These elegant earrings feature 90-year-old jade buttons from the time of the rule of Puyi, China's ''last emperor.'' Bezel-set in 24-karat gold vermeil (an 18th-century French term for gold-plated sterling silver), they feature dangling tiers of cultured freshwater pearls. Wear an evocative piece of history that symbolizes the end of an era from nearly one century ago. As these are handmade by artisans using vintage buttons, each will vary.
Handmade in China. 24-karat gold vermeil with vintage jade buttons. 2"L.
Please accept minor variations in the patterns and shade of these vintage jade buttons.
Jade has been used in China since Neolithic times, as weapons and other utilitarian items as well as ceremonial emblems. The Chinese word for jade is most often translated as yü, although that term can mean any number of precious stones. In fact, more than one type of stone is rightfully called jade, with nephrite being considered ''true jade,'' and a softer stone, jadeite, being considered an equally high quality substitute.
The ancients depicted heaven with a perforated jade disk, through which it was believed that the emperor could commune with the gods. For the average man, jade represented excellence and purity. Alchemists tried to produce a potion from ground jadethe elixir of lifethat would grant immortality.
In Confucius's 2nd century ''Book of Rites,'' Li-Ki, he writes, ''In ancient times, men found the likeness of all excellent qualities in jade. Soft, smooth, and stronglike intelligence; angular, but not sharp and cuttinglike righteousness; ...when struck, yielding a note, clear and prolonged, yet terminating abruptlylike music; its flaws not concealing its beauty, nor its beauty concealing its flawslike loyalty; with an internal radiance issuing from it on every sidelike good faith…"
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