The Journey away and the Journey Home                                                                       The New Zealand Hebe                                                                                                    Westland Leaves
Fake scissor scratch
  
        About the New Zealand and world wide "Jade Trade".

   The words printed on this page are of my writing only.
   Of late, in the year 2012, there have been hits on this web site for information on whether "New Zealand Greenstone"
   is hard to find and also whether the greenstone sold in shops, factories, fairs and elsewhere is genuine Nephrite Jade
   sourced from the ground in New Zealand.
   I  was born here in Westland at Hokitika where the modern greenstone industry started and have carved
   New Zealand Nephrite Jade for about 40 of those years.
   In the seventies there came about rumours of overseas imports of manufactured jade including fake plastic "Jade".
   Other small business owners made noises to the Government agencies at that time as well as myself.
   As cheap jade articles became the norm all Government parties in New Zealand have swept this problem under
   The carpet. I myself contacted the Commerce Commission after cutting into a carving from one of the
   New Zealand factories for a visiting Australian and found it totally fake.
   I have had no feedback if, and when they made investigations on this and whether they ever will.
   Of all my Asian visitors into my studio over the last 19 years wearing jade I have seen only two pieces that were
   'Real" jade.
   The Chinese history of Jade is the longest in the world, in the words of one visitor from China "one minute Jade
   was worth a great deal of money and then it was worth nothing" That was the time plastics came in,
   fakes that were made to look like jade.
   Fake jade has become very life like, so much so the piece that I cut and ground for the Australian was
   and looked, a million dollars around the neck. Until magnification was used on the broken part and while grinding the
   piece it was only then that I found the hardness was pitiful and the colour was fake.
   I would have thought it was a great piece of Nephrite just by looking at it in a normal fashion.

   Things to think about.
   Nephrite jade is harder, certainly than most steel (they may have space age steel which I do not know about) therefore
   think about how much an engineer will charge you in your own country to provide you with metal and work time in
   order to make something up? Not cheap are they!
   There are still a few carvers in New Zealand like myself who get along carving only New Zealand jade however they can be
   few and far between.
   I am sure there are factories in New Zealand who work some New Zealand Jade.
   The thing is their main sales are from goods purchased overseas and if you sell 98% of goods that you can trade at 40%  profit to 300%
   profit then you can afford to subsidise sales of true New Zealand jade to offset the cost of production.
   Understand with factories, working jade is not a simple thing. The numbers employed working jade in New Zealand are
   minimal. There are more people selling jade articles from behind a counter than actually carve it up and the
   balance is truly huge in favour of those selling. An engineer told me once “in order to make a profit he had to employ 8
   men making product on lathes in order to employ assistant in the office”

  Is New Zealand Jade plentiful?
  No it is not, far from it.
  In my first factory we waited eighteen months to purchase a decent jewellery grade stone for working,
  that was in the seventies. There were two closures of factories in Hokitika in the seventies
  one of those because of bankruptcy and both from lack of profit and Jade articles cost more then.
  Most raw Nephrite jade if found is found on the Westcoast of the South Island, some from the Nelson
  area, then down to the Greymouth area, Hokitika area and then a big jump to Haast and south of Haast
  in Fiordland National Park which is a no go area.
  Between the areas mentioned very little jade is found if at all.
  Quality of stone in Nature is quite varied, in the beginning some folk boiled their stone in oil when if it was
  found to have problems. Then came Silicon polymers, colour enhancers and Epoxy resins over time.
  Importation of overseas jade for working has been on the go since the nineteen seventies,
  jade from British Columbia, and Russia being the main ones and also Australia.
  A factory in Hokitika, the Hokitika Jade Factory, brought the first Australian jade into the country for retailing
  that I know of.
  If you go out looking for jade in the rivers you would be very lucky to find any of any size is certainly
  not yours under law for the taking. A low percentage only is of true merchantable quality. You can search for
  years without finding any quality stone to carve. There is plenty of Serpentine out there however it is not as
  some would have you believe the true “Pounamu”.

