what is chinese style jewelry

what is chinese style jewelry

Generally, the term "jewelry" refers to valuable ornaments, handicrafts, or other collectibles made from natural materials (minerals, rocks, organisms, etc.) other than metals such as gold and silver, hence the term "gold and silver jewelry." Scientifically speaking, the concept of "jewelry" is synonymous with the broader concept of "gemstones." Gemstones broadly refer to materials suitable for cutting or carving into jewelry or handicrafts. With the development of the economy and the gradual awakening of national consciousness, Chinese style seems to be making a comeback. This article takes the Qing Dynasty as an example to analyze the characteristics of jewelry at that time from several aspects such as the political and economic situation, religious beliefs, and cultural environment, in order to explore the original design concept of Chinese-style jewelry.


The essence of Chinese-style jewelry should include the following characteristics:

  1. Atmosphere and solidity.
  2. Emphasis on internal meaning rather than just visual sensory satisfaction.
  3. The expression must be restrained and implicit rather than straightforward and direct.
  4. Curved lines are predominant, with an attempt to avoid sharp straight lines.
  5. Materials are primarily jade, with pearls or gold and silver as secondary.
  6. Animal and plant motifs are commonly used, especially those unique to China such as dragons and phoenixes.


Representatives of Chinese-style Jewelry

Chinese style refers to the style or trend of Chinese or Chinese culture, which is based on Chinese traditional culture and uses Chinese elements as a means of expression. Chinese-style jewelry integrates Chinese style, Chinese art, Chinese aesthetics, and other Chinese elements into jewelry.


  1. Gold and Silver Jewelry

The ancient ancestors' recognition of gold and silver began more than three thousand years ago in the Shang Dynasty, when these precious metals were made into ornaments for the nobility to enjoy. However, the initial manufacturing process was very simple, with the surface basically plain. By the Tang Dynasty, the production of gold and silver jewelry introduced more than a dozen decorative techniques such as engraving, filigree, and inlay. In the Ming Dynasty, the production of gold and silver jewelry began to emphasize soft and smooth lines, and auspicious blessings were added to these ornaments. Later, craftsmen in the Qing Dynasty further developed this by using the homophony of flowers, birds, fish, and insects to convey blessings.


  1. Jade Jewelry

Jade, a latecomer to traditional Chinese jade, is the finest of all modern jade. Whether it is "mountain material" (primary ore) or "seed material" (secondary ore), jade consists mainly of dense blocks composed of hard jade minerals. Under the microscope, the hard jade minerals that make up jade are tightly interwoven, forming a fibrous structure. This dense fibrous structure gives jade its delicate and tough characteristics. Jade not only beautifies people's lives and cultivates their temperament but also removes diseases and ensures safety. Its products directly used for health care include jade pillows, jade cushions, fitness balls, massagers, canes, and jade combs, which have the effects of beautifying, calming, and soothing the mind, and long-term use will make you energetic and prolong your life.


  1. Ceramic Jewelry

The modern design of ceramic jewelry has its own independent visual artistic language, with unique design methods and special forms of expression. Due to the special nature of ceramic materials, the design of ceramic jewelry mainly focuses on the design of surfaces and bodies, making "articles" on surfaces and bodies. The design of ceramic jewelry includes block combination design, surface variation of ceramic jewelry, edge line design of ceramic jewelry, and surface decoration design of ceramic jewelry. Ceramic ornaments are handmade and decorated with decals, which have collection value, are personalized and exquisite, and integrate fashion, trend, creativity, traditional handmade culture, etc. Ceramic ornaments can be decorated with decals on the porcelain pieces, and hand-painted with flowers, birds, insects, fish, landscapes, etc., incorporating the representative elements of Chinese style, with culture, art, and fashion sense. Porcelain clay can also be kneaded into various shapes or made into personalized accessories by mold making, which is very characteristic.


Chinese-style Jewelry Design Style in the Qing Dynasty

China is an ancient civilization with a long history, and the origin and development of jewelry are also long-standing—from the budding of jewelry in the Old Stone Age to the colorful jade pendants in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period; from the diverse types of jewelry to the exquisite jewelry style and craftsmanship; there are countless treasures and extraordinary national essences. All vividly present the splendid history of Chinese civilization and the ideological soul of skilled craftsmen. Today, the artistic masterpieces of various eras still infect people's thoughts, concepts, and design ideas, often making people sigh and linger. Looking back, the most recent Qing Dynasty jewelry treasures are vivid.


