it was something that I really needed to know about....especially since I really wanted to buy some pieces to bring home for myself.

So, when I went to find my normal Jade dealer and found that she was no longer there I was forced to buy elsewhere and this made me very nervous. Before I made any purchases, I spent a great deal of time educating myself by reading and talking to reputable gemologists at some of the upper scale jewelry stores.  What I learned was invaluable and could potentially save me a ton of money in the future because there are a whole lot of products out there that are passed off as real Jade.

Some of the materials that are passed off as jade are other stones that look similar and some aren't even stones at all, they may be glass or plastic! Yikes! 

So, here are some ways to test out your pieces to see if they are the real deal or not:

1.  Feel them - they should be cool or almost cold to the touch.  Even after you hold them in your hand for a short period of time they should still feel cool.  If you have plastic beads, they will instantly become warm.
2.  Hold them in your hand, how heavy are they?  Jade is heavy, if it is the real deal, it should have some weight to them (plastic and/or glass is much lighter).  Toss it up in the air and catch it in the palm of your hand.  Real Jade feels a lot heavier than it looks due to it's high density.

3.  Clink two of the stones together to hear what they sound like.  By gently tapping them together you can hear if it sounds like plastic or does it have a deeper sound?  If so, it may be a stone.  

4.  Jade is very hard on the mohs scale which means that they will not scratch.  Clean the area with alcohol and then take a sharp needle or tip of a knife and try to scratch the piece in an inconspicuous place (only if you can do this without ruining it).  If it scratches, it is most certainly not real jade.

Warning:  Never do this test on a piece that you do not own!

5.  If you have a rough piece of jade (rather than a rounded bead shape) scratch it against a piece of glass or metal.  Because Jade is very hard it will scratch and leave a mark in a piece of glass.

6.  If you have a jewelers loupe with at least 10x magnification it is also handy for checking out your specimen.  If you can see little fibrous or granular like inter twinnings it is probably real nephrite or jadeite but if it it is microcrystalline then it is most likely chrysoprase.

Other stones that are sometimes either mistaken for or passed off for Jade are Prehnite, Chrysoprase (which is Australian Jade) and Aventurine Quartz or Green Aventurine.  All of these are wonderful stones and great for healing but they are not Jade. 

O.K, Now.......To complicate matters even more, even when you know you have real jadeite, it is divided into 3 categories depending on how it may have been treated. 

  • Type A - The best kind.  This is 100% natural and untreated.  It only experiences the traditional process that includes washing it with plum juice and polishing with beeswax.  There are no artificial treatments done. Period.  This means that it has it's true color. 
  • Type B - This type has been chemically bleached to remove its natural impurities and may even be injected with polymer to enhance the translucency.  It can also be covered with a hard, clear plastic like coating to make it look better. Over time the polymer breaks down due to heat and it may even start to discolor but it is still 100% real jade with 100% natural color.
  • Type C - This type is chemically bleached and/or dyed to enhance the color.  Of course, over time the color starts to deteriorate and get discolored because of the reaction to light, body heat and even some household detergents. 

Even though these may be slightly altered to enhance their looks, all types are still 100% real Jade. 

Whew!  That's a lot and I didn't even talk about checking the density yet!  That is a whole other process that requires a lot of instruction but it is another way to check your stones.

There are so many fakes out there, it isn't only Jade that is being counterfeited so please be careful when making your purchases.  

Crystal Kisses,



1 comment

  • Thank you for this very helpful article. Jade is a stone I struggle with since there’s so many different types of stones sold as “jade.”

    I’m interested in your thoughts on serpentine and the assortment of jade monikers it’s sometimes given. Some I’ve seen are new jade, Canadian jade, and African jade.

    From what I’ve read serpentine is more waxy and softer than jade. But it’s sometimes dyed in an attempt to pass it off as nephrite jade. Have you had an opportunity to compare the two minerals? If so, do you have advice on how to spot serpentine masquerading as jade?

    Ramona on

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