Jadeite: Old vs. New


With Spring just around the corner that means it’s time to bring out the jadeite! If you saw my last post on the old dresser I painted Boxwood Green , then you know I am loving all things GREEN!  One of my favorite things to collect and display around our home is jadeite kitchenware. These pretty old green glass dishes are fun to hunt for but you have to be careful because there are so many reproductions out there. Today I will share all about Jadeite: Old vs. New and how to tell old from new jadeite, where to find it and where to buy it.

Old vs. New Jadeite and how to tell the difference. #jadeite

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What is Jadeite Glass?

So, imagine this gorgeous gem that’s been cherished for centuries – that’s jadeite! Jadeite is a stunning mineral, known for its vibrant colors like lush green, serene lavender, or even a clean, crisp white. It’s a type of jade, and what’s really cool is that it’s not just a pretty face – it has cultural significance too. People have been crafting beautiful jewelry, intricate carvings, and even practical kitchenware out of this gem for ages. What sets jadeite apart is its variety – it’s like a palette of nature’s most beautiful hues. So whether you’re into jewelry that tells a story or want to add a pop of color to your kitchen, jadeite might just be your new favorite thing!

Jadeite old vs. new

Common Jadeite Items

Jadeite is a versatile gemstone that has been used to create a wide range of items, both practical and decorative. Here are some common items made of jadeite:

  1. Jewelry: Jadeite is a popular choice for crafting beautiful jewelry pieces, including rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Its vibrant colors and cultural significance make it a sought-after gemstone.
  2. Carvings and Sculptures: Artisans often use jadeite to create intricate carvings and sculptures. These can depict anything from traditional cultural symbols to more contemporary designs.
  3. Kitchenware: Vintage jadeite kitchenware, such as plates, bowls, and mugs, is highly collectible. Its pastel colors and durability make it a favorite among collectors and enthusiasts alike. (This is my favorite!)
  4. Figurines and Ornaments: Small jadeite figurines and ornaments are common decorative items. These can range from animal figurines to more abstract shapes, adding an elegant touch to any space.
  5. Beads and Pendants: Jadeite beads and pendants are popular in jewelry making. They can be used to create unique and eye-catching designs, combining the beauty of jadeite with the creativity of jewelry artists.
  6. Cups and Saucers: Jadeite cups and saucers, known for their distinctive green color, were widely produced in the mid-20th century and remain popular among collectors of vintage kitchenware.
  7. Sculptural Home Decor: Larger jadeite sculptures and decorative items are sometimes used as statement pieces in home decor. These can range from abstract sculptures to more functional items like vases.

Jadeite’s versatility, combined with its cultural significance and aesthetic appeal, has led to its use in a variety of items throughout history and in contemporary design.

Jadeite: Old vs. New

How to tell old from new jadeite.
A fun mixture of old and new jadeite!

How to Tell Old From New Jadeite

Since I started collecting these dishes I have done some research to find out how you can tell if a piece of jadeite is old or new. One of the best articles I found on this topic was from Country Living Magazine. This picture below from their article shows the three names and types of authentic jadeite.

These markings are the way to tell which kind of jadeite you have and if they are old.
Image source: Country Living Magazine online

I keep the above picture on my phone when ever I am out hunting. So far I mostly have Fire King pieces.

This past weekend at the Rebel Junk Market I found and added this darling little pitcher to my growing collection. So far my collection includes cups, plates, and bowls and now the little jadeite pitcher.

I think what also makes collecting these vintage jadeite pieces so fun is that it usually is affordable. For instance I only paid $40 for my Fire King set of 6 cups and saucers . (pictured below)

Vintage jadeite tea cups.
Vintage tea cups!

How to tell if jadeite is vintage

  • Wear and Tear: Vintage jadeite often exhibits signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, nicks, or a smooth patina on the surface. This can be an indicator of age and past use.
  • Imperfections: Vintage jadeite may have imperfections, irregularities, or slight variations in color. Older manufacturing methods were often less precise, leading to unique characteristics in each piece.
  • Thickness: Older jadeite items, especially kitchenware, tend to be thicker and heavier than more modern reproductions. This is due to changes in manufacturing techniques over time.
  • Mold Lines: Check for mold lines on vintage jadeite items, especially if they are glass or ceramic. These lines can be a clue to the manufacturing process used during the mid-20th century.
  • Color Variations: Vintage jadeite can have a broader range of color variations. While the classic “jadeite green” is common, vintage pieces may also include shades like light green, pale blue, or even pink.
  • Markings: Look for markings or stamps on the item. Some vintage jadeite pieces may bear the marks of the manufacturer, helping to identify their origin and age.
  • UV Fluorescence: While not definitive, some vintage jadeite items may exhibit fluorescence under ultraviolet (UV) light. This glow is due to trace minerals present in the jadeite and is more commonly associated with older pieces.
  • Style and Design: Consider the overall style and design of the item. Vintage jadeite often reflects the design trends of the time in which it was produced. For example, mid-century kitchenware may have distinct shapes and patterns that are characteristic of that era.
  • Manufacturing Techniques: Familiarize yourself with historical manufacturing techniques. Vintage jadeite items may show signs of older methods of production, such as visible seams, hand-finishing marks, or irregularities in shape.
  • Provenance: If possible, inquire about the item’s provenance or history. Knowing where the jadeite comes from and its previous ownership can provide valuable clues about its age.

