During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), some men and women wore long ornate fingernail guards to keep their nails from breaking, this was a temporary fashion that demonstrated they did little with their hands. Aristocratic women wore ornate tiaras designed with coiled springs to generate a distinctive eye-catching movement. Chinese civil officials wore heave-beaded rank necklaces and hat finials that complemented lavishly embroidered badges to distinguish their service rank. Men and women both wore small jade toggles not only as fasteners but also for the tactile pleasure of touching their cooling slick surfaces.
In China, jade is prized over all other precious materials. Jade is associated with health and luck and is perceived as link between heaven and earth. Nonetheless, gold, silver, ivory, pearls, silver, amethyst, amber, rock crystal, different colored varieties of quartz and the brilliantly blue kingfisher feathers all comprise important elements of Chinese ornaments. While most of these materials historically are found within Chinese territories, local sources of jade became depleted from extensive mining. As a result jade became imported from areas west of China's heartlands as well as from Southeast Asia. Ivory was obtained both from Southeast Asian elephants as well as African elephants whose tusks were traded through South and Southeast Asia. Silver is particularly valued by many different ethnic groups in Southeastern China. The massive mining of silver in South America in the 16th century increased availability and decreased prices, flooding world markets and increasing its' use in jewelry making world-wide.