Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dangly Bits

Brass, treated lapis, turquoise (possibly artificial or color treated) and onyx earrings by Tai&Vin - NT$450 on sale - Yongkang Street #28-2

As I've written two sequentially thought-provoking posts - at least they are to me! - I thought it was time for a little fun. There is more than just frivolity when one starts talking about independent artists and designers, as well as small businesses (even if the product are not hand-designed or made): I do find meaning where others may find fluff.

And what kind of fun do I like more than earrings? No kind, that's what. I'm a total earrings-and-scarves hoarder, which I think may be some sort of weird personality issue (seeing as before earrings and scarves it was nail polish, and for awhile it was colorful striped socks with individual toes). But as quirks go it's not a financially or personally devastating one, so I think it's fine.

I've found that a combination of a strong creative spirit (yes, it's there, if you look for it), massive consumer goods shopping opportunities from department stores to night markets - heck, the streets are filled with stores selling FOOD and STUFF in a way that not even the USA could imagine - and low prices make Taipei an excellent city in which to scout out awesome new earrings, which means I can enjoy my little habit without breaking the bank or pondering seeing a therapist for my compulsive-collector tendencies.

Here are a few of my favorite haunts, interspersed with photos from my own massive collection of earrings:

The lady who sells silver by MRT Jingmei Exit 2 (past Family Mart) - people selling silver from SE Asia - usually it really is sterling, but do check each item for the stamp to confirm - are all over Taipei, but I particularly like this woman's small shop. She goes to Thailand a few times a year and buys items there to sell in Taiwan. Yes, it would be cheaper if I just bought my own stuff in Thailand, but I haven't been since 2003 and if you are a regular she starts giving discounts.

Yongkang Street is full of places that sell cool earrings, both new and old. Be careful for fake antiques sold at real antique prices, though. I bought these gold vermeil and jade beauties there, got them checked and have been told that yes, they are the real deal and probably came off of an old Chinese headdress (the big kind with dangly bits that brides used to wear and that I personally think brides should still wear because they RULE). Tai&Vin is also great to browse in this area - it can get very expensive but some of their items are affordable - it depends on whether you're buying just nicely made earrings or earrings made from real jade and antique pieces.

That Turkish earring guy (sometimes a woman works there and I'm not sure who owns it) at Tianmu International Square weekend flea market. Whenever the area across from the big stationery store in Shi-da opens for a little artisan's market, you can also find them. They sell beautiful "Turkish" (not sure if they really are - who cares) earrings in a variety of colors and shapes, screened and engraved with mehndi-like patterns.

Shi-da night market - I completely love the guy who sells cheap but gorgeous enamel earrings on the busy street in the market - another woman near the big stationery store sometimes sells them too, along with watches. At NT150 each, I couldn't help but build a collection!

Earrings above by Aliko Chen (found her in Shi-da and have not seen her since)

The weekend market at Red House - I haven't been in awhile but I assume it's still around. I bought these beauties there - the chain goes through your piercing and they hang that way. They're well-weighted and don't slip. You can find a lot of cool stuff here - and some of the same jewelry makers (and some who just sell cheaper jewelry that you can wear for fun) can also be found in the mall under Caesar Park hotel approaching Taipei Main Station.

Chinese Handicrafts Market on Zhongshan Road - I know, such a cliche, but they sell cool stuff like this. Well, I made the little puffy stars, but the two cloisonne earrings are from the handicrafts shop. Check out the selection at the National Palace Museum gift shop on the top floor, or wade through bins of ugly faux-silver-abalone earrings for one piece of pure gorgeousness on the first floor.

The Indian import store in the Wuchang Street covered market (Wuchang Street east of Bo'ai, near/across from Zhongshan Hall) - with earrings starting at NT100, you can't go wrong. The styles are ethnic, sometimes overwhelming, and very colorful. Also, extremely cheap: these are wear-for-fun earrings, not investment pieces. Also the best place to get earrings in copper tone if you're into that (I am).

Anyway, that's my fun post for the weekend - enjoy!


violet_scythe said...

I was trying to find the seller by Jingmei MRT but I couldn't find her store. How far away is it from Family Mart?

violet_scythe said...

I couldn't find the woman who sells earrings near the Jingmei MRT. How far away is her store from Family Mart?

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

She wasn't far at all, just a few steps down. But it's been years - she might have closed up shop.