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Subject:What is the meaning of those gold glitter found on your jade pieces?
Posted By: Bill Tue, May 15, 2007 IP:

In the book "Hongshan Yuqi Tujian" (The Apprisal of Hongshan Jades with pictures" by Mr. Yat-man Chan and Ms. Ying Chan, the criteria they use to appriase Hongshan jades are as follow: (see front cover of book shown on pic 2)

1. Jade material - list 7 types.

2. Shell (outside layer)

2.1 Color diffusion
2.2 Soil diffusion
2.3 Cracks
2.4 Diffusion spot and diffusion patch
2.5 Diffusion capillary and vein
2.6 Metail diffusion (stain)
2.7 Holes
2.8 Jade skin and orange peel wrinkle
2.9 Bao-jiang (outside protective layer)

3. Forms and Styles - list 5 types

4. Carvings - list five types

5. Methods or Skills - list six types

6. Other physical phenomena - list five

7. Spirit

The one I would like to discuss here is 2.6 Metal Diffusion or metal stain.

I would like to clarify that I do not know whether the above phenomenon described by the authors is valid or not. I just bring it up here to solicit some responses from all the jade collectors especially those who collect Hongshan or Hongshan style pieces. The authors seem to believe such phenomenon limits to authentic Hongshan jades only. I believe they apply to all archaic jades. However, one of the Chicochai jade pal believes this is a very common phenomenon and can be found on many nephrite pieces and I will elaborate more in later section.

First of all, if you look at the first picture posted here. The description for pic 154 on p. 128 of the book is "Metal Diffusion Spots. These types of metal shinning spots or shinning patches appear either on the surface of the jade or deep inside the jade."

The description of such phenomenon on the book is as follow:

2 (6) Metial Diffusion (stain)

Metal stain may be the most special kind of diffusion found in authentic Hongshan jades, it is similar to those metal spots or metal patches discussed in the previous paragraph. On many Hongshan jade pieces, very often such sparkling metal spots or metal streaks can be found, this is especially true on some very "Black Skin" jades. Some of these metal glitters can be readily been seen on the jade surface, but some are contained deep inside the jades (under the shell). Therefore if one want to see such metal glitter on some BLACK Hongshan jades, one must polish off the top layer before such metal spots or metal streaks can be visible.

In section 2.4, the authors mention if you ever get a chance to go to visit the Shanghai museum, a celadon Hongshan Cloud Pei was displayed there(on loan), you can see such metal glitter on its jade surface when it is dispalyed under the light, even between display glass. If you can hold such jade piece on your hand and move it back and forth under the light, you will be able to see such metal spots and metal streaks easily.

They believe these metal spots (gold glitter) are oxidized iron (Fe2O3) formed on the jades and one time by accident they put such a piece in water for one month, they found all those metal glitter had turned into "iron rust" when it was examined under the light.

My jade pal believe these authors do not know what they are talking about because he believes such "iron pyrite" (also known as fool's gold) are very common and can be found in many nephrite jade pieces.

However, between my jade friend, B, and I, we have examined over 300 pieces of jade pieces, many of them were made of nephrite. However, he only found such metal gold) spots (glitter) on one Han-style Dancer piece that was made of Qing jade. Among my jades, I only found them in two pieces: one is a Hongshan Fish that is made of very high quality dark green nephrite with gold glitter on both sides when examine under the light, the piece may be a Sung dynasty copy. Another piece is a jade bird made of either crystal or some kind of white jade-like material. It has a hardness of 6.0 but a denisty of only 2.65 It may be Bowenite but the color is more white than yellow. It has very good soil stain on the surface and my friend believes it is made of crystal. I see these metal spots all over the surface on both sides. They are very difficult to see in regular photos. You must examine them under a bright light or you may miss them.

I have read in another source that any jade pieces that shows such metal glitter on their surfaces have to be at least one thousand years old. I do not remember where I read it at this time.

However, what I am asking all jade friends who have read this message is to:

(1) Look at all your jade pieces and see if you can see such metal spots or streaks (gold glitter)on your jades. On how many pieces out of how many total pieces do you see these types of metal spots? What type of materials were such pieces made of? Are these old jades? Can you post their pictures here (enlarged the metal spots if possible).?

(2) Do you agree with what the theory that these type of metal spots prove the authenticity of the Hongshan jades or it really shows that these type of jades (with gold glitter) are truly old?

(3) Do you have explanation for this phenomenon? Do you have articles or books discuss this phenomenon?

Of course, if you are like a few jade pals who believe that the only important criterion to authenticate any archaic jades is their "carving" or artistic value, then you are probably reading the wrong thread and please do not bother to reply. You should just to ahead to establish your own thread in discussing your own "art pieces". You will probably have more funs. No offense intended.


Subject:How old are jades with silver specks?
Posted By: Bill Wed, May 16, 2007

In this message, the author discusses about "Ding Un Chum" (Nail Silver Diffusion).

I believe basically he believes those silver specks found on jade pieces are caused by contact between jade pieces with other metals or metal elements found in the soil.

