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Subject:What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Mon, Apr 16, 2018 IP:

I've been trying to sell a Jade urn on eBay with little luck. Have no background in this area. Could anyone look at this link and give comments or tips? Thanks.

Link :

Subject:Re: What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Ernest Wilhelm Tue, Apr 17, 2018

1)post pictures
2) it is not Jade

Subject:Re: What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Wed, Apr 18, 2018

Thanks for your reply. Not sure what you meant by "post pictures." I hope my link provided pictures.
Interesting comment. Pardon my ignorance, but if it is not jade, what is it? Your thoughts would be most appreciated. Thank you.

Subject:Re: What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Wed, Apr 18, 2018

Looks like my previous reply didn't get through. By "post pictures," do you mean separately from the link I provided? And if it is not jade, would you or anyone know what it is? Thanks.

Subject:Re: What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Henry Wilson Tue, Apr 17, 2018

I would say that it is too expensive for most Ebay surfers...

Subject:Re: What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Wed, Apr 18, 2018

Your response is interesting, as well. I've bought and sold many things much more expensive than this piece on eBay, but not in the arts range. Is this the problem? I think I might be missing something here. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks from a novice.

Subject:Re: What am I doing wrong? Trying to sell Jade urn.
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Wed, Apr 18, 2018

Looks like my reply didn't make it through. I've bought and sold many more expensive items on eBay. Is the problem that this piece is of the arts or perhaps for a very specialized market? Thanks.

Subject:Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Super Wed, Apr 18, 2018

Hi, Andrew:

I can surely understand your frustration in not being able to sell your "jade" urn especially it appears you had done a lot of researches before listing it and I felt for you since you are selling it to raise medical expenses.

Unfortunately, sometime a jade piece would usually only fetch what buyers thought it was worth. Sometime a good imitation piece could indeed be sold for a lot of money, especially to people who thought they could get a bargain. These days, you almost would get what you paid (or less).

You had correctly identified the jade material of your urn as Xiu Yan jade or serpentine. However, I do not believe it could be called bowenite which is usually reserved for serpentine that could not be scratched (by metal). This term is basically used in the States and is not really an academic term for any rocks. I believe your piece can be scratched and therefore is basically serpentine and not bowenite. This type of dark green serpentine look almost like dark green nephrite jade and can only be identified by either a scratch test or a density test. The material is much older than those used in today's China, which are mostly celadon (light green) serpentine that looks like celadon nephrite. Many fake celadon nephrite pieces were now being listed on eBay. Buyers beware. (please see my other thread)

Your list said your piece is pre-1900, that would make it at least a Qing dynasty piece (before 1911). Unfortunately I cannot recall ever seeing any large Qing dynasty carvings that were made of this type of Xiu Yan jade (serpentine), in any credible jade books or in any auctions of renown auction houses. If you have seen any, please post them here. Please understand that in late Qing dynasty prices of both Hetian nephrite jade (white, dark green or celadon)and jadeite were no longer highly regulated and had come down a lot. During early Republic (after 1911, during 1920s and 1930s), beautiful green Siberian nephrite jade were widely available. Yet labor in making larger jade carvings were still quite high, therefore it was almost unimaginable that anybody would spend a lot of time and money in making any large jade carvings with cheap Xiu Yan jade (serpentine) during Qing dynasty or early Republic. No pun intended.

Secondly, upon looking at pictures of your jade urn, based on the quality of its carving, IMHO, that is simply no chance for it to be either a Qing dynasty or an early Republican piece. Again, no pun intended.

Thirdly, if you look at the first picture in your listing (from left), the large Chinese character appears to be "Shou" (longevity) which means this piece was supposedly a gift to celebrate somebody's birthday. Yet there are so many different types of figures on it (even with a pheonix?), which is almost like a tourist piece that was made in a haste by mixing everything in one single piece. What is the purpose of it? In short, I do not believe anybody would present this piece as a birthday gift in Qing dynasty or in early Republic.

Fourthly, this piece had a few defects which further deter any buyers; its starting price of $699, plus $96.29 and add $42.71 for UPS professional packaging. Also, add $2.50 per $100.00 of purchase price for calculating insurance, IMHO, is much too high for any novice jade collectors to bid on it.

