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At the northeast of the Temple of Heaven lies a well-known pearl market. Every day it attracts a great many people from home and abroad. Recently I paid a visit there, and was greatly impressed with Fanghua Pearl and Jewel, the largest shop in the market. If you want to find a beautiful natural pearl necklace, and give yourself a more elegant and nobler look, don't miss this shop.


As soon as I entered the well-decorated shop, I felt myself dropped into a sea of pearls. Numerous pearl necklaces were neatly displayed in showcases. The colors mainly included milk white, golden yellow, pink and black. Some overseas customers were sitting at tables, talking to the shop assistants.


A shop assistant named Ms. Carrie greeted me politely. She told me her company is the No.1 retailer of high-quality pearls, which had been in the business for twenty years. According to her, the pearls here were in three categories: fresh water pearls, sea water pearls, and South Sea pearls.


A common fear of people is buying fake pearls. But Ms. Carries explained to me how to distinguish real pearls from fake ones: First, scratch two pearls, real ones sound and feel smooth. Second, scratch a real pearl with a scissors, a bit of white powder will drop. Also there's a rule to judge fine pearls: the rounder and shinier, the better.


I also noticed the photos on the wall showing foreign dignitaries visiting the shop. There were Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of UK, Putin¡¯s wife, the Queen of Spain, and the Queen of Belgium. The photos are proof of the charm of the Oriental pearls.


In this shop, you can ask the shop assistants any questions about pearls. They speak fluent English.


What I appreciated

Precious and elegant pearls, famous pearl dealer


What customers appreciate

Natural pearls, much inexpensive than in Western


Last week I visited an impressive shop in the eastern part of Beijing, which carried jadeite jewelry and petrified trees. The latter are a kind of precious decorations, even rarer than the former.


Mr. Wang, the shop owner, greeted me when in entered the shop. He showed me his large collection of jade and jadeite jewelry in the showcases. He explained that jadeite is harder than jade, and asked me to look at the green-colored bracelets and necklace pendants, which looked very elegant and beautiful.


He also told me that Chinese consider jade more precious than gold. Jade stands for morality and virtue. Wearing jade improves health in many ways, such as relieving vexation, nourishing the five internal organs, and unblocking blood vessels.


Looking around, I noticed some oddly shaped stones with fruity luster and colors. Mr. Wang told me they were petrified trees, which were formed naturally during the period from 355 to 65 million years ago. I almost couldn't believe my ears! Holding my breath I took a close look at one of them, and found that it was really a fossilized tree. Even though it looked like a stone, I could see its textures and growth rings on the cross section.


The shop owner said petrified trees had great archaeological values, and more importantly, they could serve as beautiful decorations at home.


 What I appreciated

Jade, jadeite, petrified trees


What customers appreciate

Jadeite jewelry, petrified trees


These days there is an antique rush in Beijing. . Amid the chaos, a shop named Rui Ji Xiang still offers antiques and jewelry items that are hard to find anywhere else.

Antiques in the shop are highly collectible, the ages ranging from several hundred years to over one thousand years: a bronze cup, one of the shop owner's favorites, is around 2500 years old. A Ming dynasty blue-and-white bowl is around 600 years old. And a set of earrings is 300 years old. It¡¯s really amazing that the shop carries antiques from different periods of ancient China.

I had a fun time there by checking out interesting stuff.. I found a tiny pot, which turned out to be a snuff bottle. Snuff bottles were European items, so this one might have been brought to China by some European merchant or soldier.

The shop is especially for girls looking for vintage-look jewelry. It carries a nice collection of old earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings. I even noticed a pair of earrings said to have once belonged to a Mongolian princess.

The shop owner is a senior connoisseur, and shares his knowledge generously. He speaks a little English, and has received a lot of foreign customers.


What I appreciate

Rare and gorgeous antiques

What customers appreciate

Rare-to-find antiques, welcoming atmosphere


A ceramic ornament is made of ceramic scraps bound with silver. Recently, it has become a fad among Beijingers.
At the 798 Art Zone, I found a shop called Ancient Ceramic Fashion, which features beautiful ceramic ornaments. They offer necklaces, bracelets, rings and hairpins, all made of ancient ceramic scraps unearthed from the relics of old kilns.

One particular bracelet was especially eye-catching. The middle is an oval-shaped ceramic with a beautiful pattern of lotus. It matched well with the huge silver band carved with leaves.

A brooch in the shape of a bird also looked cute. The body was weaved with silver wires. The artist used an ancient technique for making phoenix coronets.

Every step is done by hand, due to the delicacy of ceramic straps.

Prices vary from RMB 600 to RMB 2000.

What I appreciate:
Unique ceramic ornaments, beautiful design

What customers appreciate:
Ceramic ornaments reflecting  ancient culture


Unlike diamond or most other precious gems, Pearls is a jewelry designed only for women. Wearing pearls let ladies look more feminine and gentle.

The best Pearl shop in Beijing is Fang Hua Pearls & Jewelry. I visited one of its shops in the Pearl Market. Photos hung on the wall caught my attention immediately upon entering the shop. You can find many celebrities like Margaret Thatcher and Cherie Blair among them. They came to Fang Hua to select pearls during their visit to China. In fact over one hundred leaders with their wives from other countries have visited Fang Hua.

How to select pearls? A good pearl can be told from its shape, luster and color. The best is the one which is round, and can mirror images reflected on it. I especially like a necklace of pearls with jade green. It's suitable for ladies working at office. The black pearls imported from Maldives are also appealing. But they are very costly because a black pearl is so rare.

Each necklace of pearls costs at least several thousand yuan.

