The jadeite jade market remains strong and has been growing over the past few years even when sales of most other types of gemstones and jewelry have been lackluster, to say the least. A growing middle class in China, and a general attraction to Eastern culture in the West, have ignited new interest in this exceptional, significant and fascinating gem.
According to wikinvest.com “Estimates of the size and growth rate of China’s middle class vary. Roughly half of China’s projected urban population will be middle class in 2025…The first industrial revolution created a 250% increase in per capita income over a 100 year period. The second industrial revolution triggered 350% per capita income growth over 60 years. By comparison, China is on track to create a 700% growth in per capita income in just 20 years.”
It is this demographic that has largely inspired the resurgence in the popularity of jadeite jade jewelry. Much of this middle class are younger professionals with disposable funds to invest and enjoy. Sales of the classic indulgences such as travel, fine dining, automobiles and luxury goods are rising at an unprecedented rate in China. Even though many of the worlds designer ‘fakes’ may be produced in China, the Chinese prefer the finer things in their most genuine and authentic forms. Natural, untreated jadeite jade is one of these finer things. According to a recent article in Jewellery News Asia entitled Jadeite Gains Market Share “The market’s appetite for Type ‘A’ jadeite, which is 100 percent natural and untreated, remains strong…The global economic downturn has not barred consumers from purchasing jadeite.” In fact, at recent jadeite jade auctions record prices for jade slabs and lots were not unusual. Many sales resulted in 4.5 times the reserve prices.
Jade has been a vital part of Chinese culture for centuries; as far back as the Neolithic period jade was used and revered. “Known as the ‘royal gemstone’, jadeite has been inextricably linked to Chinese culture, and has been prized for centuries by emperors, noblemen, poets and China’s seriously rich.” The value and beauty of jade is one of those wisdoms that have been ingrained in the younger generations. “Modern cuts and trendy designs have further enhanced this priceless treasure’s allure, reeling in a younger generation of consumers who also prize jadeite jewellery for its beauty and inherent value”(Jewellery News Asia, July 2010).
“Asia is not the only market that has an insatiable appetite for jadeite. According to US-based jewellery wholesaler Mason-Kay, a rise in the popularity of things Asian in American culture has translated to greater interest in jadeite jewellery”(Jewellery News Asia, July 2010). The article continues on to point to new designers with fresh styles that have contributed to this new generation’s interest in jadeite jewelry. Mason-Kay’s Azure Collection is mentioned as one of their top selling lines, incorporating exquisite blue sapphires with better green jadeite jade. In the U.S. Mason-Kay has been at the forefront in designer jadeite jade jewelry, earning a best earring finalist position in last years JCK Jewelers Choice Awards with a pair of earrings from their Azure Collection designed exclusively for Mason-Kay by Kristina.
Mason-Kay continues to develop green and lavender jadeite jade designs as well as other jade colors. Mr. Jeff Mason of Mason-Kay Jade also stated they have had much interest and increasing sales of better black nephrite jade. “We have also begun to design our Midnight Collection of better black jade in white gold with diamonds and cabochon coloured gemstones” (Jewellery News Asia, July 2010). Mason-Kay is planning on the debut of the completed Midnight Collection in the spring of 2011.