In short, if you are really serious about selling it, I strongly suggest you to start it with a much lower bid (e.g. $9.99 or even 99 cents) and let the market decides its price. I had seen nicer jade carvings, selling for thousands of dollars on eBay. Today there are a lot of rich jade collectors in China who would not hesitate to bid up any jade pieces that appear to be authentic. Therefore, IMHO, to pay ultra high prices for any jade carvings that are listed on eBay based on pictures alone, can be very hazardous.

Lastly, thanks for sharing your jade urn with us and please understand that I am no jade expert and therefore if I had inadvertently offended your jade urn, please accept my apology in advance.


In comparison, please see this Qing dynasty large Spinach-green jade censer also with a Shou character:

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Henry Wilson Thu, Apr 19, 2018

A great post by Super.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Super Mon, Apr 23, 2018

Thanks, Henry. I was probably more wrong than right but it was fun to discuss jades with other jade lovers. Regards, Super

Posted By: Ernest Wilhelm Thu, Apr 19, 2018

In this forum you have to post sharp pictures of items in order to get informed opinions.
Post good pictures, that is the most important part.

Pictures, or you get only nonsense info,


Subject:Re: jade
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Fri, Apr 27, 2018

Thanks for your reply. I assume I need sharper images and perhaps some macro close-ups of the grain of the piece, plus more photos than three. I'll have a friend who is a better photographer and has a better camera do it. Best regards.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Fri, Apr 27, 2018

My apology for a belated reply. We have been quite busy here. Thank you for taking the time to send such an informative and well written letter. It has affected our thoughts. I think I'll try to perform a scratch test (on the bottom unfinished part of the piece,I assume,) and then follow with better photos and questions? What type of metal should one use to do a scratch test? Would a standard sharp kitchen knife do? Best regards from Andrew.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Ernest Wilhelm Sat, Apr 28, 2018

A strong needle is fine, but if you want to use a Swiss pocket knife, that's good as well.
A tiny scratch , but there has to be a visible line, black or white. Tell us.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Sun, May 06, 2018

I had the hardest time getting a scratch mark on this piece with various blades. Finally got one with a new sharp, slightly serrated stainless steel blade and shot it with a flash. It was white. See photo 1, with the far right vertical scratch. What does this mean? Am also including a shot of the chipped toe in case this helps. Hope to put better shots on your forum. I'm new to using forums. How many photos would be appropriate? Will others who responded be able to see this? Thanks to all for your help.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Ernest Wilhelm Mon, May 07, 2018

No pictures, but it certainly sounds like you have a softer stone than Jade. Most likely it is a Serpentine.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Tue, May 08, 2018

Yes, indeed. I'm going to try a density test on its lid which is where I made the scratch. Thanks.

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Mon, May 07, 2018

I realized I can't send photos unless they are of a smaller than my 1.2 MB. Have to be under 500 KB. Have a new computer with new programs, so I'll have to figure out how to reduce size. However, anyone could email me, if they'd like, at [email protected] and I'll send them. Take my word for it, that the piece was incredibly hard to scratch with various knives and metals, but when finally done the scratch color was bright white. Thanks to all for the help and advice. //Andrew

Subject:Re: Reasons for not selling?
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Wed, May 16, 2018

Density Test.

OK, I see I'm getting daft and having trouble with the math for a density test. Need help. I am using the lid of the urn for a test.

Air weight of lid: 1451.5 grams.

Weight of water, container and lid: 3908 grams.

Air weight of container w/o water: 382 grams.

Water to cover lid: about 2.5 quarts.

Division should be by 931, rather than 1000.

And then I get lost. As always, thanks. //Andrew

Subject:New density test.
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Sat, May 19, 2018

With previous figures corrected, I show 2.49 for density of the piece of the piece. I see Serpentine is 2.5-2.6, roughly. Hope I'm doing this right.

Using the formula: Density = Mass over Volume.

Weight of the piece's lid I'm using as an example is 1414.3 grams.

Water overflow method used showed the mass as exactly 20 ounces of water (or 566.9 grams.)

Comments appreciated. Thanks.

Subject:What would you do?
Posted By: Andrew Karvel Sun, May 20, 2018

One last question, then I'll leave you guys alone. What would you do to sell it? Is it even worth enough to bother having it appraised, or sold by a dealer? If so, what kind of dealer local or not? I'm not sure eBay is worth the complications. Thanks for all. | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |