Chinese Zodiac Jewelry from Marion Cage

Chinese Zodiac CharmHorse Chinese Zodiac Charm in 10-karat gold on an oxidized sterling silver chain

At Marion Cage, we love finding ways to make jewelry part of your life story. Personalized jewelry allows the wearer to express themself and share that expression with others. Our Chinese Zodiac Charms allow you to connect to the rich history of Chinese mythology and share your personality type with others. Wear the animal that governs the year you were born to remind yourself of your best qualities and strengths. When others ask about your beautiful charm, you can share with them what it means to you.

Understanding the Chinese Zodiac


chinese zodiac charm

Chinese astrology divides astrological signs by years, whereas Western astrology separates them by months. Therefore, the Chinese believe that people born in the same year share the same traits, whereas Westerners group people on a month-by-month basis. This difference in sensibilities makes sense for each culture, as Eastern societies place great emphasis on generational differences, whereas Western countries focus more on psychological ones.

The twelve zodiac signs discussed in Chinese astrology derive from a myth. According to legend, when God was developing a calendar, he summoned all the creatures on Earth to participate in a race. The first twelve species to cross the finish line were awarded signs in the Chinese zodiac. Consequently, the Rat got first place through cunning and strategy, while the meticulous Pig came in last because it was continually distracted along the way.

Western astrology, on the other hand, bases its twelve zodiac signs on the constellations that move through the sky throughout the twelve months of the year. Therefore, the month of January is associated with Capricorn, because that constellation is directly overhead during that time, whereas the month of July is linked to Cancer, because this is when the Crab is at its zenith.

The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, and each year in that cycle is related to an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The Chinese zodiac is calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

You can use the zodiac calculator to search for your Chinese zodiac animal sign. Select your Gregorian date of birth, and you'll reveal your date of birth according to the lunar calendar, together with your sign.

Below is the order the Chinese zodiac cycle follows, along with a main trait associated with each animal:

  • Rat: wise
  • Ox: industrious
  • Tiger: brave
  • Rabbit: cautious
  • Dragon: strong
  • Snake: adaptable
  • Horse: impulsive
  • Goat: unified
  • Monkey: flexible
  • Rooster: consistent
  • Dog: loyal
  • Pig: friendly 

The Chinese zodiac is often used to determine compatibility between couples as well as individual personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, and likes and dislikes. Each sign has a balance between positive and negative traits to achieve the balance between yin and yang. It can be fun and even revealing to find the animal for your year and see which qualities are associated with it.

Chinese Zodiac Charms from Marion Cage

Chinese Zodiac Charms from Marion CageDog Chinese Zodiac Charm in sterling silver on a sterling silver chain (left)
Dog Chinese Zodiac Charm in 10-karat gold on a 14-karat gold chain (right)

At Marion Cage, we have interpreted the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac as delicate, laser-cut charms. Available in sterling silver or 10-karat gold, these Chinese zodiac charms bear the hallmark simplicity and grace of our jewelry. Add your charm of choice to a bracelet or necklace you already own, or choose from our selection of sterling silver, oxidized sterling silver, and 14-karat yellow gold for an elegant way to wear your Chinese zodiac charms.

Shop Chinese Zodiac Jewelry and More from Marion Cage

In addition to our collections of personalized jewelry, Marion Cage also offers a wide range of one-of-a-kind jewelry, cabinetry hardware, and accessories for the home. Shop Marion Cage online or at our gallery, located at 3807 Magazine Street in New Orleans, LA. If you visit our gallery, be sure to browse the Rodger Stevens exhibition on display now through October 6th.

Read our blog, contact us online, or give us a call at 504-891-8848 for more information.

What Is Vermeil?

Whether you realized it or not, you’ve probably come across vermeil jewelry before. Even so, you’re not alone if you’re still asking, “What is vermeil?”

Also known as vermeil gold, gilt silver, or gilded silver, vermeil is a specific type of gold plating. The process involves plating sterling silver or fine silver with a layer of gold that is at least 10 karats and 2.5 microns thick. To determine what is vermeil and what is not, you must know the base metal, gold thickness, and gold quality of a piece. A quicker and easier way to identify vermeil is by looking for the number 925. This marking means that the jewelry is 92.5% silver, so when you see it on a gold piece, you can assume it’s vermeil.

Vermeil is a quality choice relative to standard plated jewelry, offering the look of gold at a lower price tag than pure gold pieces. However, there are also disadvantages to vermeil, which many consumers find disappointing. For shoppers on a budget, it can be better to opt for real gold and perhaps own fewer pieces. At Marion Cage, we have steered away from vermeil, offering lower priced gold items and mixed metal pieces instead. Learn more about vermeil, its pros and cons, tips for buying, and potential alternatives below.

At Marion Cage, we're happy to answer all your questions online or in our retail gallery space, pictured here. Learn what is vermeil and what is not, its pros and cons, tips for buying, and potential alternatives.

The Pros of Vermeil Jewelry

When gold color is a must-have but the budget is tight, vermeil satisfies both requirements without sacrificing as much quality as plated jewelry that isn’t vermeil. Due to the thickness of its gold layer, vermeil plating lasts longer than other plated jewelry. Vermeil is also more tolerable to sensitive skin than regular gold plated jewelry because of its silver base and thick gold coating.

The Cons of Vermeil Jewelry

Any metal plating can and eventually will wear off. While vermeil lasts longer than most other plated jewelry, over time the silver underneath will start to show through. We have also encountered vermeil pieces with visible cracks in the plating and layers of gold peeling off. These issues can occur if a piece was not perfectly polished and cleaned before plating or if it gets dinged or bent.

Tips and Alternatives

When buying vermeil, it’s best to stick to earrings or pendants, because the plating will last longer on items that have less direct contact with your skin. Rings, on the other hand, will quickly show signs of wear, and the gold color will soon become compromised. Vermeil has its advantages, but it doesn’t last. If you want the benefits of a beautiful gold color, we recommend purchasing solid gold, especially for rings.

Solid gold rings, such as this Swell Stacking Ring from Marion Cage, provide a much better value than vermeil gold jewelry.Swell Stacking Ring in 14k yellow gold

For shoppers on a budget, we recommend these tips:

  • Choose smaller gold pieces, such as these Tiny Sliver Studs in 14k yellow gold.
  • Consider lower karat purity. Many of our rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are available in 14k gold.
  • Buy mixed metal pieces, such as our Chinese Zodiac Charms in 10k gold with oxidized silver chains or our Clover Necklace in 14k yellow gold on an oxidized chain.
  • Purchase fewer pieces, prioritizing quality over quantity.

Mixed metal pieces, such as this Clover Necklace in 14k yellow gold on an oxidized chain from Marion Cage, are a great way to save money will still getting the benefits of real gold jewelry.
Clover Necklace in 14k yellow gold on an oxidized chain

At Marion Cage, we offer gold jewelry in a range of karat purities to meet your needs. We also carry a variety of styles in our line that mix silver, oxidized silver, or black rhodium plated silver with accents of 14k gold. These mixed metal pieces keep the price relatively low while still offering you all the advantages of gorgeous, high-quality gold.

Shop Marion Cage Today

Check out more Marion Cage exclusive designs and shop today! You can shop online or in person at 3807 Magazine Street in New Orleans, LA. If you visit our retail gallery in New Orleans, be sure to take a look at the Rodger Stevens exhibition of sculptural jewelry, on display now through October 6, 2018. Learn more about this artist and exhibition here.

If you have any questions about what is vermeil or would like to hear more about the lower priced gold jewelry currently in our inventory, contact Marion Cage online or call us at 504-891-8848.

Rodger Stevens Exhibition: Unique Jewelry as Wearable Sculpture

These pieces of unique jewelry and sculpture by Rodger Stevens are on display now at Marion Cage.

