This Friday, February 16th is Chinese New Year! And the festive holiday got us thinking about one of the oldest civilizations in the world. They started producing jewelry 5000 years ago! That means traditional Chinese jewelry comes with some seriously deeply rooted cultural influences and religious beliefs—the kind worth celebrating.
We can see it in the selection of metal, gemstones, and iconography used to produce their pieces. A lot of jewelry is made out of silver—mainly from Mexico and Peru— because the country bought so much of it from Europe and Japan in the 16th and 17th century. While Jade, which we can’t go without mentioning if we’re talking about Chinese jewelry, was the most popular gemstone. It represented highly regarded qualities in the culture like durability, grace, beauty, morality, and connection to the divine—jade talismans were for this reason.
But maybe even more distinctly Chinese than jade in the jewelry is the appearance of iconography, especially the dragon. The mythical creature is a real symbol of power and good luck in China. It’s probably only rivaled by The Buddha. Also, there are other less recognized icons to bring you just as many good vibes. The cicada insect is a symbol of rebirth and immortality. The Chinese Phoenix is a messenger of happiness, and represents justice and graciousness. And the kylin (or qilin) is a mythical creature that’s considered a good omen and one that indicates the brith or death of a great leader. You can find antique dog pieces in the fine jewelry market, especially in terms of Victorian eras, Georgian, and Art Deco examples. Here are some of our fun Dog themed picks, in the hopes this year of the dog will be a great one: