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Chinese Wedding Jewelry 101: Customs and Interpretations

The Year of the Dragon is one of the luckiest years under the Chinese lunar calendar. Couples may choose to get married on a lucky day during 2024 and to follow Chinese wedding customs on the day. One of the major wedding customs is to have gold jewelry for the bride to wear on the wedding day. The groom and bride’s families will give the couple gold as a symbol of good wishes for a happy marriage.

Gold of a purity of 999 fineness (24 carats) is preferred as it symbolizes the sanctity and purity of the marriage.

During a Chinese wedding, the bride needs to wear a Chinese embroidered wedding two-piece dress with hand-embroidered gold and silver threads which have mythic Chinese creatures on it. On top of the elaborate outfit, the bride also wear Chinese gold jewelry which are mainly bracelets and necklaces and sometimes even a gold headdress.

Gold Bracelets

Gold bracelets are a necessity for a Chinese wedding and are gifted by the couple’s close family members and elder relatives as a symbol of their blessing. Not just any gold bracelet will do–they must have symbolic meaning engraved on them such as good wishes for a happy marriage written in Chinese characters or dragons and phoenixes to symbolise the groom and bride. Unlike in Western gift etiquette, the couple’s parents may request guests to include their receipts for the gold jewelry when gifting to the couple so that they could bring them back to the jewelry shop for resale or exchange of other jewelry after the wedding.

Great care and attention is afforded in selecting and wearing the gold bracelets because the purity of the gold may cause those bracelets to be bruised from squeezing them. The more bracelets worn by a bride on her wedding day, the more respect and pride is afforded to the lucky couple and their family.

Gold Necklace

A gold necklace worn by the bride is also full of good wishes from the couple’s family members. Traditionally, the gold necklace depicts a sow (mother pig) and her piglets as a blessing for many children for the couple. In the modern world, having many children may no longer be a strong desire for the couple and the to-be-grandparents. In such case, gold necklaces may be designed with flowers or phoenix as a symbol of plenty, good fortune and having high regard for the bride and her family.

Tips for Shopping for Gold Jewelry

Hong Kong is a favoured destination among Asian tourists to buy gold jewelry because of the purity of the gold available and variety of designs. In choosing gold jewelry, some tips are:

  1. Doing your research online or in shops and conduct price comparison. There may be discounts on design price of the jewelry if you ask nicely and show real interest;

  2. Check the grams of gold shown on the tags;

  3. Go to reputable jewelry shops. Look for the Quality Gold Mark issued by the Hong Kong Jewellers’ & Goldsmiths’ Association;

  4. Keep the receipts and check carefully the final product. Ask to weigh the gold on the scales before buying.

Gold jewelry is a popular wedding gift in many cultures including in Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern cultures. Next time you pass by a local jewelry shop, don’t dismiss the gold jewelry as old and traditional–spare a moment to admire the symbols of blessings for a happy couple.


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