Jade's quality can be determined by examining its color, transparency, texture and cut. When determining the value of a jade stone, its weight and size must also be taken into account.
Color helps determine jade quality. Jade comes in lavender, red and black, but the most valuable and highest-quality jade is green. Examples include a vibrant green color that borders on transparency known as Imperial Jade and the less vividly green kingfisher jade.
Transparency is important to jade quality. The highest-quality jade is semitransparent and makes objects viewed through it appear to be blurry. The light coming from beneath the surface of such jade can appear to glow, making it more attractive customers. In terms of value, higher transparency is more important than uniformity of color.
Texture can also be used to determine jade value, but that value is contingent on what the jade was designed for. While ornamental jade is typically smoother, ancient jade weapons relied on rough jade that did not break easily.
Jade cut is important to its quality. While jade is cut many ways, jade cut into the shape of cabochons to complement rings and other jewelry is the highest quality. High-quality jade may also be turned into round beads and made part of a larger strand.