California Jade grading system

August 7, 2009

California Jade Grading System for Nephrite and Jadeite by Sam Gitchel

A uniform system for grading of jades found in California is desperately needed. There is no clarity for description of quality or color and no uniform terms used. I will begin to use the following Grading system and terms to describe California jade quality and have developed a related per pound price structure for rough jades.

Grading System for California Jade rough and Jewelry


AAAA grade = natural top color translucent or chatoyant

AAA grade = natural top color opaque or excellent color translucent

AA grade = natural excellent color opaque or good color translucent

A grade = natural good color opaque or plain color translucent

A- grade = natural plain color opaque or slightly translucent

B grade = color enhanced

Definition of colors

Top color: The rarest color in the deposit. Vibrant colors. No dark inclusions.

Excellent color: Top color or a little less but with dark portions.

Good color: A mix of subdued light and dark colors .

Plain color: Dull or drab colors.

Color enhanced: Man made color, dyed

Pricing structure for California Jade cutting rough

AAAA $100lb-$200lb
AAA $50lb-$100lb
AA $10lb-$50lb
A $3lb-$10lb
A- $1lb-$3lb

These prices are for rough with minor fracturing only. Extensive fracturing reduces the price.

Jade availability in California

AAAA grade comprises about one thousandth of one percent of all jades found in California.
AAA grade comprises about one tenth of one percent of all jades found in California.
AA grade comprises about one percent of all jades found in California
A grade comprises about ten percent of all jades found in California
A- grade is the vast majority of all jades found in California

This grading/pricing system does not apply to Specimen pieces, Scholar stones, Viewing stones, Suiseki etc


One Response to “California Jade grading system”

  1. samgitchel said

    Hi Sam, I think we are trying to figure out about this blogging thing, but I think it could be a useful tool in the jade world. here is an article, rather generic, but still maybe answer some questions.
    and so lets see how to add photos too.

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