The Qing Dynasty was the last feudal dynasty in Chinese history. After establishing its capital in Beijing, its cultural and artistic development continued and improved on the basis of the Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties. In the early Qing Dynasty, due to the consolidation of a unified multi-ethnic regime, social stability, and the cultural characteristics and customs of ethnic minorities such as the Mongols, Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Manchus, enriched the cultural traditions of the Chinese nation to a certain extent. The jewelry craftsmanship of the Qing Dynasty went through 549 years of development and changes, forming a unique style and era.


  1. Design of Jade Jewelry in the Qing Dynasty

After the establishment of the Qing Dynasty, after hundreds of years of hard work, production resumed. By the Qianlong period, the production of jade jewelry had reached an unprecedented peak in terms of both quantity and quality. The opening of routes for the import of Burmese jadeite and Hetian jade from Xinjiang to the Central Plains through large-scale wars played a significant role. Most of the jade in the Qing Dynasty was produced from Hetian, and the abundance and improvement of jade materials promoted the rapid development of jade craftsmanship. Whether it was the choice of jade materials (mainly Hetian jade and jadeite), the quantity of jade materials, the scale of production, or the number and variety of jade ornaments, processing techniques, and patterns, it far surpassed any previous dynasty. It can be called the last peak in the history of ancient Chinese jade carving and also contributed to the most prosperous period in the history of ancient Chinese jade culture, which was the third peak of Chinese jade culture. "Tiangong Kaiwu" records: All jade, valuable users, are all from Hotan. It shows that people at that time paid great attention to the raw materials of jewelry, and also exerted craftsmanship to the extreme. In the Qing Dynasty, folk artisans also followed the palace atmosphere. There were many small decorations with auspicious themes, which were considered superior in terms of material selection and craftsmanship. This is related to the aesthetic trend of the Qing Dynasty craftsmen and skills focusing on the "beauty of craftsmanship." In the late Qing Dynasty, especially during the reign of Empress Dowager Cixi, her love for jade reached a crazy level. Various jade items were readily available in the Changchun Garden where she resided. The teacups were made of jade with covers,


 the walls were built with jadeite, and the door rings were carved with jade. There were hundreds of pieces of jade and jadeite in the room.


  1. Design of Gold and Silver Jewelry in the Qing Dynasty

During the Qing Dynasty, gold and silver jewelry were mainly used by women. Different from the simple shape of gold and silverware, gold and silver jewelry had a delicate and elegant shape, rich colors, and exquisite decoration, which reflected the pursuit of beauty and fashion by women of the time. It is worth mentioning that during the Qing Dynasty, with the prosperity of commerce, the increasing number of wealthy businessmen, and the rise of the market economy, the demand for gold and silver jewelry also increased significantly, which promoted the development of the gold and silver jewelry industry. The gold and silver jewelry in the Qing Dynasty was mainly distributed in the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Summer Mountain Resort, and other imperial palaces and gardens, as well as in the private collections of the imperial family, nobles, officials, and wealthy businessmen. The Ming and Qing dynasties were the golden age of the development of gold and silver jewelry in China, especially the Qing Dynasty, which reached its peak in the early 18th century.


  1. Design of Ceramic Jewelry in the Qing Dynasty

During the Qing Dynasty, ceramic jewelry was also popular. It mainly includes hairpins, hair ornaments, hairpins, hairpin ornaments, earrings, earrings, earrings, rings, bracelets, pendants, necklaces, and so on. The variety of shapes and the use of patterns are diverse, which fully reflects the elegance and charm of the Qing Dynasty women. The Qing Dynasty's ceramic jewelry design inherits the traditional ceramic craftsmanship, emphasizing the combination of practicality and ornamental value, and paying attention to the coordination of various elements such as shape, color, pattern, and texture, which reflects the elegant and noble aesthetic taste of the Qing Dynasty women.



Chinese-style jewelry inherits and carries forward the essence of Chinese traditional culture, and its unique charm is deeply loved by people. However, with the development of the times and the continuous progress of society, Chinese-style jewelry is also facing the dual challenges of tradition and modernity, and the inheritance and innovation of Chinese-style jewelry have become an important issue that needs to be paid attention to. It is believed that with the joint efforts of the government, enterprises, and society, Chinese-style jewelry will surely shine with new vitality and create a brighter tomorrow.

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