Jade enthusiast makes donation to GIA museum

Sophie Leu, a self-described jadeite enthusiast, recently donated two rings and a tea set made of fine-quality jadeite to the Gemological Institute of America, the institute said in a statement. The pieces are on display as part of the Institute’s permanent Museum Collection at the Robert Mouawad Campus in Carlsbad.

Elise Misiorowski, GIA museum director, said the tea set is particularly interesting because of the sizeable amount of material needed to carve the container and its four matching cups. The teapot, which weighs 10.21 ounces, is accompanied by four matching carved jadeite tea cups that weigh 3.69 ounces each.

“Pieces with hollow forms such as teapots, cups, or bowls are costly to make because so much material is lost in the carving process,” Misiorowski said. “The hollow depressions are created by grinding the jadeite away, so the empty space represents spent value. For this reason, few hollow vessels are made today because they are too expensive.”

Misiorowski said the jadeite featured in the rings—each made of 18k white gold and diamonds—is of exceptionally high quality and is by far the finest in the GIA Museum Collection. One ring consists of a marquise cabochon-cut fine natural jadeite gemstone that weighs 54.46 cts. and contains 30 diamonds. The other features an oval cabochon-cut jadeite weighing approximately 3.15 cts. and is set with six round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing approximately 0.10 ct.

Leu’s fascination with jadeite began more than 15 years ago when her grandmother introduced her to her own collection. She grew up listening to and learning about the many folktales and symbolism associated with jadeite and has collected many fine jadeite jewelry and ornamental pieces. “Jadeite is not just an ornament or a piece that signifies beauty or wealth—it’s part of you,” she said.

For more information on how to donate in-kind gifts to the Institute’s permanent Museum Collection, contact GIA in-kind gifts director Patricia Syvrud at 760-603-4432 or by e-mail at patricia.syvrud@gia.edu.