He says in the message:

"There are many different types of diffusion (or staining) of jades. One of them is "Silver Staining" which is the crystallization of silver metals on the jade surface. With the presence of "silver staining”
it seems we will have no problem in authenticating a piece of archaic jade. The problem is on most books or reference they only mention "a few thousand years" (refer to jades found with this type of silver staining). I do not understand whether this "a few thousand years" is 1000 years or 3000 years or? There is no definite answer and I cannot figure it out. Since I cannot figure out the exact length of years for the forming of this type of silver stain. If I only depend on the few pieces of jades I own to figure this out, it is possible that it will take me years or even forever to figure it out.

Therefore I would like to ask all these jade experts in this forum to help me solve this problem:

I will post the first 3 pictures for my prehistoric jade bangle which will display this type of silver stain.

Picture 1 is the picture of the jade bangle when I first got it.
Picture 2 and 3 shows that the silver stains become more apparent after I have "Pon Woun" (played with) it.”


These 3 pictures are being posted here.

Please go to the link for more pictures. In the 4th pic he shows another jade piece when he first obtained it and then in pic 5 and 6 how it looks after he played with it. Especially important is pic 5, both golden and silver stain can be seen on the jade piece.

Subject:More pictures with silver/gold specks on jades
Posted By: Bill Thu, May 17, 2007

I decided to post more pictures from the previous link here so that more jade friend can take a look at this type of metallic specks.

The first picture posted here is when the jade was first obtained by the collector.

The second and third pictures how golden and silver specks found on the jade surface after the jade was "played with".

Subject:More pictures on jades with silver/gold specks
Posted By: Bill Thu, May 17, 2007

I will post three more pictures with jade that have gold and silver specks on their surfaces. Some of them are very hard to see. I have tried to take a picture on one of the jade bird with gold specks but found that I couldn't capture those gold specks at all. Therefore it simply is not easy to see these gold specks on a picture and you must hold the piece on your hand and move it back and forth under a strong light to see the sparkle but it is surely beautiful.

The collector asked other jade collectors in China to post pictures of jades that have this type of gold or silver specks and he got quite a few responses.

A few jade collectors beleived this type of metallic spots could only be found on jades that were at least 2000 years old or before Han dynasty. One believes it happens mostly to jades that were buried in wet soil and will not affect jades buried in dry soils. One mentions that Mr. Chow Nam-Chuen, a very famous Chinese jade expert believes in this type of metallic specks is caused by contact between the jades and other metallic subjects. If this is true, then it will not be limited to ancient archaic jades.

There do not seem to a concrete conclusion in the length of time for this phenomenon of metallic specks appearing on jade surface to occur. However, almost every single collector posted the pictures that agree if a piece of jade display this type of gold or silver specks, then their chance of being old is almost 90% sure.

Subject:Re: How old are jades with silver specks?
Posted By: Shane Sat, Dec 04, 2021

I wish I had an answer for you. You did capture my curiosity however, and that forced me to start going through my collection one piece at a time. About an hour into searching my collection for a piece that had "metal diffusion", or "Silver staining", I came across an orange A grade jadeite bangle of mine that kinda blew me away. I will post a couple pictures of it. It was so heavily infused with silver flake, I suspected that it was fake...maybe quartz or something like that. I know it's not however because of who I had certify this bangle. It's certified by Mason Kay, Inc. so I know for a fact that it's grade A jadeite. I had not heard of this occurrence before reading your post hear.

Well obviously saying that metal diffusion (silver staining) occurs in Hongshan style jade is also incorrect. As far as the age of the piece, I have no idea, and no way of ever knowing. I wish you the best of luck in uncovering the mystery behind metal diffusion and or silver/gold staining.

Subject:Re: How old are jades with silver specks?
Posted By: Shane Sun, Dec 05, 2021

An extra note...sense jadeite wasn't discovered until the 1700's, and my certified grade A jadeite bangle seems to have the silver/gold staining being discussed...thar would kind of bring the end of discussion about metal diffused jades having to be 1000-2000 yrs old I'd think. Thar is if the metal flakes seen in my bangle is what you are discussing here.

I am interested in learning more about this, and will be studying this phenomenon into the unforseen future. I hope to read more about it here as well, and hear what you have to say in regards to my jadeite jade having these metal flakes infused with it.

Subject:Golden specks found on a Hongshan Pig Dragon
Posted By: Bill Wed, May 16, 2007

This link and the following pictures displays a Hongshan Pig Dragon (zhulong)that is 14.8 cm H, 10.7 cm W and 3.9 cm thick. Made of dark green jade. Such darke green jade is rare among Hongshan jades, according to the article.

The artcile says, "The strangest part is, there are secretion of grey-white metallic matter at where the white spots and white streaks are. This can bee seen with a loupe. Also, there are both metallic spots and streaks all over the body of the pig dragon. When some of the grey-white metal matter fall off, you can see holes (fissures) on the jade surface. It is because after metal invaded the jade, it will be secreted out after it was played with for a time. After such grey white matter had come out, the color and vein of the jade would become vivid and colorful. This type of phenomenon occurs only with archaic jades that had gone through "metal diffusion" (or metal staining).

