Saturday, 8 August 2015

Ting Hun Jewelries for the Bride

Recently I attended a ting hun. After the ceremony, I was quite surprised that the guests hovered around the dowry being displayed and some even took pictures of the jewelries! 

I texted my friend and she said, "Normal yan! Hindi naman lahat ganyan ka obvious but most people do talk about what jewelries the bride received."

A couple of days later, I chatted with a friend online and she asked, "So, how were the BLINGS?"

In a ting hun, a mininimum of 4 sets of jewelry sets must be given to the bride. On top of this, she also gets a watch, a necklace medallion and a pair of Chinese bangles. 

(by Chow Tai Fuk)

Typically, the "mainstay" jewelry sets are:

Pearl Set 

Sapphire Set

Ruby Set

Diamond Set

Note: The sets above are by Miadora via They are only silver sterling and zirconia. These are technically called Faux/Fake Jewelries and should not be given in a Ting Hun! 

Gold Set or Necklace  (Chinese Gold, 24K)

(by Chow Sang Sang)

If the groom comes from very rich family and they are really very happy with the match, the jewelries will have more...gems and diamonds. Think Pretty Woman! They are also usually displayed in glass cases instead of red boxes. 

(by Van Cleef and Arpels)

(by Van Cleef and Arpels)

(by De Beers)

 It seems that jewelries are stars of the ceremony and are what people mostly remember. 

I was reminded of several stories.  

- A mom cried when she saw the jewelries that was given to her daughter at her ting hun. 
- Another bride received semi-precious stones and her family was aghast! 
- One bride got fake jewelries and they rusted!
- One family borrowed money just to avoid embarrassment. Para daw hindi "pai-se".

I never quite understood why jewelry is such an important topic. I'm speculating that in this "community",  jewelries are symbols of love, acceptance and/or worth. My friend told me that this is also a way for the groom's family to show off their wealth to their own relatives.

I remember my mom threatening my brother that if she doesn't like his future wife, she won't give her, her  jewelries.  Imagine my relief when she told me that she likes his current girlfriend.

However, what I come to slowly realize is...because majority of old generation Fil-Chi parents  and husbands don't (or CAN'T) say "I love you", " I like you" and most importantly, " I am proud of you.", they express these feelings through money, properties and yes, jewelries.

In fact, during one of our fights, my husband said something very offensive by using jewelries to emphasize a point. That insult was below the belt and honestly reinforced my suspicions that jewelries are equated to worth. 

So, at this recent ting hun I attended, it became clear to me and the rest of the guests that the bride is much loved and much welcomed by her future in-laws. There were 6 sets of jewelries: diamonds, gold, rubies, sapphires, jade and pearls.  All the pieces were of impressive sizes. 

I, personally, don't like the design but I guess no one cares about that.

My ting hun jewelries were chosen by my husband. He chose them to match my "built" and my fashion sense.  However, I didn't like how the pearl set was designed. When he asked if I liked it or not I said...

" I don't like the pearl set. Pearls are meant to look simple. By putting the pearl in this elaborate setting with diamonds and gold, it doesn't looks that dainty anymore " 

My husband was so insulted. It was just as if I insulted his penis! I apologized profusely. I really didn't know the sensitivities towards jewelries.  

My friend told me that, to complain and to ask for the jewelries to be re-set, is an insult to your in-laws. They will take offense if you say anything negative about what they gave you.

Okay... Sorry po.  I didn't know. If I was asked to curate my own ting hun,  If I would have wanted a crown instead.

(Sotheby's, Boucheron, 1937)

And maybe it would have also been nice to have a scepter to complete the look.

(by Sparkle Sensation) 

I am stopping myself from believing that jewelries define my worth. I think the only way to build immunity  from this idea is to not attend any more ting huns. I should also start teaching the oldies to express their love through hugs and positive words by setting an example. 

Do you think this is wishful thinking???

Thinking while eating scones,


PS> I don't claim credit to any of the pictures.


  1. Hi L!
    Is there some symbolism behind the required number of jewelry sets? How about pearls? Aren't they bad luck? Thanks!
    Loving your blog,

    1. In general, in Chinese, it is preferred to have even numbers. Even numbers are auspicious.
      I assume the 4 sets of jewelries are counted together with the bangle and medallion totaling to 6 sets. 4 is a bad number as it means death. 8 is the best number! It sounds close to fortune thereby implying prosperity.

      In most Chinese-speaking countries it's usually just 24k Chinese gold jewelries..
      . If you visit wedding jewelries in the website of chow sang sang, you will see the usual styled. It's for very practical reasons. The value is aligned with the market. Precious stones are not traded so it's harder to dispose during rainy days.

      So, I also don't know why these sets are preferred over pure gold in a fil-chi tinghun. I have heard of pearls to represent but for some reason, people seem to forget that when it is emblazoned in diamonds.