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10 Facts About Buying Jadeite Jade Bangles

A comprehensive guide to Burmese Jade Bangles and Bracelets

Beautiful translucent Jadeite Jade Bangle.

What is Authentic Jade?

When it comes to Genuine Jade, one can refer to them as either Jadeite or Nephrite. Two different minerals but are alike in appearance. But wait...there are many other materials that looks like Jade too, and traders around the world are calling them Jade because it brings the value up of their product. These are what most might call "fake" jade, the non-genuine. As a buyer looking for Authentic Jade, it can be very confusing, maybe even daunting to get the best deal while making sure the piece is authentic. Fear not, by the end of this article you will have all the knowledge to buy Authentic Jade Bangles. In this guide, we will cover the more valuable and sought after Jadeite Jade. We will discuss its value, colour, translucency, texture, colour, artificial treatments, origin, and everything else you will need to know to choose the right bangle.  

Jadeite or Nephrite

Firstly, know which type of Jade you are going to buy. Nephrite or Jadeite, they are both real, authentic Jade. If you are looking for the same Chinese Jade Bangles that gets sold for millions of dollars at auction and was worn by the traditional Chinese imperial families, then you are looking for Jadeite Jade. Although they similar in appearance, their chemical compositions are very different. Jadeite has a higher hardness and is more durable. Nephrite is less lustrous and almost always opaque. Jadeite comes in a wider variety of colour while Nephrite generally comes in darker, more matte tones. Nephrite is commonly found in large deposits around the world and it’s generally used for carving because of its availability. Jadeite is a much rarer mineral and commercially only available from Myanmar (Burma).

Showing Jadeite Bangles that are similar in appearance to Nephrite Jade Bangles
a collage of 4 photos showing the different imitations to jadeite

Imitation (Fake) Jade

An Imitation is material that looks alike but has completely different chemical compositions and properties. As an example, Australian Jade is often an imitation for high quality Jadeite. Although it has Jade in its name, it's actually Chrysoprase which is a member of the Quartz family. Even Nephrite is sold as Jadeite to the unsuspecting customer. These common imitations are much less valuable and if paid for at Jadeite prices, you could be deeply out of pocket. Read the article on real examples of these fake jade bangles being sold on online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay.  Some common Jadeite imitations are: Grossular Garnet, Aventurine Quartz, Prehnite, Serpentine. These can sometimes fool the most experienced of eyes, further testing must be conducted for an identification. Refer to the table below for a list of common names for these imitations.

Guizhou Jade

A recent survey of the Jade Bangle market shows a large amount Guizhou Jade Bangles from China being sold as "Natural Certified Jadeite Jade" Bangles. Do not be fooled. Guizhou Jade is a type of Green Quartzite, a metamorphosized sandstone.

Guizhou Jade Bangle imitating a Jadeite bangle

Guizhou Jade Bangle imitating a Jadeite bangle

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Natural Jadeite comes in many qualities and colours. Not all Jadeite Jade are green and not all are translucent. Lower quality jadeite are opaque and of less desirable colour. In the market where the demand for high quality Jadeite is strong, industry experts artificially treat low quality Jadeite to enhance their transparency and colour. These treatments are not permanent and affects its general durability. The good appearance can deteriorate over time. Colour dyed Jadeite usually loses its colour with long exposure to sunlight. Depending on the level of treatment, the value of the Jadeite drops dramatically. Treated Jadeite will not gain value over time like untreated Jadeite. Beware of shops that pitch their products as “Genuine Fine Quality Burmese Jade” and fail to disclose any treatments. The type of treatments are classified into 5 categories from A - D. Learn in-depth about treated jade bangles in this article.

Grade / TypeTreatmentComments
ANone / WaxingNatural untreated Jade
BBleached, then impregnated with a polymer to enhance translucency and colourLow value, Losses durability and not stable
CDyed to improve colourLow value, Colour change or fade over time
B + CTranslucency and colour enhancedLow value, as above
DComposite materialJadeite combined with other material such as plastics or glass
A man paints on dyes onto a Jade Bangle to enhance the colour.

A man paints on dyes onto a Jade Bangle to mimic natural looking colour veins and inclusions.

TYPE C Jade Bangles Floods Myanmar Jade Market

A recent market update from Myanmar shows the Jade market in Myanmar is now flooded with dyed, Grade C Jadeite Jade Bangles. The Burmese rarely treat their Jade products but as of the last recent years, treatments are becoming more common and in some cases, they are becoming the new norm. The majority of the world's Jade bangle supply comes from Burma. For this reason, we need to be aware of these treatments that can affect the value of a Jade bangle greatly. Read more: Dyed Jade Bangles in Myanamr.