The author only discuss about those grey-white metallic matter and he seems to beleive those matter are from outside contact with metals and create such deposit on the jade surface. He did not explain how the other gold specks and streaks fromed on the jade surface of the pig dragon.

Subject:A Hongshan apollo with golden streaks and specks
Posted By: Bill Thu, May 17, 2007

These two pictures will show the front and rear of a 30 cm tall dark green jade Hongshan apollo that was excavated at Ning Yuen in 1980. Please see the golden streaks found on its horns and golden specks all over its body. It is beautiful.

Subject:Golden glitter will appear on 1000+ year old archaic dark green jades
Posted By: Bill Wed, May 16, 2007

In this article, page 4, the author talks about the current condition of Hongshan jade markets with predominate fakes and thus affect the confidence of many Hongshan collectors. Therefore, he want to give some tips in authenticating Hongshan jades. In the second paragraph of this page, this is what he says,

"Metal Marks & Patches (I will use Metal Spots and Streaks)

The topic regarding metal streaks and spots have not been discussing in any jade books I have read so far. Nobody has talked about it. Of course, such topics as "Ding Gum Chum" (Nail Gold Diffusion} or "Sha Gum Chum" (Sprinkle Gold Diffusion) have been discussed in many books and they all believe they are due to the chemical reactions between buried jades with the acidic iron elements and acidic zinc elements in the soil. I do not think this is correct. This type of metallic streaks and spots, has to be caused by the inner metallic ions found inside the jade piece, after long burial in the ground and suffereing extreme heat, pressure and other oustide factors, the metallic ions will migrate toward the jade surface and concentrate there. Therefore this phenomenon is not due to outside contact with any types of metals. This phenomenon seems to happen more frequently with deep green and dark green actinolite (probably ferro-actinolie; this is the nephrite that has more iron in their structure) which contain more metallic iron. This seldom happens with white nephrite or Hetian jades (white nephrite is basically tremolite and has more Mg and very small amount of iron). This type of metallic spots and streaks is not limited to Hongshan jades but will appear on archaic dark green jades that are one thousands years or older. Therefore such special charcterisitic will be an extremely useful tool in authenticating archaic jades."

Subject:A dark green jade fish with golden specks
Posted By: Bill Thu, May 17, 2007

This is a dark green jade fish I just got not too long ago. It is about 10 cm long and 5.5 cm wide. Its hardness is about 5.5 to 6.0 and its density is 2.951. It was made of very high quality nephrite. I did not see the golden specks until I examine it under the light and I have to move it back and forth to be able to see them clearly. Some of the spots near the top fin is kind of reddish, it looks like oxidized iron. But those spread around the dorsal fin and near the tail are just sparkling gold glitter. It is just simple beautiful. Strangely enough, there is another smaller fish I got at the same time and looks like it was made of the same material and almost identical desigh, it doesn't have any gold glitter found on its surface. Upon closer examination of the two pieces, beautiful red stain or color diffusions can be seen on the head and at the top part of its tail. Such color diffusion is not visible on the smaller fish.

Therefore, I believe this bigger fish is much older. How old, I do not know. I believe it is at least a song copy of a Hongshan piece.

I use my scanner to caputre both sides of the fish but unfotunately I do not believe I captured its golden specks very well. I tried to use my digital camera but also failed. I am posting those pictures from my scanner here.

Subject:Silver specks found on the smaller fish
Posted By: Bill Fri, May 18, 2007

I examined closer at the smaller fish I got and did find a few "silver" specks on them. They are definitely silver and not gold.

You really have to look at the jade pieces in different angles to be able to see this type of metallic spots and most camera just couldn't capture this type of sparkling.

I do believe they are quite rare.

Subject:Re: Silver specks found on the smaller fish
Posted By: Pipane Sat, Nov 17, 2007

Hello there,

Fish, pig dragon and others (except the deity extract from reference book) are fakes. The book you mensioned is a good one.
There is good chances that the terracota human face is real HS.


Pipane Asian Art Gallery

Subject:HS jade fish...
Posted By: pipane Sat, Jan 16, 2016

Just for fun

Subject:Re: What is the meaning of those gold glitter found on your jade pieces?
Posted By: Rose Wed, Aug 22, 2018

Mine has that too but mine is a yellow jade it is rough I got it from a kids toy.

Subject:Re: What is the meaning of those gold glitter found on your jade pieces?
Posted By: Monica Negrila Tue, Feb 12, 2019

Can anyone tell me if my yoni jade egg is natural or man made? It has a lot of gold inclusions and it has a darker stain mark on the other side.

Subject:Re: What is the meaning of those gold glitter found on your jade pieces?
Posted By: Steve Gridley Tue, Dec 21, 2021

My 2 cents worth: With all due respect to the author of the book (and I admit that I have not read the book, only this thread), I see one major glaring omission in this entire speculative argument. That omission is the lack of geological evidence. Random hypotheses and theories are worthless without scientific backup. Geological analysis of the jade should provide a better understanding of the material, its origin, composition, and formation. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |