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Chinese Silver Wedding Necklace

This early 20th century silver wedding necklace represents a transitional period (c.1900-1930) in Chinese jewelry. This necklace shows a western influence …multiple linked plaques with a box tongue clasp…a change in style from the silver ornaments of the Qing Dynasty such as the Qilin necklace I wrote about earlier this year.

1The workmanship is lovely…but lighter and more delicate than most 18th & 19th century Chinese works…two layers of silver in each panel…the front repoussé …the back plain with both layers pierced to create a lacy affect.

3It is marked on the clasp: SILVER CHINA NO23…a mark similar to the mark on the Qilin bracelet but without the initials…which suggests that #23 is the name of the workshop.

0017

The symbols remain uniquely Chinese. Guan Yin is at the center and on either side of her is a figure holding  a pair of fish, symbolizing abundance and harmony. The charm below the Guan Yin is a pomegranate, a symbol of fertility because it is full of seeds…another popular wedding gift …so we can assume this necklace was a marriage gift for a bride.

2Guan Yin is only one of the many names and spellings for the feminine goddess of mercy revered throughout China and other Asian countries for thousands of years… she does not usually appear in any of the export jewelry made for the west… it is nice to see that she has made the transition to the 20th century!

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