Jade Treatments: Jadeite or Nephrite?

Although jadeite and nephrite are both jade, their properties differ. In terms of treatments, the difference in porosity is particularly important. Jadeite is much more porous, making it more susceptible to dye and polymer enhancement. While these enhancements also occur in nephrite, they’re less common.

Jadeite and nephrite can receive heat treatments and coatings. You can also encounter them as assembled gems.

A, B, and C Jade

Many dealers have simplified jade treatments by using a letter grade to describe the most common treatments.

  • “A” jade refers to untreated, natural jadeite or nephrite. This material may have a wax coating, but no other treatment should be present.
  • “B” jade refers to material that has undergone bleach and polymer treatment.
  • “C” jade contains dye.

Bleach and Polymer Treatment: “B” Jade

Considered unattractive, brown areas in a jade piece will lower its price. This color typically arises from iron staining, and bleach can remove it. Unfortunately, bleach can also harm the jade’s structure, making it brittle and susceptible to breakage. As a result, jade dealers impregnate the bleached jade with a polymer or wax to improve stability and texture. The resulting piece has a more…