Jewelry has been worn since the beginning of humanity as a way to show individuality and social status. From the days of stones and bones through modern handmade or 3D-printed beauties, jewelry is an amazing way to showcase your individual style.
China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with history dating back thousands of years. Jewelry started being made in China in the Neolithic period around 5000 BC, and due to the culture’s tradition of burying a person’s wealth with their bodies, many pieces have been beautifully preserved over time. As time went on, different styles emerged from different regions and eras in Chinese history. Though the adornments have evolved over time, the overall materials and styles have maintained over the centuries.
In China, Jade is considered a spiritual stone, giving wearers a link to the next world and their ancestors. Pendants, bracelets, and hair pieces are carved into beautiful designs of animals and symbols. The talismans were worn to protect the wearer as well as provide a symbol of their personal status. Jade itself was considered a more precious resource than precious metals, with different colors of jade symbolizing different levels of wealth and status. Men and women alike wore jewelry of all kinds, including pendants, hair pieces, rings, bracelets, and belts.
Dragons and Phoenixes are the most popular designs, with blue jade dragons becoming the mark of royalty. Emperors were often buried in full shrouds of the most rare form of jade- pure white. Coral and Turquoise was also used in ornate filigree pieces, representing life and luck in jewelry or to appease evil spirits with spell boxes.
Most of the historical Chinese jewelry we see today is from the Victorian Era, made exclusively for export to the Western world. Bangles, pendants, earrings, and headpieces from ancient to modern times can be found in museums around the world, and you can still find carved jade pieces from skilled artisans available for purchase today.