Exceptional jadeite group featured in inaugural auction


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Rare lavender-jadeite beads necklace, 20 inches, 30 intricately carved, semi-translucent, natural untreated jadeite beads, each 12mm. Hand-knotted with matching lavender chord; lobster clasp. Color tone even, beads notably well-matched from single block of lavender stone; 1970-80s. From an exceptional private collection of family jewelry. Photos courtesy Kathy Flood

Think Lucille Ball meets Holly Golightly on the Yangtzee – and they sing a duet of “Moon River.”

That’s the attitude one Collect.com auction consignor thinks the group of a dozen fine jadeite jewelry pieces should bring to mind for Americans who suspect they could fall in love with jadeite, the gem of the East: mystery, exotic glamour, romance, style … and zany pairings. (Read 10 things you didn’t know about jadeite.)

“The items I’ve chosen for buyers in Collect.com’s auction represent the journey of Chinese-Americans and a collection built over three generations,” our consignor explained. “It started with my grandmother, born in China, and my mother, also born in China, whose first purchase was a $20 jadeite ring at age 16, converted to a pendant when at age 19 her daughter was born. The daughter is me, and I wear that modest piece to this day, as a remembrance of my mother and her roots.”

The most valuable piece in the collection coming to auction in October is an estate necklace from Gump’s. Like each jewelry lot in this group, it has a story behind it, symbolic of the family’s dynamic effort to find and acquire the gem of Burma. “The Gump’s jadeite necklace,” our consignor explained, “represents my first attempt to buy a very special piece on my own, to surprise my mother with my own hard-earned expertise. My mother had always wanted jadeite beads like these, but had never been able to afford them.”

Each piece of their jewelry has history, as well as a wide range of values, colors and versatility.

“Some jadeite you can wear alone, some you can pair with other real or costume jewelry. That is how I see jadeite: old, with so much history, yet also new and fresh.” She is known for mixing it up to make a fashion statement that’s at once sophisticated and whimsically eclectic.

The collector and her mother always bought what they could afford at the time, buying jadeite for its beauty. In every case, their purchases appreciated in value, even though they did not buy for investment, but for what most delighted them. “And due to the beautiful spectrum of colors in jadeite, collectors can focus on the stone rather than the period style of the jewelry. The type of setting is much less important, hence, jadeite jewelry is always timeless, like nature.”

All of the jewelry may be worn time and time again, and no matter its value, was never meant to be hidden away in a safe-deposit box. “Wear it, and have fun with this gem so many Americans have already come to love,” she says. “It’s as glamorous as Audrey Hepburn, but as kicky as Lucille Ball.” ?



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More Images:

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An exceptional double-strand estate necklace of 113 natural Burmese apple-green jadeite beads, approximately 17 inches long.

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