What I appreciate:
Beautiful pearls jewelry with good quality

What customers appreciate:
Quality pearls jewelry, famous shop

Beijing pictures, Jadeite necklace pendants

Although not well known in the west, Jade is a very popular jewelry among Chinese people, especially women. Jade is known for its graceful color and elaborately carved patterns, as well as mythical powers in chasing away bad luck.


At Baigong Handicraft Museum, I found a shop specializing in jadeite ware. The shop assistant guaranteed that all of their jewelry are made of top grade jadeite, which are the best. Raw jade is imported from Burma, and they are then carved by master craftsmen in Guangzhou.


For ladies, the shop offers bracelets and necklace pendants with Buddha and Ping An Kou (literally means button of protection). A bracelet usually costs several thousand yuan. For men, they have pendants such as Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy) and Pi Xiu (legendary animal which eats and retains wealth). A yellow-colored Pi Xiu cost about 600 yuan.


Also on display was a big, crude, black-colored jadeite stone. The shop assistant turned on a small flashlight against the stone, so I could see beautiful, charming green light shining into it. It was amazing to see graceful jadeite ware made from this kind of stone.


What I appreciated

Top grade jadeite jewelry


What customers appreciate

Top-quality jadeite articles, intricate workmanship


On the west side of Wangfujing Street lies a jewelry shop named Heng Fu Sheng, or "everlasting wealth and prosperity" in English. The shop mainly sells necklaces, pendants, and bracelets.


On the necklace pendant section, I found a large variety of jadeite pendants in showcases. The designs included Buddha (fit for women), Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy, fit for men), and the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, such as rat, ox, tiger and rabbit.


The most appealing pendant to me was a Pixiu, the fortunate animal in Chinese legend. With a dragon's head, a deer¡¯s ears, a goat¡¯s horns, a lion¡¯s body, a phoenix¡¯s tail, a tiger's paws, and a pair of wings, a Pixiu can ward off evil and increase wealth for its owner. This Pixiu in jasper and yellow looked very exquisite and vivid. The price tag for it was RMB 2,800, but customers could have it for 60% off.


The shop also sells grade-A jadeite bracelet at 500 yuan each.


What I appreciated

Exquisite jadeite jewelry, attractive discount


What customers appreciate

Graceful jadeite jewelry, huge discount


Wandering around Athena Xu is like walking inside a private room, with accessories, hats and home furnishings cleverly draped all through the boutique.

All pieces inside are unique, hand-crafted from a variety of materials, including leather, silk, chiffon, and ribbon. The accessories are adorned with glass beads, crystal and pearls to give off their own distinctive feel. You can even create their own design, which Athena Xu then makes according to your specifications.

Prices for hats and scarves start at RMB 165, and jewelry cost ranges from RMB 80 to RMB 735. Although certainly pricier than mass-produced products, such as those at the nearby Yaxiu market, these beautiful pieces provide a unique feel in a world where everything is mass-produced the same way.

What I appreciate

The handmade crystal necklace

What customers appreciate

Various accessories made from great craftsmanship


Jade is arguably the most popular precious stone in China, deeply entrenched in the Chinese culture over the past thousands of years. In Chinese people¡¯s mind, jade brings health and happiness to its bearer. And everyone, tourists and Beijingers alike, can use more of these.


Ziyun Jewelry is a famous jade brand in China, known for its incredible quality. They offer jade jewelry in various designs, including bracelets, pendants, rings, and necklaces. As I visited its outlet in An¡¯zhen Hualian Plaza, I found a great selection of top quality jade jewelry on display.


According to the shop assistant, the uncut jade comes from Burma, where the highest quality jade is found today. Ziyun¡¯s jade makers then process these in Beijing.


The dominant colors featured in Ziyun Jade Jewelry are transparent green, white, yellow, and orange. The shop assistant recommended a jade decoration: a mother pig feeding her nine babies. The amazing part is that every pig is in a different color. The mother is in white, and the little pigs in black, red, yellow, green, white, etc. Even a casual customer could see the difficulty in carving some of the finer details. The price for this decoration is RMB 15600, with no room to bargain.


Generally, prices for the larger jade decorations range RMB 10000 to RMB 40000. Jade jewelry prices range from RMB 1000 to RMB 10,000 and more.


What I appreciated:

Exquisite pig jade decoration


What customers appreciate:

Good quality, various levels of price

Beijing pictures, A Huge Gold & Jewelry Shop

Located at the northeast corner of Caishikou Intersection, Xingbaixuan Gold & Jewelry Shop is a huge store selling gold, platinum, jadeite and crystal jewelry. Every category has a wide range of patterns for customers to choose from.


The eastern section in the shop specializes in jewelry made from jade, such as necklaces, pendants, and bracelets. Chinese people consider jade a symbol of auspiciousness which will bring safety and health, while westerners admire its grace, mystery, and romantic nature.


The pendant patterns are mainly divided into two categories: Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, and Pi Xiu, God¡¯s animals in ancient Chinese legends which will absorb and keep wealth for you. Prices for jadeite Pi Xiu range from RMB 550 to RMB 4380. And the most valuable Guanyin pendant costs 180 thousand yuan. The green, fine jadeite Guanyin looks shining and translucent, while the halo around her head and the lotus pedestal under her crossed legs are made of platinum. Usually, patrons can enjoy some discount here.


The other parts of the shop carry various gold jewelry, including necklaces, pendants, bracelets, eardrops, and commemorative coins. The jewelries featured include both Chinese and western designs, in many unique patterns. The price for G999 per gram during my visit is RMB 226.


What I appreciated

Solid gold and jadeite jewelry, elaborate designs.


What customers appreciate

Large gold & jewelry shop, a wide variety of patterns for choice, good quality.

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Beijing Shopping: At the northeast of the Temple of Heaven lies a well-known pearl market. Every day it attracts a great many people from home and abroad. Recently I paid a visit there, and was greatly impressed with F...