  Colour of Nephrite Jade,
  This can range from clear to white to green to brown to blue to yellow depending on the minerals that make it up.
  The Jade industry is no different than the Oyster shell industry in that most of the worlds product is fake.
  The story that some poor Indonesian spent three weeks in the sun carving an immaculate oyster shell
  carving for you to purchase through a retailer for $100 is mystical at best.
  As one professional told me as he attempted to educate me years ago,
  “How many people in the world are going to finish the job as well as you do”.
  Few people have the drive, attention to detail and endurance to finish jade well,
  most articles if real jade have an additive over them.
  I had a Malaysian gentleman around 73 years of age visit a few years ago, who told me he had factories
  employing 480 people and in them he made fake jade.
  In his words he said “In the world 99.9% of jade articles are just epoxy resin”.
  A friend of mine brought back from Thailand from a jade factory just under the Burmese border a 12 inch by 4.5 inch 8
  inch wide block of jade. My friend got me to cut it into three. I had seen carvings made of this material
  on such people as a Magic Bus driver who I knew. When I cut this it gave no smell and was as soft as butter,
  it was no jade. The speed that that my saw blade went through that “Rock” was unbelievable.
  I guess the cut through the length would have taken 10 seconds at the most.
  If you wish to purchase Real New Zealand Greenstone ( Pounamu, Nephrite Jade) do your sums.
  Ask yourself how long it would take you to make that design that you are looking at.
  Sad as it is, all is not good out there on the genuine front.
  Take care and do your homework!
  I was talking to another carver once and mentioned the scarcity of stone and he said
  “Oh no there is plenty of stone out there”,
  well that was a guy who worked in the factory the fake jade came from.....
 
  2017

 
With Regard to Fake material one of my memories around the 8th of March 2017 will be the visit
  of two young Ladies, one a lawyer. This Lawyer had purchased around six articles one a "Jade" ring from
  Vietnam, one "Quartz" neck pendant and four small polished stones one a "quartz", one another
  Citrine "Yellow Quartz" and two dark stones from New Zealand.
  The Lawyer asked me are these real? At first I looked and felt the "Jade" ring a simple band.
  This was a poorly done fake quite apparent by the weight, temperature and feel.
  Then I looked at the neck pendant, from away it looked like normal Quartz with fractures etc
  however it had a chemical look to it's lustre. I was handed the "stone" and immediately said
  this is a synthetic. I noted that in this case the weight was too light to be a true Quartz,
  it was also much too warm. Then my guest asked that I put this article to my polishing plate.
  I knew this was a fake so I used worn out 600 grit ruby paper and was able to take a good cut off the surface of the material
  using little pressure leaving a very dull surface and using touch the feeling of an epoxy gone off.
  Next I did the "Quartz stone and the Citrine "Quartz" these were the same material as the previous total fake.
  The last two stones had real weight to them and felt cool so I left them the way they were.
  Toward the end of this small amount of what is normally polishing/cutting in this case, there was the scent of resin in the air.

                     
It has to be said I am always learning new things and
                   of new ways, life could be dull otherwise.
                    
  Best Regards
                           Steve





  
The Journey Away and the Journey Home
 
 As you are able to see
       This example of a Maui Fish Hook remnant is most easily sold as
     
 "Real Nephrite Jade"
  As cheap and as quickly they are to be made, they also sell very quickly!
  Always remember,
   Real Nephrite Jade takes time to work well.
        Dust and sludge on a workers bench should be coloured
             White with a slight tinge of Grey.
   Serpentine here in New Zealand will leave an almost black dust.
   If you see a "Jade" carving  with an absolute "Mirror" finish in 3D form
         It will most likely be associated with "Fake Jade".
  The grain in "Real Nephrite Jade" is similar to that of  wood.
         Although not born round Nephrite jade has a grain which can be
               Cross Grain sawn, Long Grain sawn and Quarter grain sawn.
  The End Grain will give the highest polish, which depending on the      
          individual hardness will give the best polish.
  An along the Grain cut gives you great strength and less polish.
        Quarter sawn Jade can give you partially the best of both worlds.
  Cross grain jade gives high strength good polish and stability.

  
    
   JADE ART
  
   I am now in operation again  many months
   after I thought we would be finished in repairing
   our home. It is great to be warm for the first time I 
   can remember in a life time.
   Doing up a home at 61 years of age is not for the faint 
   hearted. However that said my builder Charlie got
   on with me and I got on with him
   The home is a joy to be in for, for sure.
   This spring is one to be treasured and the
   summer is warm with all flowers and 
   vegetables in much abundance.
   New roof to be done in January 2016!
   Roof done and so the garage!

        Thank you all,
                               
Steve
        

 
 
             The carving above is my

              "Fish in Sea Weed".
Hebe
Westland Leaves
The Fish
  
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