Sunday, January 16, 2022

Beijing Enamel Factory and Chinese Cloisonne Beads

The August 2021 issue of Bead Forum, a semi-annual publication of the Society of Bead Researchers, features an article by me and Rosanna Falabella (editor) on the devolution of Chinese cloisonne beads from the early decades of the Beijing Enamel Factory into the present.

Devolution of Floral Patterns on Chinese Cloisonne Beads and the Parallel HIstory of the Beijing Enamel Factory

Lush example of intricate beads, likely circa 1970s.

Moving counter clockwise around the necklace, the themes on each individual bead are:

  1. Phoenix (Feng huang) and peony blossom
  2. Red-crowned crane
  3. Goldfish with pond weed - side view of fish with only one eye - a version unique to this necklace?
  4. Blossom branch
  5. Grapevine with leaves, coiled tendril, grapes
  6. Double fish on one side; Castanets on the other (See Wikipedia article below about the Immortal Lan Caihe)
  7. Blossom branch
  8. Lotus blossom with sacred ribbons;  Red vase/jar with ribbons
  9. Blossom branch
  10. Blossom branch
  11. Gourd vine with leaves, blossom, vine, gourds
  12. Feng huang and peony blossom
  13. Gourd vine
  14. Blossom branch
  15. Grapevine
  16. Castanets; Double fish
  17. Lotus blossom with ribbons; Turquoise vase/jar with ribbons
  18. Peach tree branch with blossoms and peaches
  19. Blossom branch
  20. Blossom branch
  21. Lotus with ribbons; Red vase/jar with ribbons
  22. Grapevine
  23. Goldfish
  24. Goldfish
  25. Gourd vine
  26. Grapevine
  27. Lotus with ribbons; Red vase/jar with ribbons
  28. Blossom branch
Filigree clasp has a rounded base, stamped "SILVER MADE IN CHINA."

An early example of the blossom branch in a necklace of matching 15mm beads, demonstrating work by an older craftsman before the design was abbreviated and simplified so less skilled new employees could manage it.

Two beads are different.


  1. Beautiful! So many patterns in one necklace, makes it very unique and stunning! Love it!