In recent years, jade bead chains have been sold at high prices of tens of millions of yuan in the auction market, even reaching over one billion yuan. Why can small beads repeatedly create skyrocketing prices? Why is the jade bead chain so expensive?
The jade bead chain is composed of circular beads connected in series, which is both perfect and flawless. But a top-notch jade bead chain with full color, round and flawless appearance is extremely difficult to find, and the process from cutting the original stone to connecting it into a chain is very difficult.
01 “Little Original Stone” cannot make jade bead chains
The number of beads used in a jade bead chain is about 30, which is extremely material consuming. However, high-quality jade bead chains require uniform overall color, uniform size, and preferably from the same raw stone.
So the raw jadeite stone that can be used as a top-quality bead chain not only needs to have high-quality materials, the most obvious and uniform color bands, no grain, no crack, and less content but also must have sufficient volume, often weighing tens of kilograms of top quality raw stones, to remove a top quality bead chain.
02 Full manual rounding difficulty table burst
Beads are one of the most classic jade cutting and grinding styles. It may seem simple, but in reality, the requirements for craftsmanship are no less than those for carved parts. Its contour must be circular and symmetrical, with a harmonious aspect ratio to achieve the best visual effect.
Moreover, all of these beads are handmade, and it is not easy to grind them all to the same round, large, or smoothly arranged according to gradient sizes. Moreover, there are very few people who can grind beads now.
03 Process cost and high-cutting risk
To make a top-notch bead chain, you first need to cut the selected material into small pieces, then slowly grind it into round beads, and finally punch holes and thread the chain, resulting in significant losses throughout the entire process. At the same time, to ensure sufficient quality, it is necessary to cut up to three times more beads than the bead chain itself for selection.
The most important thing is to choose the place with the best color among the raw materials for the beads, but for bracelets and pendants, it is not the case. As long as a little green is added to it, its value will greatly increase. Therefore, after using all the good colors of the jade bead chain, the materials from other parts of the original stone will be greatly discounted.
04 Cost is so high that merchants are afraid
The jade bead chain is so expensive and requires a very high amount of funds to be suppressed. For jade merchants at the source, this is a very uneconomical transaction. So even though the price of jade bead chains may be several digits higher than egg noodles and bracelets, due to the limited number of people who have the funds to purchase, people on the source jade still prefer to cut the raw materials into economical and fast turnover egg noodles and bracelets, to maximize their benefits.
Only merchants with sufficient funds and courage will choose to produce jade bead chains. In addition, the raw materials are already scarce, so the jade bead chains in the market are even rarer, and the price is self-evident.
Based on the above, pearl chains have become a luxury item in jade collections.
Let’s take a look at the seven most expensive jade bead chains in history at previous auctions~
Transaction price: HKD 214 million
Auction year: 2014 Sotheby’s Spring Auction
This jade bead chain named Mdivani has a total of 27 beads, each measuring approximately 15.4-19.2mm in size and 530mm in length. It was once owned by the famous lady Barbara Hutton and is rumored to have been designed by Cartier through the Qing Dynasty’s court beads. It is now in Cartier’s collection.
This jade bead chain has been auctioned three times and first appeared in 1988, with a skyrocketing price of 2 million US dollars (approximately 15.6 million Hong Kong dollars). It was the highest auction price for jade jewelry in the world at that time and the first jade bead chain in history to reach a transaction price of tens of millions.
In 1994, the bead chain was auctioned at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, with a transaction price soaring to $4.2 million (approximately HK $33 million). In 2014, it was repurchased by Cartier for $27.5846 million (approximately HK $214 million) at Sotheby’s, setting a new world auction record for jade jewelry and still maintaining the highest value record for jade bead chains.
Transaction price: HKD 16 million
Auction Year: 2012 Tiancheng International Autumn Auction
This jade bead chain consists of 23 pieces, each with a diameter ranging from 20.71 to 27.35 mm. It was sold for HKD 106 million at the 2012 Tiancheng International Autumn Auction, breaking the world auction record for a single piece of jade jewelry at that time.
Transaction price: HKD 95.72 million
Auction Year: 2017 Christie’s Autumn Auction
This jade bead chain consists of 29 pieces, with a diameter of approximately 14.7 to 15.9mm. It was sold for HKD 95.72 million at Christie’s autumn auction in 2017, exceeding twice the base price.
Transaction price: HKD 80.7 million
Auction year: 2020 Sotheby’s Spring Auction
This jade bead chain consists of 37 pieces and was sold for HKD 80.7 million at Sotheby’s Spring Auction in 2020, making it the highest-priced jade item of the year.
Transaction price: HKD 73 million
Auction Year: 2019 Christie’s Autumn Auction
This jade bead chain comes from two almost identical original stones, hence it is named “A Perfect Match”, with each jade bead having a diameter of approximately 12.37 to 15.90 millimeters.
Transaction price: HKD 72.62 million
Auction year: 1997 Hong Kong Christie’s Autumn Auction
This jade bead chain called “Double Color” is composed of 27 full green jade beads, each with a diameter of approximately 15.5mm. It was sold for HKD 72.62 million in the 1997 Christie’s Autumn Auction in Hong Kong, setting a record for the auction at that time. Based on the recent jade market situation, the “Double Color” is currently worth at least HKD 150 million or more.
Transaction price: HKD 62.96 million
Auction year: 2020 Sotheby’s Autumn Auction
This jade bead chain is composed of 43 beads with a diameter of 12.55-13.69mm, making it the second jade bead chain to enter the top seven in history at a transaction price this year. It not only highlights the strength of jade necklaces in auctions but also highlights the stability and strength of the jade market in the current economic situation.