Unravelling the jewels of China
Jewellery is one of the most vital element in every human being’s life. During the ancient times, there were many different forms of jewellery, some of which were necklaces, rings, bracelets, that were typically made from or contained precious stone or metal. Traditionally, the most widespread influence on jewellery in terms of shape, size, design and style had come from Asia. The most admired artefacts of Chinese jewellery were amulets, headbands, rings and earrings which were worn by both men and women, often to showcase their wealth and status.
The great civilizations of antiquity in the world had shown that the Chinese culture have always loved adornments for over a millennium. China actually began to use precious metals relatively late. The Himalaya region which comprises of countries like Nepal and Bhutan had great influence on Chinese jewels. Latticework, punched work and pierced work were the main attributes of Chinese jewellery. Historical Taj and tiaras were the supreme jewels which were worn on the head.
Chinese culture always preferred silver over gold, as it was the metal of choice during the golden age of Chinese culture. Stones like jade, coral and turquoise were the most prominently used for many centuries. Jade was the most desired precious stone over any other gemstone. It depicted human qualities of hardiness, durability and elegance. Jade provided the status symbol of grace, purity, morality and dignity of the owner. Jade was considered more precious than gold and new techniques of jewel making were introduced because of it. Use of compound milling machine in the making of rings appeared for the first time in the world which came centuries later in the rest of the world. Jade is still being used today in Chinese culture and is very popular with tourists as souvenirs.
In Chinese culture wearing jewellery during ancient times had many motivational factors.
Animals were depictive and distinctive, which was seen in their art of making various embellishments. For example, the dragon was symbolised for power and good luck, the goldfish for abundance of gold, the phoenix for good fortune, opportunity & luck and many others. Also, colors and semi precious stones were worn in order to give power, cure diseases, give long life, and to be healthy.
Consequently, Chinese jewellery with all its magnificent artworks, embellishments, precious stones with their impact & benefits had a great influence over the world.