Polymer on the surface of a treated jade bangle has strated to come off

Degradation of polymer on the surface revealing a bleached area.

Graph showing the value of natural vs treated jade over time.

Graph showing the value of natural vs treated jade over time.

Internal degradation of polymer showing discolouration and coarse texture.

Internal degradation of polymer showing discolouration and coarse texture.


An overly misused & misunderstood phrase

The general conception of Grade A is of a high quality, or fine quality material in most circumstances but not in the case of Jade. This term only refers to the level of treatment a piece of Jadeite Jade has gone through and has nothing to do with quality.

Colours of Jadeite Jade

Natural Jadeite can come in many colours: green, lavender, red, orange, yellow, brown, grey, black, and white. The most sought after the colour of Jadeite is called the Imperial Green which is an Emerald like vivid green colour. It's closely followed by Lavender Jade which has a purplish blue hue. Icy Jade is coming into trend with its near transparent white colour.

Various jadeite cabochons in varying colours


Like many other gemstones, the transparency of Jadeite Jade is a factor in determining the quality. Myanmar Jadeite Jade can range from near transparent to opaque. Opaque Jade bangles are considered lesser in value because they are plentiful. The value of a jade bangle can increase dramatically even with the slightest improvement translucency.

Chart showing the translucency of jade from opaque to semi transparent.


Texture of the material plays an important factor in determining a value of a jade bangle. High value jadeite is fine or smooth in texture and does not have a coarse granular look.

Chart showing a texture of jade from caurse to fine


Jadeite Jade being a product of nature, created through tremendous heat and pressure, usually have natural flaws. They are only avoidable to an extant because of the way these bangles are carved out of the rough mineral. Carving out a perfect piece would mean wasting precious material and even then, it's not guaranteed to bring out a flawless bangle. Perfect bangles are possible (with some luck and miracle), however, they are rare and carries a higher premium. These flaws or inclusions do not affect the durability of the bangles. In fact, it gives it a uniqueness. A fingerprint of sorts. In most scenarios, these natural flaws are strong indicators that a bangle hasn't been artificially treated. Some common inclusions in Burmese Jade Bangles are shown on the diagram to the right.

A diagram outling the various natural flaws in a jade bangle

Note. This is not the true colour of this bangle. Colours has been altered digitally to bring out the flaws.

The driller uses a specialised drilling machine to form rough jadeite bangles.

The driller uses a specialised drilling machine to form rough jadeite bangles.

How Jade Bangles are Made

Jade Bangles are made by craving from large natural boulders which are then sliced in to manageable slabs. Holes are drilled out of these slabs to create a rough jade bangle. From the rough, skilled men shaped them into various styles just with the use of the hands. They are finally polished in a traditional manner just like from ancient times. See the whole jade bangle production process from boulder to bangle with photos here.

Diagram showing the various styles of jade bangles

Bangle Styles

Myanmar Jadeite Jade Bangles comes in six different styles. The diagram on the left shows the cross section of a bangle. Traditionally, Jade bangles were worn with a Round or Oval style. Over time, the trend is progressing towards Halfmoon and Flat styles. Partly due to the decreasing amount of good translucent material. A thinner, flatter style allows more light to pass through making the bangle appear more translucent. Nevertheless, round styles are still popular and is a matter of personal preference

World's Most Expensive Jade Bangle

The current world record price for Jadeite bangle is currently at $7.8M AUD ($5.6M USD) set in 2015 at Sotheby's Hong Kong. It was a Guifei bangle; an oval shaped bangle for imperial consorts pioneered during the Tang Dynasty. But as of recently(2018) a highly translucent, imperial green coloured jadeite bangle named The Circle of Heaven has been offered with an estimate price more than double the current record.  See the Top 10 most expensive bangles article.


Jadeite Jade Bangles are non-flexible, made out of solid mineral. Sizes refer to the internal diameter as shown below in millimetres. The usual sizes are from 54mm - 66mm. Follow this Jade Bangle Sizing Guide to determine the correct fitment.

Photo of jade bangle with internal measurements

Benefits of Wearing a Jade Bangle

Jadeite Jade is a symbol of wealth, health and protection in Chinese culture. The Chinese have treasure this gemstone for centuries because it is believed to bring the wearer wealth and good fortune.

Colour Change Over Time

There are reported cases of Grade A Jadeite Jade bangles changing colour over time from wear. It’s important to note that colour change in treated jadeite is different topic. If the colour change from green to brownish colour, it is believed that the bangle has been drawing negative energy from your body. On the other hand, if the bangle turns greener, the bangle has been deposited with positive energy over time. The process may take years to notice. It’s recommended that you take a photo of the bangle when you first wear it to observe the change.

