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'OJ' - Orchid Jade Factory and Showroom - Chiang Mai
OJ Orchid Jade Factory and Jade Showroom - Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand
We visited the OJ Orchid Jade Factory and Showroom, opposite the Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand in December 2007 as part of a self planned excursion with our favourite Chiang Mai private hire car owner / driver Samphong AKA "Mr Jack" and found a very friendly atmosphere and although we were shadowed by a member of the sales staff we were not pressurised into any purchase during our visit to the Orchid Jade Factory and Jade Showroom.
We were initially taken into a video theatre where we saw a presentation about the minerals: Jadeite, true Jade and Nephrite, a close cousin.
We were told that Jade is a precious stone known by the Chinese as the "stone of heaven" and has been cherished for its beauty and durability for many thousands of years. Modern gemologists use the word "jade" as a generic term for two distinct metamorphic mineral aggregates: Jadeite and Nephrite. Chiang Mai is one of the world's centres for the purchase of 'Jade' as Myanmar (Burma) in now one of the few remaining areas mining the stone. Most of the Chiang Mai 'Jade' is brought accross the border from Myanmar.
Jadeite has an exceptional look and feel about it, combined with an intimate relationship with many Asian cultures and traditions. Not surprisingly, the gem trade uses slightly different standards to judge jadeite than it does to judge transparent coloured precious and semi precious stones of comparable value, like say: diamond, emerald, ruby or sapphire. Jadeite’s three most important qualities that decide its market value, are the three "T's": tone, translucency and texture.
Tone or colour is jadeite’s most important value factor, as most consumers traditionally associate jadeite with the colour green, it surprises many to learn that it comes in other colours too: black, brown, grey, lavender, orange, red, white and yellow. All of these colours can be attractive in the right setting but jadeite’s most desirable colour is definitely a very specific shade of emerald green. The colour is medium in tone, not too light or too dark. This pure, bright colour is the renowned "Imperial" green hue, which comes from chromium, the same element that causes the green in some emeralds. Imperial Jadeite we were told is a rare commodity today.
Nephrite is soft enough to carve and tough enough to withstand repeated hummer blows, the two minerals look and feel very similar but their chemical compositions are different, and gemologists classify them as separate 'species'.
We were taken into the workshop, left alone to watch the carving of Nephrite pieces and the shaping and polishing of some Jade (Jadeite) precious stone jewels.
The extensive showrooms were our next port of call, where we saw Jade jewellery of every size, style and hew in settings of gold and silver, Nephrite carvings from the most minute detailed piece to monster pieces of highly polished 'Jade'.
We would recommend a visit for the experience of knowing more, first hand about this fascinating, beautiful and expensive material.
OJ Orchid Jade Factory, 7/7 Srivichai Road, Ampho Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Tel: (053) 295021 - 3
Fax: (053) 295030
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