Buying a gift for a woman is something that's not too difficult, and if you happen to know her interests well, then it becomes even easier! But when you're in China, the options are overwhelming. We have listed the top four items that make top quality Chinese gifts for that special woman in your life (mum, daughter, wife, girlfriend). We hope this helps you narrow down your search.
Raising silkworms and extracting silk from them is a process well-recognized as Chinese and deeply entrenched in Chinese culture. One of the most popular things to purchase, from the very days of the Silk Road, silk is as Chinese a gift as they get. The variety is impressive, including silk shawls, silk qipaos, delicate silk slippers, stunning silk robes and pajamas, silk linen, hair accessories made of silk and more! You can find genuine silk products in places like the 'Beijing Silk Museum', 'Silk Market' in Beijing, 'Fabric Market' in Shanghai, and other wholesale markets across cities like Shenzhen, Chengdu, Nanjing, etc. Also check out Shanghai Tang, though it is an expensive option.
However, before setting out to buy any silk product, it is important that you know the basics of how to tell silk that's fake from the genuine stuff. We have listed some simple ways below.
How to tell if silk is authentic
- Rub your hand on the silk and try to listen to the sound this makes. It should sound like walking on snow.
- Handwoven silk would show tiny variations in the evenness of the weave. If it's perfect, it's most likely a fake.
- You can pull real silk easily through a wedding ring, while fake fabric will be difficult with this test.
- Real silk drapes well, is super soft to the touch, has a unique shine and brightness about it, and absorbs moisture.
For a taste of real China, and for the health-conscious, explore the brilliant and complex world of Chinese tea.
This needs no introduction, and is a well known fact that China and tea go back to the beginning of time (well, pretty much!). And when it comes to types of tea (green, black, white, herbal, flowers, and more) and of the brands that go with each type, there are no limits.
Best places to purchase tea are the tea houses sprinkled across Chinese cities. Typically in a tea house, you are welcomed as a special guest, seated at a table with the tea host or hostess in the center, who then proceeds to introduce you to Chinese tea culture and etiquette. You are offered several select teas to taste, and are transported into a calm realm. After the tasting, you can browse through their tea stores to make your special purchase. This is an unforgettable experience, and a special tea is a near-perfect gift for your lady.
Read more on Chinese Tea's History and Culture.
Time for some pun! You'll find the best 'China' in China. Well, that's actually quite true. Porcelain, again a strong symbol of Chinese culture, makes a beautiful, expensive gift for your loved one. One of the best Porcelain gifts to recommend would be an elegant tea set.
The historical capital for Porcelain in China is Jingdezhen, where ceramic pottery has been around for over 1,700 years. If that's not enough, the intricate artwork on these ceramic products is a thing to behold. We doubt you'd see that level of art in any other part of the world.
Blue and white are the most traditional colors on Chinese porcelain, and that has become a Chinese trademark in a big way. We have covered it here.
Ah the beautiful and captivating pearl!
This jewel from the sea has held our attention for centuries. The very process by which it is formed is fascinating!
If in Beijing, the best place to learn about pearls and buying pearl jewelry and cosmetics is 'The Pearl Museum'. They even let you take a few away with you from a freshly harvested oyster! Then there is the famous 'Pearl Market' in Beijing.
In Shanghai, there is the 'Pearl City Market', 'First Asia Jewelry Plaza' and the 'Shanghai Tourist Product Shopping Mall'. Shanghai and Beijing have the larger pearl markets, but you'd find smaller ones in other cities too. More on pearl shopping in Shanghai>>
Again, it is important to know your pearls before you buy one. We have listed out the simple ways to tell genuine from fake. Read on.
How to tell if a pearl is authentic
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We hope this article was helpful in some way for you to decide what would make the best gift to purchase. Traveling with us, you'd have our guide to help you more, and take you to the right spots where you can buy authentic products. Our guide can also help ensure that you don't overpay.
If you want a shopping-oriented trip, or at least a part of your trip to include shopping, then our tailor-made trip tool is the best and most convenient way to go.
- A real pearl will be cooler than room temperature at first touch, then quickly warms up in a few seconds against your skin.
- Examine it under a magnifying lens and you should see tiny irregularities on the surface of genuine pearls, even the top quality ones.
- Real pearls have a deep luster and reflect light beautifully, yet they should not be glassy-looking.
- Use friction between two pearls to see if there is any resistance between them (caused by the nacre layer). Real pearls would have resistance as well as result in a bit of powdery residue formed due to friction.
- Check overtones on the pearl's surface, especially darker ones. You should see the color changes on the surface of a genuine pearl, even if you place it under water.
- First-time-to-China top choice: 11-day CLASSIC WONDERS tour (Beijing–Xi'an–Guilin–Shanghai)