Now, I have used beads in my handcrafted jewelry for years (before I started to focus more on designing cufflinks). One of the bead materials that I used in my work in those days, was cat’s eye beads. In fact, I used to buy cat eye beads in all possible colours, during my trips around Hong Kong and Singapore bead shops. After seven years, today was the day, right here at the Marble Factory in Hualin, East coast of Taiwan, that I learnt that cat’s eye comes only in one colour. Green! That explains why the cat’s eye beads in other colours are generally inexpensive. So, if anyone tells you that cat’s eye beads come in colours other than green, you now know what the answer is.
The Marble Factory representative also showed us the way to differentiate between true jade handcrafts and marble handcrafts. Just cast some light (see below).
Now, a little about my journey around the Marble Factory. I vaguely remember similar trips to artisan factories as a child, when I accompanied my parents on South East Asia group travel tours. But taking a trip to such a factory as an adult in love with handcrafts and artisan work, was a mind-blowing experience, especially after we got to see the Taroko Gorge from where abundant amounts of Taiwanese jade and the marble are mined (more about Taroko gorge in a later blog story, but if you feel you can’t wait to explore the wonders of this Marble Gorge, read more at RoundTaiwanRound).
It was a Sunday, when we made our way to the marble factory in Hualin. We started the tour by visiting the factory first, but it being a Sunday, it was desolate and we were faced with slates of grey on all sides. Not an artisan in sight. We get to see all sorts of marble (white marble), emerald jade with cat’s eye inclusions, rainbow jade and more. In fact, on our way to the factory, we saw pavements and entrance to shops paved with marble mosaics. That’s because Hualin is one of the biggest sources of marble in the world.
To help you understand the dimensions of the entrance to the Marble souvenir shop, take a look at the next three pictures.
Photos taken by Jan D’Sa, and Jimmy Chen of Pro Tours.