Since ancient times, jadeite has been a symbol of auspiciousness, taste, status, and wealth in China. Its crystal-clear texture and oriental legendary history have always been loved by the Chinese. Over the years, many high-priced sales were recorded in major auctions. We have selected a few top jadeite transactions to share.
1. “Hutton-Mdivani” jadeite bead necklace with rubies and diamonds (by Cartier),
sold at HK$214,040,000 in 2014
Jadeite is the king of jade and has great investment and collection value. In addition to the historical background, this Hutton-Mdivani jadeite bead necklace, from the legendary lady and the famous collector Barbara Hutton, has broken the world auction record for jadeite.
Barbara Hutton and her first husband Prince Alexis Mdivani
This jadeite bead necklace is named the Barbara Hutton Necklace, but she has actually kept this necklace for only twenty years and then it was later kept by the Mdivani royal family. Until 1988 and 1994, the necklace sold at the auction for USD 2 million (approximately HKD 15.6 million) and USD 4.2 million (approximately HKD 32.76 million) respectively. It became the world’s highest price jadeite in any auction at that time.
“Hutton-Mdivani” jadeite bead necklace
This important necklace is composed of 27 natural old mine jadeite beads with a bright green colour. High-quality old mine jadeite rough stones are extremely rare and often small in size. The diameters of the beads are from 15.40 to 19.20 mm. The necklace is matched with a ruby and diamond buckle specially designed by Cartier. At the 2014 Hong Kong Sotheby’s Spring Auction, it was finally sold at a record-breaking price of HK$214.04 million, which is considered to be the most precious jadeite jewellery in the world.
This natural jadeite bead necklace is composed of 68 jadeite beads of 12.3 to 15.9 mm with cushion-shaped and cabochon spinels. They are evenly green, high translucency and texture. It is extremely rare that it is made from two almost identical rough stones. This top jadeite necklace was finally sold at the Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction 2019 for HK$73,580,000.
3. An important jadeite bead with ruby and diamond necklace,
sold at HK$95,725,000 in 2017
This jadeite bead with ruby and diamond necklace is composed of 29 pure green jadeite beads, with a diameter of about 14.7 to 15.9 mm. The difficulty of production lies in the immeasurable distribution of the inner ribbon of the jadeite rough. The jadeite beads with even green colour and average diameter of above 15 mm are cut from the same jadeite rough and then elaborately polished. This rare jadeite bead necklace was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction for HK$95,725,000 in 2017, setting a record for the auction house’s natural jadeite necklace.
4. A very fine lavender jadeite bead necklace, sold at HK$13,540,000 in 2012
This lavender jadeite bead necklace is composed of sixty-three jadeite beads of symmetrical shape, rare lavender colour, high translucency and excellent texture. The lavender jadeite bead necklace was sold at HK$13,540,000 at Christie ’s Hong Kong Autumn Auctions in 2012.
5. An extraordinary set of “Imperial Green” jadeite cabochon
and diamond jewelry, sold at HK$70,800,000 in 2017
If jadeite is to meet the quality of “Imperial Green”, color itself is the most important quality factor for a piece of jadeite’s value, with the other two factors being texture and transparency. This set of necklace and earrings with twelve smoothly carved and perfectly matched jadeite cabochon. It showcases the absolute finest-quality of jadeites – almost transparent with a vibrant and vivid green color. The combination of these qualities is known as “Imperial Jade”. This set of jadeite cabochon and diamond jewelry was sold at a high price of HK$70.8 million at the Poly Auction Hong Kong Autumn Auction in 2017.
6. An impressive jadeite bangle
sold at HK$59,590,000 in 2017
Top quality jadeite roughs are extremely rare, as most of the roughs are not fine in texture or covered with cracks and impurities. The production of a bangle requires a rough large enough to withstand the great deal of wastage during cutting and polishing. This impressive cylindrical jadeite bangle of intense emerald green colour and high translucency was sold at a high price of HK$59,590,000 at Poly Auction Hong Kong Spring Auction in 2017.
7. A very important pair of jadeite cabochon earrings,
sold at HK$51,640,000 in 2014
This pair of jadeite cabochon earrings showcases full and graceful form, delicate texture and outstanding translucency. Each jadeite cabochon is 26.4 x 21.9 mm in length. Only the finest quality jadeite can make such a pair of high-quality cabochon jewelry. In the 2014 Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Auction, this rare pair of earrings was sold at a high price of HK$51,640,000, almost doubled the estimated price.
8. A highly important jadeite cabochon, ruby and diamond pendant necklace,
sold at HK$43,800,000 in 2015
The jadeite cabochon on this necklace is similar to the earrings mentioned above. The cabochon size is 26.1 x 21.3 x 14.5 mm which is thicker than the earrings, and the colour is even richer and more saturated. This jadeite cabochon pendant in such size is extremely rare and was transacted at a high price of HK $43,800,000 at the 2015 Christie ’s Hong Kong Auction, far exceeding the estimated price.
This jadeite pendant, approximately 50.5 x 26 x 9.5 mm, showcases the unique beauty with its delicate and ultra-fine “old mine” texture, pure and even colour, full and graceful form and superb translucency. Its green colour is described in the Gubelin certificate as “Imperial Green”, which is the rarest and most desirable coloe and tone of green in the market. This “Imperial Jade” jadeite and diamond pendant was sold at a high price of HK$46,492,000 at the Poly Auction Hong Kong Spring Auction in 2016.
Christie’s Hong Kong Auction June 2015 featured the collection from the family of K’ung Hsiang-Hsi
A 75th generation descendant of Confucius, K’ung Hsiang-Hsi was the chief executive and minister of finance of the Nanjing National Government of the Republic of China. K’ung Hsiang-Hsi married Soong Ai-ling, the eldest of the three famed Soong sisters, and was brother-in-law to Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek. The K’ung family’s collection of jewelry, jadeite, Chinese paintings and Chinese works of art is one of the most important collections in modern Chinese history. As the richest man in China at that time, the K’ung family’s collection of jadeite whether in terms of material, design and craftsmanship, can be regarded as the rarest treasures in the jewellery world especially with its historical background of the marriage between K’ung and Soong. The lots listed below were sold for 30 times of their original reserve prices during the Christie’s Hong Kong Auction in June 2015.
12. A jadeite and diamond ring, sold at HK$18,040,000