Like most luxury products, the jade market also suffered from China’s anti-corruption campaign in recent years. But as long as one has the holding power, professionals in the trade said, the outlook remains promising.
The biggest support for jade prices is its supply shortage.
“Myanmar is the major producer, but after a few hundred years of mining, there is not much left,” a jewelry expert told the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
“You can only buy from the official Myanmar channel. But the supply has declined in recent years due to political changes in the country, offsetting the demand drop. The actual price fall is quite limited,” he added.
Since rarity is often the major selling point of precious stones, and the key factor behind their prices, specialists said high-grade jade worth at least a million Hong Kong dollars has the best investment potential.
“You can’t get anything nice with just HK$200,000 to HK$300,000 these days,” a manager from auction house Christie’s said.
Jade doesn’t have the exact equivalent of the four Cs yardstick – carat weight, color, clarity and cut – as in the case of determining the quality of diamonds.
But in a similar way, color, transparency, size and the fineness of carvings are fundamental to a jadeite’s value.
Fashion can also affect the value in a substantial way.
“Currently, customers tend to prefer simplicity. Jadeite with heavy carvings are not selling well,” the Christie’s manager said.
“Twenty years ago, nobody wanted Baibing jade (a kind of colorless and translucent jade), but now they are sometimes more expensive than the usual green type.”
For those interested in jade as an alternative investment, they should bear in mind that the market is far less liquid and the bid offer spread can be fairly large. Making a quick buck is almost impossible.
The minimum investment horizon is usually four to five years.
It’s also important to make sure the jadeite you are buying is real.
Here are a few tips from insiders: Shop at reputable dealers, ask for a certificate of authenticity and examine the product carefully with a magnifying glass.
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