Burmese (Burma) Jadeite

This is a semi precious stone to make jewelry and sculptures. 

There are two variants. jadeite & the other is nephrite from China and mines worldwide. The first one is mostly smuggled or officially imported from Burma and just called Chinese once it's in the country but finally nobody cares anyway where the mineral is coming from, the people want beautiful items, this is usually jewelry, a Buddha statue or other sculptures.

Buddha statues
White Buddha statues made from Burmese jade
"Mutton Fat" transpareny
"Mutton Fat" transparency
Green jade pendants
Green pendants

Pharkant jade mineThe best quality comes from the mines at Lonkhin - Pharkant Area near Myitkyina in Kachin State and a bit lesser quality from Khamti in Sagaing division, this is north of Mandalay.

miners on the way to work

The mineral has a high price tag especially when a few parameters come together, that means emerald like green color, luster and smooth texture, translucency and no cracks. 

Because of the awakening of the giant across the border in the last few years demand is rising sharply since this is what ladies like and they have access to more and more money. 

Chinese jade is nephrite
Chinese jade is nephrite
carved nephrite sculptures

Most old and new gems from China are nephrite.

There have been large deposits, today it is different since most is imported from Canada. Jadeite came to the middle kingdom in the 18th century via border trade during  
carved nephrite sculptures

British colonial times. The northern part of Myanmar was part of China for a limited period more than thousand years ago it was probably traded long before but there are no written records. 

When the stones come over the border it become a Yunnan gem.

great jade art
Great artistic decoration

Burma jade Buddha statues
Boulders of good quality are sometimes up to around fifty meters below ground and several hundred tons heavy, it's plentiful but the real good one is difficult to find since how to look into the stone?

pendant made from the mineral mined in Kachin State
artistically carved pendant
Artistically carved

On the other side in the mining area in Kachin state they break whole jade mountains apart. 

What is shown there is rather small there are other locations around 4 times bigger with dozens of mega truck bought in China operating.

selling Burmese jade rocks at emporium in Naypyidaw
Trading at the emporium in Naypyidaw

Usually they cut boulders and bigger rocks into pieces to get an idea but it's still vague and not only one buyer got a unpleasant surprise after buying the rough material from the mine sometimes even almost "blind" at the emporium in Naypyidaw. The emporium was held biannual before in Yangon.

creative blue jewelry
creative green jewelry

Shops selling creative jadeite jewelry.

and this is not only here. Probably the most sophisticated creations come from China. They work with the material since several thousand years with means they know it. Sometimes statues and sculptures, figurines etc. look rather like "Kitsch" much of fairy tale inspired. But they have different tastes and values.
great jadeite jewelry
Jadeite ring jewelry
jadeite Buddha shop at Yangon Bogyoke Market
Buddha sculpture shop

Now focusing at the items, it is always amazing to see how people are after a pendant, preferable with a Buddha carving. A ring is also not so bad, often visible on the fingers of the guys, they interpret some curative and protective mystic power into it.
pretty burmese jade body decoration
Pretty Burmese jade body decoration

The gemstones are used for all kind of body decoration,

sometimes it gets real expensive. A excellent bangle with a light and dark green texture and a high amount of translucency goes easily for around 2-3 thousand dollars at the Bogyoke Aung San Market in Yangon.

The variants and volume of different jewelry items is overwhelming and the demand is ever growing in particular since people get more money into the pocket and they are also willing to spend it, one item they spend on is jewelry.

necklace jewelry

Jadeite can be very valuable

sometimes even higher than other precious stones such as rubies or even diamonds because high grade is even more rare, especially in imperial green or maybe in black as this pendant at right side. Almost everyone can afford to buy it since the price range is very wide there are genuine bangles for around $ 10,- and at another store for $ 5000,- its amazing. That's similar with Buddha statues.

Burma Buddha statues
Laughing Buddha 
One of the problems is there are no exact parameter as with diamonds e.g. everyone is "cooking his own soup". This automatically leads to cheating especially if someone is not an expert. Mention this material and ideas of a mystic, almost sacred stones and jade pop in our mind. 

Some associate it with mysticism. 

Burma jade green Buddha
Burma jade white Buddha statue
Rough  jade is basically a rock or boulder extracted down from until around 50 m, another mining version is that they take a jade mountain with dynamite and bulldozers apart. it is used to create beautiful items such as a Buddha sculptures, pendants, rings, bangles, necklaces and more.

Extracted from the earth by mining and with very different levels of value, there are also fake items since everywhere where there is quick cash to be made the crooks are not far away.
Interestingly this green stone is not often used together with other materials such as gold or silver. There are item with metal around but relatively rare, attractive by itself
Burmese jade white buddha statue with ruby and gold dust
no need to supportive materials. Sometimes Buddha statues are decorated with ruby and gold dust.

The color spectrum is wide,

most popular are green, white and lavender, the more transparent the higher the value. The stone has a mystic aura built up over three thousand years and maybe more.

Stores selling genuine material are many at the Bogyoke market in Yangon, the premier bazaar in the country and Mandalay the manufacturing center with plenty of workshops.

The market mentioned above is a fabulous oriental shopping mall for all kind of precious stones, handicrafts, artworks, Buddha sculptures and items such as "paintings", antiques and plenty other.

This market has probably the highest density of jadeite stores in the world, here is more about.

Considering some billion people across the border who like the gems.

Prices do not fluctuate much, actually they only move upwards in recent years and this will be continuing.

carved lavender pendent
lavender and green gemstone
As with other gemstones its rarity, texture, color and translucency which counts, the mineral is cut, carved and polished mostly by Chinese experts, just look at this two carved gems here to get an idea.

Before buying it in the higher price range have the pieces of desire checked since there is too much cheating going on. Some put the stones into acid to bleach, treat them with extreme heat and pressure and fill raisins into to cover crack and so on. The treated piece looks great for about 2-3 years and will be junk after, the genuine piece not.

Burmese jade bracelet
Created as a lavender and green bracelet
Cheap Burmese Jade Jewelry
Cheap Burmese Jade Jewelry

In the beginning of 2011 a Chinese state enterprise bought a huge load for several hundred millions of dollars, they cut and carve them in China. Since Burma is not used to absorb such a large dollar sum the currency market in Rangoon went crazy and finally the local currency, the Kyat, went up almost 30% to the dollar. The result was their export products became to expensive. Still today (2015) jadeite prices are about 2-3 times higher than 2011.

black jadeite pendant
selling jadeite in Yangon

The biggest Burmese jade jewelry bazaar. 

in the country is in Yangon (Rangoon)  that is the Bogyoke Market. This is a treasure trove for every gem lover as you can see at the pictures. 
A bit about geology and how the rocks are formed. The rocks crystallized under high pressure in certain geological conditions millions of years ago. The material itself has no color but when trace elements such as iron, aluminum, manganese, magnesium move in under extreme pressure colors appear. This natural process is copies today to make low quality material look like high quality which finally is a fake, read more.

Burmese jade for sale
Small colorful Burmese jade rocks

Natural jadeite stones

Imperial jade rough boulder

The business with the green stone is quite a big one and there is still enough for a couple of hundred years since in Kachin state are whole jade mountains to be broken up. 

On the other hand the Chinese across the border are very demanding and they never care about any environmental issue the only want dollars now, without ever thinking about tomorrow.

Burmese lavender jade boulder
raw jade stones
Raw jade stones

1 comment:

  1. Great Burmese jade bought at Bogyoke market in Yangon