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Original Message:   Chinese openwork cloisonne dragon beads
Small Chinese openwork cloisonné dragon beads. These arrived in an 1980s-style necklace professionally strung with rose quartz and a Chinese gilded silver filigree clasp. An ugly combo, I thought, so I took it apart and have temporarily strung the beads with antique wound Chinese glass beads. I don't like this result, but it's keeping the beads together until I can come up with something more attractive.

At first I thought these beads were made in the 1970s, but I now think they date to pre-WWII, as they so closely match the dragon design and enamels found in Chinese cloisonné dragon beads used in costume jewelry from the 1930-early40s. Madame Chiang Kai-shek's visits to the US, especially the one in 1943, inspired fashion designers.

The beads measure less than 12mm - about 11.6-11.8, vertically hole-to-hole. Holes are large, 4mm.

That someone possessed the craftsmanship (and manual dexterity!) to make a whole matching set of such small beads is impressive, I think.

Japanese cloisonné beads (approx 14x15mm) strung on red inro cord for comparison.

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