Shi Lei didn’t think it was expensive as objects at merely 3,000 yuan was not good enough in his eyes.
He glanced at the glass display cabinet and found a chain of Xingyue with a green stone that looked rather nice. He asked: “What’s that?”
The owner was delighted. Looks like he bumped into someone who knew about it, he could definitely make a good deal with him.
He became more hospitable and introduced: “This is called agaphite and it is the most valuable collectible. In fact, this is a type of crystal. Due to the high percentage of copper and iron in it, it usually appears to be green and blue. The black on it is called steel line. Usually, the less the steel lines, the purer the colour and the more expensive.”
Shi Lei nodded and said: “The smoother the surface and texture, the better quality it is, right?”
The owner nodded heavily with a smile, thinking that the young man had already stepped into his trap and continued: “You are right. Looks like you definitely know something. Look at the one I have, it’s kind of like a jelly with its feature of seemingly transparent but not exactly transparent, it’s called ‘gao ci’, which means that it has the glazed appearance of chinaware……”
Shi Lei nodded in half understanding: “How much is it with Xingyue?”
The owner pondered for a while and said: “This is good quality gao ci blue agaphite I have here, especially the blue-ish colour, which is extremely difficult to obtain. You can barely see any black on this and it’s even more expensive than gold, at the price of a few hundred yuan for one gram. But since that fate brought you into my shop, I’ll charge you 12,000 yuan with Xingyue. We can make friends with each other and you can bring some business in the future.”
Indeed, Shi Lei didn’t know too much about it, but it didn’t mean that he was stupid. 12,000 yuan? The owner said that even Xingyue by itself was only 800 yuan and he didn’t know how much he had raised the price. Shi Lei estimated that a chain of Xingyue was at most about 200 or 300 yuan.
As for this agaphite, he didn’t know anything about it. Talking about more expensive than gold, and all those special terminology he used, Shi Lei thought that that’s where the problems were.
“That’s way too expensive……” Shi Lei took a step back and turned around.
The owner panicked; how could he let him go so easily? He quickly said: “Don’t be in such a hurry to leave, you estimate a price, we can discuss about it.”
Shi Lei spoke without turning around: “I’m not in a hurry, I’ll have a look in other shops.”
“Don’t go, 6,000 yuan…… 3,000 yuan……. 1,000 yuan, take it, it can’t be any lower!”
Shi Lei still didn’t turn around. He thought, you’ve already lowered the price from 12,000 yuan to 1,000 yuan? If Xingyue isn’t worth much, then this agaphite thing surely isn’t worth much either. It might even only be 10 yuan for one bead and the whole chain wouldn’t even be worth 400 yuan.
Except, why did it sound so strange that Xingyue wasn’t worth much money?
As he wandered out, he took out his phone and searched up agaphite and discovered that the owner had so much dirty tricks up his sleeves. Good agaphite, as what the owner said, gao ci, steel wire, even ones that cost up to a few hundred or even thousand for one gram as it was indeed much more expensive than gold, but majority of it in the market, although the stone was still real, but they underwent special processes and there were too much specific terminologies for Shi Lei to understand. All in all, it was almost impossible to examine whether it had been processed under an extreme strong flashlight. If one really wanted to check, he could only use a microscope to observe whether there were any traces of glue and other traces of such.
Not to mention Shi Lei, who barely knew anything about it, even an expert in this field couldn’t jump to conclusion of its quality easily.
As for those stones which was processed, especially the small crumbled ones which were glued together, they were only worth about 8 or 10 yuan, or at most in the 50 to 60, 70 to 80 range just as Shi Lei estimated.
If you claim that it was fake, it wasn’t really fake. But if you think that it was real, it definitely wasn't 100% real agaphite either.
Shi Lei now briefly understood. From how quickly the owner lowered its price and the appearance of the stone, it was definitely the second generation products which were only worth a few yuan. Otherwise, natural agaphite with the bigger beads and the center bead, it would be no less than 20 grams. Not to mention 1,000 yuan, he probably couldn’t buy it with 12,000 yuan.
After a moment of wandering, his heart skipped a beat as he returned to the shop again.
“Bro, what about it? You couldn’t find anything as good as this, could you?” The owner thought that the innocent prey was back again.
Shi Lei pointed to the Xingyue with agaphite and said mercilessly: “Don’t lie to me. If these agaphites aren’t second generation products, I’ll eat them. I’ll take it for 300 yuan.”
The owner frowned and bitterly said: “Oh my, aren’t you making me lose money? I can’t sell it to you for 300 yuan, even the Xingyue is worth more than this……”
“Cut the nonsense. This only cost a hundred for 500 grams. After you polish it, it’ll at most be a hundred for one bracelet. You gain a lot of profits from selling it to me for 300 yuan. Sell it or not, it’s your choice……”
The owner knew that he couldn’t scam Shi Lei anymore and said: “Fine, 500 yuan, deal or not?”
Shi Lei immediately turned around and the owner called out: “400 yuan, I really can’t lower it more.”
Shi Lei was almost out of the door but he stepped back after he heard. 400 yuan was about the price he had estimated earlier.
Honestly, if the Scepter didn’t care about how much Shi Lei’s purchases were really worth, he could buy this bracelet for 100,000 yuan. Oh, maybe 80,000 yuan so he could use the 20,000 yuan to treat his friends. But no, he had to bargain it to as close as its real value, so he could only be stingy and spend 400 yuan on it.
The owner pretended to be sad and low spirited: “Ah, just think of it as me doing a favor for you. I didn’t even earn a single yuan from you. You can have a look around the entire Antique street, you can never find anything this cheap. It’s fate……” He continued to mumble as he took the money from Shi Lei. Shi Lei didn’t bother to talk to him again. He wrapped the Xingyue Puti on his hands and left.
When he was about to leave for real, he suddenly realised that Hu’s agarwood shop was open. Shi Lei walked in.
The owner, Yu Banzhi sat behind the tea set while playing with the chain of beads in his hands. Shi Lei knew that it was called handheld, with the variety of 18 beads, 27 beads, 36 beads, and 54 beads. The one in Hu Hanzhi’s hands should be made of 27 beads.
The tea set was placed neatly on the table. The kettle was boiling which signaled that it was almost done.
As he heard the footsteps, he raised his head and smiled: “It’s you again, little brother, it must be fate. I was busy with something and as soon as I opened, you are the first one to come in.”
Shi Lei also smiled and sat opposite him: “Not exactly fate. I came here a long time ago. I saw that your shop wasn’t open so I went somewhere else first. I was planning to leave but you’ve opened, so I wanted to come in and say hi.”
Yu Banzhi said kindly: “Such fate.”
Shi Lei didn’t speak more. Yu Banzhi made tea and passed Shi Lei a cup.
“You bought something?” Yu Banzhi saw the Xingyue in Shi Lei’s hands.
Shi Lei passed it over and said: “Please have a look.” Shi Lei now knew some terminology about antiques. When you ask someone to check whether the quality is good or bad, it’s called ‘zhang yan’(1).
Yu Banzhi glanced at Shi Lei in surprise but he didn’t even want to take a look at the Xingyue. He said: “Looks like you learnt a lot about this recently?”
Shi Lei laughed and said: “Not exactly knowledge, but I just did some research on it.”
“Take it away, it’s just a cheap product you can find on the street side stall!” That was Yu Banzhi’s comment to the Xingyue in Shi Lei’s hands.
Equivalent of ‘have a look’ but there’s not exact term for this in english