Cinnabar is a fantastic substance, especially for jewelry! I buy cinnabar beads and make them the focal piece of my jewelry. These days, they are safe for everyday wear; however, they have a toxic and dangerous past!
This gorgeous cinnabar pendant is a fantastic example o
f my favorite beautiful red hue!
Cinnabar is a resin that is intricately carved in geometric, flowered or organic patterns. While its origin is Greek and Roman, it became very well known in China during the 10th century BC with their “lacquer” system giving cinnabar the bright colors it is known for.
Cinnabar is mined as mercuric sulfide, a very poisonous substance. To make the lacquer in the Chinese technique, it was ground into a powder and rich dyes were added. As it was ground down, the mercury released as a fume, often causing death in as little as six months! The Romans, after noting the deadly side effects cinnabar had on its miners, forced criminals and slaves to mine the ore.
When cinnabar became infamous for being dangerous, faux cinnabar was introduced in China around the year 1200 BC. The Chinese dubbed this new, fake cinnabar “tsuishu” and made it with a wooden core instead of the deadly mercury substance. The wood was then coated with 100 to 300 layers of lacquer with each layer allowed to dry and was lightly polished. After the lacquer was applied, it was carved into a motif featuring Chinese letters, geometric patters, flowers, etc.
I love working with cinnabar! I always buy it as beads and usually in red! I love the deep scarlet hues in earrings and pendants. I do carry some green, teal, blue and black that are also very beautiful. The shapes and carvings are all exquisite and unique, perfect for everyday wear! If you see a cinnabar bead, earrings or pendant that you like, please let me know!
Here are examples of what I have in stock for cinnabar pendants.
If you’re interested in one, please submit a custom jewelry request!
I adore this green cinnabar pendant. The flower shape
combined with the geometric design is fantastic!
This is the back side (or front if you prefer!) of the
cinnabar pendant featured above.
It’s like having two necklaces in one!