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2023 Jadeite Market Review - Opportunities and Challenges, Key Points to Know Before Investing

By OGP Reporters / Members Contribute File Photos


Oh Good Party

Despite the risks associated with the jadeite market, it remains an attractive investment option for those skilled in researching the market and having an in-depth understanding of jadeite. Jadeite, as a tangible asset capable of resisting inflation and economic instability, possesses certain value preservation and appreciation potential. However, investors should make prudent choices when it comes to jadeite, based on its unique characteristics, as well as market trends and risk factors, in order to formulate their investment strategies.

The jadeite industry in Myanmar is closely linked to the rapid growth of the middle class in China, making it a major investment and collectible commodity second only to gold. This association is primarily driven by the sustained interest and demand for jadeite by China's middle class, who see it as an attractive investment option and wear it as a piece of jewelry. This stable customer demand continues to drive up the price of jadeite in the jewelry market.


Specifically, Myanmar's jadeite industry hosts an important event every year, known as the Myanmar Gems Emporium. This fair typically takes place at the Naypyidaw Gems Museum Exhibition Hall in Myanmar and lasts for seven days. This event holds a significant position in the jadeite industry as it not only boasts a large scale but also provides the highest quality jadeite raw materials. As an upstream player in the jadeite industry supply chain, the trends at the Myanmar Gems Emporium have a massive impact on the entire industry and are considered an industry benchmark.


However, the Myanmar Gems Emporium faced several challenges in 2023. Firstly, there were stricter armed force inspections at the event's entry and exit points, as well as an increase in multiple payment methods, including the Euro, US Dollar, Chinese Yuan, and Thai Baht. Additionally, there were supply issues with jadeite rough stones, manifested in a significant reduction in both quantity and quality. This led to a decrease in the rough stone transaction rate, with only approximately 50.56% of the rough stones being sold in this Emporium. Compared to previous editions, the quantity of rough stones plummeted by over 70%, and base prices increased significantly, with almost no listings below 1000 Euros.


Multiple factors, including political turmoil, rapid depletion of mineral resources, and mining industry regulations, have led to a sharp reduction in the availability of raw materials. In this Emporium, high-quality rough stones with a value exceeding one million Chinese Yuan accounted for only 1.85% of the total. In comparison, previous Emporiums featured a greater number of high-end jadeite rough stones. Overall, the raw materials market is becoming increasingly tight, with high-end jadeite rough becoming even scarcer, and base prices continuing to rise. Reports suggest that some mines in Myanmar have imposed restrictions on extraction, coupled with the political instability within Myanmar, contributing to the current market situation.


Unlike the situation in Myanmar, China's retail market is exceptionally hot. At the Shanghai International Jewelry Exhibition in June 2023, a set of imperial green jadeite jewelry sold for 650 million Chinese Yuan (approximately equal to 90 million US Dollars ). While some may consider these prices crazy, when compared to jadeite prices over the past 20 years, they have increased at least a hundredfold. Especially in the high-end jadeite market, prices have gone from millions to tens of millions, and the top-grade imperial green glassy jadeite has skyrocketed to over a billion Chinese Yuan.


Overall, jadeite as an investment commodity is gaining increasing attention, with its rarity and price appreciation highlighting its strong value preservation and risk-resistant capabilities. A typical case is the jadeite necklace owned by the legendary socialite and renowned collector Barbara Hutton, which went through three auctions in 1988, 1994, and 2014. Its value increased from an initial $2 million to $27.44 million in 2014, once again demonstrating the appreciation potential of jadeite. It's worth noting that when originally purchased, this necklace only cost 50,000 silver coins (a currency popular during the Republic of China era, commonly known as 'silver yuan' or 'da yang'). Silver coins were highly valuable; in many instances, one silver coins was worth more than a family's monthly income. This was due to their significant silver content, and they were in circulation from 1911 to 1949. In hindsight, this price seems relatively low, but at the time, it was indeed a substantial sum of money.


The allure of investing in jadeite lies in its uniqueness and durability. As a precious gemstone, jadeite is highly sought after for its rarity and beautiful colors. However, investing in the jadeite market is not without its risks. Firstly, the value of jadeite is influenced by its quality and color, so understanding how to assess the quality of jadeite is crucial. Additionally, market supply is subject to various factors, including political turmoil, depletion of mining resources, and fluctuations in global market demand.


Despite the risks associated with the jadeite market, it remains an attractive investment option for those skilled in researching the market and having an in-depth understanding of jadeite. Jadeite, as a tangible asset capable of resisting inflation and economic instability, possesses certain value preservation and appreciation potential. However, investors should make prudent choices when it comes to jadeite, based on its unique characteristics, as well as market trends and risk factors, in order to formulate their investment strategies.


The above information indicates that the jadeite market is both intricate and offers promising investment opportunities. However, we would like to remind investors that, given the depletion of resources and changing market dynamics, private jadeite investments require careful consideration and a deep understanding.


Before you make your choice, we would like to offer you some advice for reference:


1. Gain In-Depth Market Knowledge


Before considering purchasing jadeite, it is advisable to gain in-depth knowledge of how the jadeite market operates, its price trends, and methods for assessing quality. Understanding the fundamentals of the market is key to making informed decisions.


2. Choosing Quality


Quality is paramount when it comes to jadeite. Understanding how to assess characteristics such as color, transparency, texture, and cut is essential for selecting high-quality jadeite.


3. Consider Investment Objectives


Determine whether your goal for purchasing jadeite is for investment or as a piece of jewelry. If it's for investment purposes, carefully consider market fluctuations and risks, as well as a long-term investment plan.


4. Diversify Investments


Avoid putting all your funds into jadeite. Diversifying your investment portfolio can help spread risk. Consider incorporating jadeite as a part of your investment portfolio.


5.Seek Professional Advice


If you have limited knowledge or feel uneasy about the jadeite market, consider seeking advice from professional jewelry appraisers or investment advisors. They can provide insights into market trends and potential opportunities.


6. Stay Informed About Market Trends


Keep a close eye on the dynamics of the jadeite market, including changes in supply and demand, political and geopolitical factors, and the global economic situation. These factors can have an impact on the price and investment value of jadeite.


Regardless of your motivation for purchasing jadeite, it's essential to make prudent decisions. If you are not well-versed in the jadeite market, we recommend seeking professional advice. Alternatively, you can also engage in discussions with OGP's jewelry experts and gemologists (GG) to ensure that your investment decisions are wise and sound.

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