Remember that these are general guidelines, and individual pieces may vary. If you’re uncertain about the authenticity or age of a particular jadeite item, consulting with experts or collectors in the field who can provide additional insights.

How to tell old from new jadeite.
Vintage pitcher, bowls and plates.

How to tell if jadeite is a reproduction

Detecting whether jadeite is a reproduction can be challenging, but there are several indicators you can look for. Here are some tips to help you determine if a piece of jadeite is a reproduction:

  • Modern Markings: Reproductions may have markings or labels that are indicative of modern manufacturing. Check for brand names, symbols, or other identifiers that are inconsistent with the era when jadeite was originally produced.
  • Consistent Color: Modern reproductions may have a more consistent and uniform color, lacking the subtle variations and imperfections found in older jadeite due to improved manufacturing processes.
  • Smooth Surface: Reproductions may have a smoother surface compared to vintage pieces. Modern manufacturing techniques often result in a more polished and flawless finish.
  • Lack of Wear and Tear: Reproductions typically won’t show the signs of wear and tear that are characteristic of vintage jadeite. Look for scratches, dings, or a patina that naturally develops over time on authentic vintage pieces.
  • Contemporary Design: If the design of the jadeite item seems too modern or out of sync with the styles popular during the era when jadeite was commonly used (mid-20th century for kitchenware, for example), it may be a reproduction.
  • Inconsistent Construction: Reproductions may lack the craftsmanship and irregularities seen in older pieces. Check for inconsistencies in thickness, seams, or other details that could suggest a mass-produced item.
  • Weight and Feel: Vintage jadeite items are often heavier and denser than modern reproductions. If the piece feels unusually light, it may be an indication that it’s not an authentic vintage item.
  • UV Fluorescence: While not foolproof, authentic vintage jadeite may exhibit fluorescence under UV light due to trace minerals. This characteristic is less common in modern reproductions.
  • Provenance: Verify the history and origin of the jadeite piece. If there’s a lack of clear provenance or the seller is unable to provide information about the item’s history, exercise caution.
  • Price and Availability: Be skeptical if the price seems too good to be true or if the item is widely available in large quantities. Authentic vintage jadeite, especially in good condition, is often more valuable and harder to come by. Also, pay attention to wear you are buying it!
Touches of jadeite and pink make this a colorful Spring cottage kitchen.
The pitcher and cake stand seen above are both reproductions.

Where to Find Old and New Jadeite

So are you wondering where I find it? Finding jadeite has been a bit harder than I originally thought it would be. My go to places are flea markets and vintage markets!

Yep you heard me… I love shopping at our local flea markets and the occasional vintage market!

I truly enjoy the hunt and like I said before,  it’s not usually outrageously priced, thus helping make it easier to add to my collection.

Every once in awhile I will find a piece or my mom or sister will find a piece for me. My collection is slowly growing and I love it.  You can also find it on E-Bay as well as on Etsy and these sites are great if you are looking for specific pieces. There are so many options!

Places to Shop for vintage Jadeite

  • Etsy
  • flea markets
  • E Bay
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Vintage Markets
  • On-line vintage markets
Vintage pieces of jadeite mixed with new pieces of jadeite.

Where to Buy Replica Jadeite

Now you may have noticed that I have a few other pieces of jadeite in my pictures. These pieces are replicas and hold me over in between my flea market and vintage market searches.

I love how they mix in and sometimes it is hard to tell which ones are the old pieces and which ones are the new ones.

You would be surprised at all of the different stores that sell jadeite replicas.  I have found it at Home Goods, Crate and Barrel, World Market, Amazon and even Target! Now that I know how to tell the difference between old and new jadeite the shopping has become so much more fun!

