Been watching this thing on Mutton Fat jade now for some time.
Believe now is the time to weigh in just a bit. I lived in various
parts of Asia on and off for nearly 20 years and had occasion to see,
buy and work lots of jadite and nephrite. While in Korea in the
early 70’s I was given a small piece of extremely light green nephrite
jade by a friend who said they got it from a relative who, in turn,
was ‘mining’ it in the mountains of South Korea near the DMZ. At the
time, that was all I could get. A few years later, while living in
Taiwan during the height of the gem cutting craze there, I came across
a factory that was importing huge blocks of Korean nephrite jade that
was a creamy white to gray white with areas of brown or red brown.
This stuff was so translucent you could clearly see light through
pieces over 2 feet thick! Absolutely pure…no inclusions or flaws in
most of it. The factory was carving beautiful reproductions of
ancient Chinese pieces. The owner, Mrs Tung, was careful to point out
to all that her pieces were repros…not originals though now and then
one would show up in Sotheby’s or other houses as an original ancient
I was able to obtain several rough pieces of this nephrite and have
cut many gorgeous cabs from it. Many of my Chinese friends have
purchased them from me…no questions asked re price…they recognize
good Jade when they see it and believe me it is not cheap!!.
Unfortunately, the vein ran down under the DMZ and mining had to stop
in the early 80’s. My supply has run its course, except for a couple
prize pieces with which I would never part! This stuff takes a mirror
finish and is the best ‘Mutton Fat’ jade I have ever seen bar none and
I used to haunt the National Museum outside Taipei, so I’ve seen the
gamut of high quality jadite/nephrite.
Maybe some day, when North and South Korea settle their differences
some entrepreneur will once again mine this beautiful material. Keep
an eye out–
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SO FL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry.