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Archive for April, 2013

The History of Jade in China

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Jade has a history in China of at least four thousands years. Unknown to some, it is found contained within the development of religion and civilization, having moved from the use of decoration on to the others such as the rites of worship and burial. Although other materials like gold, silver and bronze were also used, none of these have ever exceeded the spiritual position that jade has acquired in peoples’ minds – it is associated with merit, morality, grace and dignity. In the funeral objects of the people of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD), for example, we can see only high officials were buried with jade articles.

In the West, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds were the expensive gemstones worn by high-ranking people as status symbols, but in China, nephrite (ruan yu, 軟玉) was regarded as a status symbol, and was used for jewelry and expensive decorations.The character for jade 玉 looks almost like the character for emperor 王, with the addition of the small stroke on the bottom right that might represent a stone. The character for jade may mean “the emperor’s stone”.

During the Chinese Bronze Age and before, jade was valuable as a material for making weapons and axes. At the time, durable luxury objects, such as cups and buttons, were also made from jade.Its scarcity, because it had to be imported from Xinjiang and other faraway places, and the powers it was thought to possess to bring health and cure diseases, may be why it came to be considered the gemstone of the Emperors.

It is interesting that nephrite was imported from as far away as the region of the Taklamakan Desert, in what is now Xinjiang, 3,000 years ago.At that time, Caucasian people lived in the area. It may be that these people traded with the Shang Dynasty (1766 -1122 B.C.) of China, because all the nephrite pieces found in the Shang Dynasty tombs are from that area of Xinjiang.

During the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD), the Emperor’s burial suits were made entirely of jade pieces that were pieced together.As the various empires came and went, the intricacy of the carvings increased. Craftsmen spent more and more time to carve more intricate designs.

Jadeite wasn’t mined in China, Mongolia or Xinjiang, so when green jadeite from Burma became available after 1800, during the Qing Dynasty, it became the preferred imperial form of jade.Looking at nephrite articles of the various eras, the designs progressively became recognizably more like modern Chinese designs, like the ones from Qing Dynasty (1636–1911).

Jeweler Engagement Ring Store Tips

Monday, April 15th, 2013

How to Choose a Jeweler

To find the perfect engagement ring, you have to choose the right jeweler. Right now, there are way too many different jewelers operating within the industry. And they offer a variety of service, style, and price range to their clients. A couple has to consider all these things if they want to want to find the perfect ring for them. Engagements rings are an investment. And just like your jewelry, the jeweler from where you bought the piece should last a lifetime for maintenance purposes.
Which Jeweler? Which Ring?
Before you choose the right jeweler, you have to be decided on the type of ring you want. Traditional, classic, and simple engagement rings can be availed from small jewelry stores. But if you want more exotic choices such as pave settings and Asscher cut, you need to proceed to some larger and more individualized jewelers. On the other hand, if you want to customize your ring, you’ve got to go to a store selling loose stones and are accepting customized works. 

To give you an idea as to which jeweler to buy from, try to visit several stores during your free time. Check out the single-store jewelry shops in operation near you. Then try to visit the malls to look for national chains. Carefully investigate the rings they carry, particularly focusing on the ones you can afford and the styles you like. Once you have a good idea of what you want and what you can buy, it becomes easier for you to decide.
Independent Jewelers or Mall Stores?
A lot of couples are warned against buying their engagement ring from an independent jeweler or a mall jewelry store. However, both of these places can pose to be a convenient option. Independent jewelers may have exotic collections you don’t know of. And the jewelry chains inside the mall have a wide range of engagement ring that you can choose from. You might even stumble upon a good bargain from them too. 

Between the two, independent jewelers are usually more knowledgeable about their products. Mall jewelers, on the other hand, are popular for their fast and efficient customer service and routine maintenance. For you to choose between the two, try to evaluate your reasons for buying the jewelry. Are you looking to buy the whole set later on? If so, you are better off with the mall store because even if you relocate in the future, you are likely to find the matching piece of your jewelry from their branch near your new home. 

The Services of the Jeweler
Jewelers offer different services to their clients. So before you choose one, try to check which service they can provide for the ring you are going to buy. Is routine maintenance and cleaning part of the deal? How about repairs? Are there any warranties? Is it possible to reset the diamond on an entirely different ring later on? Jewelers may tell you that they can do all of these for you. However, you need to find out if they are going to do them right there at the store or they would simple direct you to some office that is far away from where you are.