Maintenance and Care

Caring for a Natural Jade Bangle requires very little. The material itself is very tough and will resist to chips and breaks. Regular cleaning is recommended to maintain your bangle's original lustre (shine). Read this expert's guide to cleaning, waxing and caring for Jade Bangles, natural or treated.


The finest source of Jadeite Jade in the world comes from Kachin state, Myanmar (Burma). It's also the only commercial source for Jadeite in the world. Other small deposits are found in Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, Guatemala, and USA.

Map of jade mining location in myanmar

Mineral Properties

Chemical FormulaNaAlSi2O6 (Sodium Aluminium Silicate)
Hardness6.5 - 7
Crystal SystemMonoclinic
TransparencyNear transparent – Opaque
Specific Gravity3.3 - 3.5
Reflective Index1.654 – 1.673
LustreVitreous – Waxy


Trade NameMineral
Burmese, Yunnan, Imperial JadeJadeite
Chinese, Canada, Russian, Wyoming JadeNephrite
New Zeland GreenstoneNephrite or Bowenite
Indian, Amazon JadeAventurine
Manchurian, Shanghai, Fujian, Honan JadeGreen Talc
Guizhou, Malaysia JadeQuartzite
Australian JadeChrysoprase
California, American JadeVesuvianite

Further Reading

Fake Jade Bangles on ETsy & Ebay

Lately, many listings have appeared on marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. Read this article for examples of Fake Jade Bangles with Fake Certificates and why you should choose where to buy jade wisely.

Cleaning Waxing and Caring

Some care and caution is required went it comes to handling and cleaning jade bangles. Read this guide to maintain the best possible appearance for your jade bangle.

Buying Gemstones in Australia

Complete guide on buying gemstones in Australia including Australian gemstones, famous gem towns and where to buy gemstones. Must ready for anyone looking to assess the qualities of a gemstones before purchasing.

About the Author

Wai Yan

Wai was born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Trained by the Gemmological Association of Australia, he is a qualified Gemmologist. Throughout his life, he has been in constant contact with gemstones and jewellery through the family business and has been fascinated by the beauty and rarity of them all. He is now operating a branch of the business in Australia, supplying all kinds of gemstones especially of Burmese origin to international markets. 

Last Updated 06/05/2019


  • Wai Yan

    Dear Ed,

    I thank you for your feedback on Nephrite. Please let me clarify your misunderstanding on the subject. Yes, I do agree with you that Nephrite is selling for more than gold but so are any other semi precious gemstone materials like Quartz and Garnets. The article is written in relation to Jadeite and Jadeite far more scarce than Nephrite. Nephrite is tougher due to its interlocking fibrous crystal structure but it lacks in hardness and it’s relatively easy to scratch. Therefore, Jadeite has superior overall durability.

    Jade in ancient China was all Nephrite because that was what was available in China. Only in the recent centuries, after the discovery of Jadeite deposits in Myanmar that the Chinese deemed the material more valuable because of its incredible lustre, durability and colours. Nephrite does have its own value but it does not compare to Jadeite because of its rarity and beauty.

    No doubt, you can find beautiful jewellery and carvings made out of Nephrite but so can you in Jadeite. And yet, they will never compare in rarity to Jadeite.


  • Wai Yan

    Dear Shinta,

    If you would like to buy Jade bangles in Burma. I would recommend you go to Bogyoke Aung San Market in Yangon. There are many vendors that sell Jade bangles there. Just beware of Type B treated Jadeite and also Type C dyed Jadeite. Both are commonly available in the market along with other imitation materials. Hope this helps you in searching for a jade bangle in Myanmar.


  • Wai Yan

    Dear Thea,

    Thank you for getting in touch with us. I can help you with the appraisal or valuation of your Jade bangle. I’m not sure of any services for jade in South Africa but if you could send me photos along with any documentation of the bangle, I can consult with you over email and help determine the value of the bangle if possible.


  • Wai Yan

    Dear Debra,

    Thank you for your comment. As far as flaws goes, it sounds like you have a significant flaw on your bangle. $2500 bangle should not have such a major flaw with movement. Bangles from our range will not come with flaws or if they do they won’t be major flaws. Now, there is an option for you to fix this bangle before it breaks from the flaw and doing more damage when it hits the ground.

    You could bring the bangle to us or a local jeweller and have it cut into 2 pieces to then rejoining them with a gold hinge and buckle. Or you could reinforce the crack area with a gold overlay to hide the flaw and to ensure that it stays in one piece.


  • Debra

    I paid $2500.00 for a Jade bracelet in China. Today I noticed a crack through and movement at the crack site. It there anyway to effectively repair this bracelet before it comes apart completely?

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