New salt and Pepper shakers from Home Goods
Salt and Pepper shakers from Home Goods

If you have followed along with me for awhile now you know I also love to support small shops… my girl Abby from Farm-House Market has some lovely replica pieces and often has them on sale! So don’t forget the small shops when you are out looking! My large cake stand and large pitcher are both from her shop! My smaller cake stand is from a local shop I love, Knapsack !

A remake of a jadeite pitcher.
Large pitcher from Farm-House Market and the plate is vintage!

Places to buy replica jadeite

  • Amazon
  • Crate and BArrel
  • Home Goods
  • World Market
  • Target
  • Local home goods shops
Cake stands! (Left~ Farm-House Market, Middle~Target, Right~ Farm-House Market)

Shop Old and New Jadeite With Me

Below I will share some affiliate links for you to shop jadeite for yourself! Just  click on each blue link to shop.

Commonly Asked Questions about Jadeite

*Remember that these answers provide general guidance, and I am not an expert, just a collector, individual pieces and information may vary.

  1. How can you tell how old jadeite is old?
    • Older jadeite often has a more worn and smooth surface due to years of use and handling.
    • Check for signs of wear, such as scratches, on the surface.
    • Older pieces may also have irregularities and imperfections, as contemporary manufacturing techniques are often more refined.
  2. Is vintage jadeite safe to use?
    • Generally, vintage jadeite is safe to use for its intended purposes. However, it’s important to inspect for any damage or cracks that could compromise its structural integrity.
    • Make sure vintage jadeite items, especially kitchenware, have not been treated with harmful substances like lead-based glazes.
  3. Does all vintage jadeite glow?
    • Not all vintage jadeite glows under UV light. The glow is due to the presence of trace minerals like uranium. While many vintage pieces exhibit this glow, it’s not a definitive indicator of authenticity or age.
  4. How can you tell good quality jadeite?
    • Look for vibrant and evenly distributed colors. High-quality jadeite can come in various shades, including green, lavender, white, and more.
    • Assess the translucency; top-quality jadeite is often semi-translucent.
    • Check for any visible imperfections or inclusions; a high-quality piece should have minimal flaws.
    • Consider the craftsmanship and the intricacy of the carving or shaping.
  5. What is the rarest color of jadeite?
    • The most prized and rare color of jadeite is an intense, vibrant green known as “imperial green” or “emerald green.” This color is highly sought after and considered the most valuable.
  6. How much is real jadeite worth?
    • The value of jadeite varies based on factors like color, clarity, size, and overall quality.
    • Imperial green jadeite is the most valuable, and prices can be substantial.
    • Small, translucent pieces may be more affordable, while larger, high-quality stones can command a significant price.
Vintage jadeite cups and saucers pair well with these carrot paper plates and Rae Dunn bunny napkins.

Jadeite: Old vs. New

Hopefully you learned a little bit about one of my favorite collections; jadeite! Also I hope you were able to learn how to tell old from new jadeite.

Do you collect jadeite? If so leave a comment below with your favorite piece. I love chatting with you all and I appreciate you stopping by the blog today. You can also check out my jadeite board over on Pinterest for more inspiration! I hope you have an awesome week!

I’d love to have you hang out with me some more! Feel free to follow along with me on any of the platforms linked below.

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  1. I’m a fellow Jadite lover as well! I don’t have many pieces, but I love the ones I do have. I picked up a cake pedestal over at Knapsack too. Also the mini one at Target…how could you not take that little cutie home! Lol I also bought a bowl set through Laurel Mercantile, from HGTV Hometown couple Lauren and Ben. I’ve only got a couple original pieces, but that’s ok…I love the thrill of the hunt for it! 💚

    1. Yay for another jadeite fan! The new ones at target are on my list as well…I also love that you got some bowls from laurel Mercantile! So cool! I will have to check them out for sure! Maybe I will see you out there hunting one day!

  2. I love this post Kelly! I’ve often wondered how you can spot true vintage jadeite. It’s so beautiful year-round, but I especially love it on display and in use during the spring. I appreciate the information and you sharing your lovely pieces and sources.

    1. Hi Meeghan!That picture is so helpful when I am out hunting!I think having it out during spring is my favorite as well. Thanks for stopping by, hope you are doing well!

  3. I too collect Jadeite.. My mom used it for everyday! Wish I knew what happened to her collection. She probably sold it in a yard sale for pennies!! Ugghhh.. thanks for the info , I snapped a screen shot of the markings so I will know the real deal when I see it!

  4. Kelly I love your jadeite. I have a similar obsession with milk glass! It’s so perfect for Spring decorating too 🙂

  5. Great post, and very helpful! I love knowing the intricacies/details of buying vintage brands. Thanks for sharing… I pinned this! Here from Friday Friends Parade!

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