Group Discussion > Jade (nephrite and jadeite) material identification and testing services

Material Testing of Jade (nephrite and jadeite) Samples
The Laboratory of Archaeology at the University of British Columbia is pleased to announce that we can offer material testing services for confirming the mineralogy of jade samples (nephrite or jadeite versus the myriad of other rocks regularly confused with them). The analysis is undertaken using non-destructive, non-marking near infrared spectrometry (NIR/VNIR), and simply involves comparing the NIR spectra of a given sample of unknown mineralogy to a large ‘spectral library’ of known minerals. This technique has been successfully applied to thousands of archaeological artifacts from British Columbia and China. Costs for this service are $50 (Canadian) per sample, with reduced rates for multiple samples, plus shipping costs. For further information please contact Jesse Morin at
December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJesse Morin
Offering a great service but to the hobbyist the price may be prohibitive.
December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristoffer
Hey Jesse,
Couple of questions.Is this a yes/no test or do you receive some mineralogical data as to composition of sample and percentages of minerals?
Is near infrared spectrometry a accepted method of positvely identifying samples of nephrite and jadeite?.
How do these tests deal with weathered surfaces?
Thank You for your time,
December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBigeye
Hi Bigeye,
NIR analysis of jadeites has been undertaken since the 1990s (see ref below), and nephrite since about 2000 (only publications in Chinese). I am using the technology for my dissertation in archaeology, and i would not rely on it unless i were 100% confident in the results. I have had a large number of my samples analyzed with the SEM microprobe technique as well to confirm their mineralogy. My analysis will identify the dominant mineral in the rock. Analytical chemists can dice up the signals and extract much more info from NIR spectrae than i can. I will not provide proportions of various minerals, but i can provide the NIR spectra of the sample compared to the spectra from a reference standard. A good number of my samples are derived from Kirk Makepeace who knows nephrite as well as anyone, and moves more nephrite than any country.I have found that weathered surfaces do not interfere with the analysis, although for consistency, i tend to sample a flat surface like a saw cut.Because weathered surfaces are basically just the oxidized mineral, the mineralogy remains the same, and thus the NIR signal remains the same.

I hope this helps.

Curtiss, B.
1993 Visible and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy for Jade Artifact Analysis. In Precolumbian Jade: New Geological and Cultural Interpretations, edited by F. Lange, pp. 73-81. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
I should also note that I am an independant contractor providing this service.
December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
Here is a link to the maker of the spectrometer I use:
December 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJesse
Hey Jesse,
Thanks for the detailed response to my questions.
December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBigeye
I have a lot of jade and nepherite cores and tools from the Hope area and many different tools from british columbia washington oregon and california that you may well be very interested in seeing jesse. you know how to get a hold of me we've talked before hope you're doing well tony
June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony Hardie
Hi Tony
Do you have any interest in donating your collections to a museum? UBC or RBCM would be the obvious options. If i were to assess your private collection, i could be violating the SAA code of ethics, as the information i could provide could be used for monetary gain. I am sure that the scientific community could benefit from your materials and information.
August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJesse Morin