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Chinese Coral Enamel Kingfisher Set

Eye candy... that's what I call this set ... the brilliant blue of kingfisher feathers is a perfect contrast for the tube of coral seed beads... a medium salmon red.

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08-02-28 Chinese Coral Enamel KingFisher Set

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I had a dear friend of mine, a professional bead artist, examine this necklace to explain how is was constructed. He says the coral was needle woven with a tubular 'peyote' stitch (also know as a gourd stitch). This stitch was named 'peyote' in the U.S. in the late 19th century because it was often used by Native Americans ...research shows this stitch was also used in Africa and Guatemala... so while none of the resources that I checked mentioned China ... it is pretty obvious from this piece that it was used there... if anyone knows what it is named in China, I would love to hear from you.

Ornaments like these one were worn by women in the Mandarin Court and were symbols of wealth and status. Costly materials ... the coral imported from Italy, the rare feathers... the intensive labor, all combine to make this fragile beauty as rare and desirable as it was 150 years ago.  [adapted with screw back findings c.1920]

Eiberhard comments in the Dictionary of Chinese Symbols, 1986: "Chinese are people of the eye." This set is a wonderful example.

Singapore RE 2.5.2