Marion Cage is pleased to present a special exhibition of one-of-a-kind, unique jewelry and sculpture by New York-based artist Rodger Stevens. The exhibition is on view in our Magazine Street gallery in New Orleans through October 6th.

What Brings Rodger Stevens’ Unique Jewelry to Marion Cage?

Rodger Stevens' unique jewelry, such as these bracelets and necklaces, is on display at the Rodger Stevens exhibition at Marion Cage.

When Marion first discovered Rodger’s work, she was immediately struck by its elegance and lyrical quality. Formed through curving, twisting, and forging brass wire, the startling craftsmanship Rodger brings to his work results in objects of exceptional aesthetic and conceptual refinement. Finding congruence with her own work, Marion approached Rodger about carrying some of his smaller sculptures in her gallery.

Smaller sculptures like this are also on display at the Rodger Stevens exhibition at Marion Cage.

More About Rodger Stevens

Rodger Stevens was born in Brooklyn, New York. He remained in New York for school, studying at Pace University, the Parsons School of Design, and the School of Visual Arts. Rodger went on to make a name for himself, creating works of art for numerous private clients and institutional collections. In a brief  film about him, he explains, “I know growing up in Brooklyn and Manhattan I borrowed so much from very ordinary architecture: scaffolding and cranes and fire hydrants and mailboxes and gutters.” While his work is clearly influenced by New York, its elegance and energy have resonated with people all over the United States and the world. Rodger’s art has been displayed around the globe, including such distinguished locations as:

  •   The Whitney Museum of Art
  •   The American Folk Art Museum
  •   The Katonah Museum
  •   The Bristol Museum
  •   Barney's
  •   Sothebys
  •   The New York Children's Museum of Art
  •   The Hangaram Museum of Art in Seoul

Pictured here, the Vicious Infinite Regress Choker by Rodger Stevens is on display now at Marion Cage.Vicious Infinite Regress Choker, Rodger Stevens

Rodger recently turned his attention to jewelry during a four-month residency at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, so it was only natural for Marion to host a show featuring this exciting new body of work. The necklaces, rings, and bracelets featured in the exhibition embody the same energy and elegance found in Rodger’s unique sculpture.

Rodger Stevens and Marion Cage

Rodger and Marion are truly kindred spirits in terms of their sources of inspiration. Both draw heavily from architecture in their work: Marion, by virtue of her training and background as an architect, and Rodger, through his fascination with the architecture of NYC.

The Adduction Necklace Part II by Rodger Stevens (left) bears several striking similarities to the jewelry of Marion Cage, such as the Peak Rings (right), which illustrate Marion's architectural inspiration.

 Adduction Necklace Part II, Rodger Stevens (left)
Peak Rings, Marion Cage (right)

While Rodger has worked with other materials, wire continues to be his preferred medium. In a 2013 interview, he states, “Wire is such a material: elemental like a pencil line but, with sufficient intervention, fantastically expressive.” With his materials providing so much of his inspiration, it’s easy to see how Rodger developed an interest in creating unique jewelry as a form of artistic expression.

The inspiration Rodger finds in his materials is clear in these necklaces from his collection of unique jewelry.

Marion’s interest in materials, which often serve as a starting point in her design process, is another point of commonality between her and Rodger. To illustrate, consider these side-by-side images of Rodger’s forged earrings and Marion’s own drawn pendant.

The Dodging Raindrops Earrings by Rodger Stevens (left) are on display now at Marion Cage, and the Drawn Pendant by Marion Cage (right) is for sale now online or in our store.

Dodging Raindrops Earrings, Rodger Stevens (left)
Drawn Pendant, Marion Cage (right)

Visit the Rodger Stevens Exhibition at Marion Cage Before It’s Gone

At Marion Cage, discovering and sharing the work of other artists alongside our own is one of our passions. We invite you to visit our gallery, located at 3807 Magazine Street in New Orleans, LA. We are open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, where a constantly evolving and curated selection of work is on view. You can also shop or contact Marion Cage anytime online.

Visit these and more pieces of unique jewelry from Rodger Stevens now through September 1st at Marion Cage.