In 2009, Trollbeads released 10 silver and 10 jade beads by six Chinese designers to represent what they viewed as the significant representations of Chinese culture and history. Most collectors would agree that the resulting silvers are some of the best charms ever produced by Trollbeads. The silvers are incredibly detailed and quite substantial compared to similar beads produced recently. Sadly, the jades have not held up to the test of time; I’ve heard that since these were dyed, the colors have faded off some of the stones. These beads were released for a limited amount of time in 2009, and unfortunately, if you haven’t been collecting for that long, they have appreciated quite well in value with some of the rarer ones selling for $100-150 and the less popular ones for $50-75.
The UK also saw the release of a limited edition China bracelet which had all 20 beads and in addition a numbered silver scroll, wooden box, and certificate of authenticity. Only 500 of these bracelets were released and they were sold for £648, which seems like a steal when you compare that to today’s going prices. No special lock for this limited edition set, it included the lace lock and a 17 cm bracelet.
This set called out to me because of its theme, but I was hesitant to try and find so many retired and popular charms. Once I started though, I was able to find all the beads within a few months – the harder part was waiting to buy at a good price, though I did luck into some great buys. I stuck with the silvers and I am so enthralled with these charms! For some of the silvers, the details are hard to see so I’ve taken pictures from all angles. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but I would have to say the Great Wall, Eternity, Birds and Flowers, and Clouds and Flower – they are absolutely exquisite.
Earlier this year, Trollbeads released another limited edition collection titled Chinese Hidden Zodiacs. These beads were also spherical in design, but much smaller being only a portion of the size of the LE China silvers. What they lose in size, they lose in detail as well and I have a real hard time distinguishing the design on these. It’s important to note that there is also a dragon & phoenix bead from the World Tour Hong Kong, but that one is also smaller than the LE China dragon & phoenix, so don’t be fooled.
In conclusion, I’m so thrilled to have these charms in my possession. These beads have a surprising amount of heft and their beauty in representing my heritage makes this a very personal collection to me. I had a hard time deciding which glass beads to pair with this set that would appropriately showcase the China silvers, but I settled on yellow/gold and a touch of red. Yellow and gold were the Imperial colors and only worn by emperors of old, and red has always been a lucky color for the Chinese, so I couldn’t think of anything more fitting!
Bead index (starting from left): chess lock, unique red/yellow clovers, unique yellow longevity, LE China pig, chick & badger (retired), orange steel (retired), LE China birds & flowers (retired), unique two-tone red dillo, LE China great wall (retired), unique yellow python, LE China eternity (retired), unique yellow ohm, LE China white snake (retired), unique red longevity, unique yellow swag, LE China dragon (retired), unique yellow fern, LE China clouds & flower (retired), unique yellow longevity, LE China rabbit, bird & deer (retired), scarlet armadillo, LE China silkworm (retired), unique yellow ornament, LE China dragon & phoenix (retired), unique brown scales, unique red/yellow dice.