Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

 Beautiful Jade Bracelets

According to the Chinese calendar today we usher out the year of the rabbit and usher in the year of the dragon. I am hopeful for a better year as the dragon is a symbol of good fortune and power. Unlike western medieval depictions of dragons as a menace, the Chinese depict the dragon as a deliverer of good fortune. I was born in the year of the tiger myself and since my mother was born in Macau and grew up there we had many Chinese influences in my house as a child. My family lived in San Francisco and some remain to this day. San Francisco is a fun and interesting city and China Town, while quite a tourist destination, is still fascinating to me now.

Whenever I think of China Town and my family I think of jade. Jade is an aggregate of tightly interlocking crystals. Gems are generally a single crystal. Jade is found in a variety of colors from lavender to white, yellow to red, and black to the more commonly associated green. The green jade is considered more valuable and the darker and more even the tone, the better. The next most valuable color is lavender and the more uniform the color in any jade increases the value. Jade is also said to have healing properties and in particular, it was considered beneficial in healing kidney ailments. Jade is a good stone to have around.

 Keep a Jade Egg in Your Pocket

My mother made a visit to China a few years back and of course brought back some beautiful lavender jade for me. This necklace looks great with a black dress and I have worn it several times. While I’m sure it is not extremely valuable, but it does invoke memories of my childhood and my mother’s origins. It also got me to thinking about how wonderful jade looks when it is made into beads and strung into a necklace. Jade bracelets are beautiful and their different colors, uniformity and transparency make an interesting fashion statement.

Since today is Chinese New Year it makes me reminisce about my childhood and going to China Town with my Uncle and getting “bowties” and seeing ducks hanging in the windows of shops. It also makes me crave going to R&G Lounge for dinner and casually strolling through all the shops looking at unusual imported goods. It is a wonderful memory and maybe I will make a visit soon after the hubbub and the excitement of today wears off and the crowd thin. I could always use a little more jade in my jewelry wardrobe and who can resist a sweet treat, not I.