When the Qing dynasty was established in 1644, beads of precious and semi-precious stones and glass were produced for necklaces called 'court beads' or 'Mandarin chains' by foreigners.
The Chinese beads expressed status and were permitted to be worn only by those of high rank as prescribed by law. All of the materials used in these necklaces were imported from all over the world.
With the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, most of the necklaces were broken up and sold off in parts. Few original Mandarin necklaces still exist.
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