Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 1986, Vol. 22, No. 1

Gemstone Carving in China: Winds of Change

The Chinese have labored to perfect the art of gemstone carving for several thousand years. Beginning with primitive tools and limited materials, they eventually developed the iron-tipped spindles and treadle machines that were to become the traditional tools of the trade for two millennia. With these relatively simple implements and meticulous craftsmanship, Chinese master carvers have produced some of the world's most sophisticated gemstone carvings. Within the past 10 years, however, increased governmental participation, the availability of power-driven machinery, and more varied carving materials have had a major impact on gemstone carving in China.