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Vintage Chinese Carved Mother of Pearl Dragon

This Vintage Chinese hand carved dragon buckle is the most unusual example of carved Mother of Pearl that I have ever been able to find.


[ click on images to enlarge …. photos by: RP (Bob) Birt ]

Mother of Pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks as an inner shell layer; it is also what makes up the outer coating of pearls. It is strong, resilient, and iridescent. (Wikipedia)

The Chinese have been using  Mother of Pearl for ornamentation for over 1500 years. Usually, it is associated with; game markers and buttons or the beautiful inlays the Chinese use in conjunction with lacquer …but very seldom with jewelry.

An image  search on Goggle seems to bare this out. After 15 pages or so, while I saw a number of beautiful Mother of Pearl ornaments, none were really comparable to this carving.


What I love the most is the skill the carver …creating a character that seems to come to life.

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  1. robert herbst
    Posted September 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    hello i appreciate any help you can give me
    i have this piece:dragon (probably chinese), hand-carved, mother-of-pearl, about 12inches x 12 inches, mounted on mother of pearl, has other pearls attached, very well made, excellent job.
    i would like to know more about it, can you lead me to someone or someplace where i can get more information. thank you for your time and assistance. please feel free to contact me

  2. Posted September 22, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry but that would something that we would not have any experience in. We often depend on the settings and other various elements that are within the context of ‘jewelry’ to identify pieces. Also, we need to see an item physically and do not make determinations from photos.

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