Feature Gems & Gemology, Fall 1992, Vol. 28, Issue 3

Identification of Bleached and Polymer-Impregnated Jadeite

The "bleaching" treatment of jadeite jade has become prevalent in higher- as well as lower-quality material. "Bleaching" is actually a two-step process whereby a brown or gray color component (probably iron compounds filling the fractures) is removed chemically, followed by impregnation of the resulting white to green material with some type of polymer. The treatment product is commonly referred to as "bleached jadeite" or "B jade" in the Orient. Although several gemological tests are useful in detecting this treatment, infrared spectroscopy is the only method found thus far that provides conclusive evidence of polymer impregnation in all cases.