According to the well-known expert on jade identification and appraisal, Dr. Daphne Lange Rosenzweig, the value of jade antiques may be appraised through the following factors:
1. Physical properties:
a. Identification and quality of the material
b. Size and condition of the carving
2. Aesthetic properties:
a. Quality of the workmanship
b. School, style and period characteristics( note: this item may not be relevant in jade antique )
c. Consideration of shape, subject, color, proportion and size. According to Prof. Henry G. Hartman( Aesthetics, A Critical Theory of Art), ..beauty ..is harmony, proportion, symmetry, unity in variety, perfection, meaning, reason, or truth. I think this is the aesthetic property instead of school, style and period characteristics which should be neutral to the value of antique jades.
b. Market volatility and local taste
Dr. Rosenzweig stresses the necessary discipline of judging jade on its own merits and not by its pedigree or the important name of its former owner. Generally speaking, the jade antique to be collected must be those valuable items which are genuine with fine workmanship. (Source: Roger Keverne( Consultant Editor):Jade, Lorenz Books, 1995, pp.196-207) In order to carry out the actual appraisal, qualitative factors have to be transformed into quantitative measurements. Theoretically speaking, Delphi method has to be applied via pooling the opinions of a group of experts. In practice, jade appraisal usually takes market approach to evaluate a particular jade item by comparing prices of similar items sold in the market. If no market value may be found and before more sophisticated methods available, then the appraisal may be based on original purchase price multiplied by inflation index or use an inflation calculator.
Applying partly Dr. Daphne Lange Rosenzweig’s appraisal factors, I have established scales for each factor, including rareness, historical and cultural significance, quality of jade, workmanship, size in the range index of 1 to 10 to reach weighted average (It should be noted that the indexes of historical and cultural significance and rareness should overwrite the other indexes). To assign each index a monetary value, we may reach an appraisal value (in addition to the market approach). From the beginning, the index only assigned by myself. In the future, I will try to contact outside experts to have their opinions to practice a Delphi Method approach for the Chinese antique jades appraisal. For example, for the Hongshan Culture eagle, the appraisal index looks this:
- quality of jade: 10
- rareness: 10
- historical and cultural significance: 9
- workmanship: 9
- condition: 10