Every woman in San Francisco should know that Chinatown is the best place in SF to find interesting jewelry at an affordable price. I’ve bought the majority of my really great pieces right on Grant Avenue. Every other window between Bush St and Geary St. is crammed full of the stuff.

Most of it, like all jewelry, is completely hideous and great for a laugh, but whenever I actually take the time to look, I find something amazing. The pieces above are the best ones that I’ve found over the last 6 months and all of them were found in the heart of the tourist shops.

The top left piece is a lavender jade dragon pendant that I bought for 60 dollars. I had looked for months for a carved jade dragon, it being the Year of the Dragon and all, and this is by far the best and most reasonably priced one I found.

When I saw the bunny ring on the top right I said I’d buy everyone they had. They only had two which was fortunate for my wallet but so sad for the rest of the world. It’s one of the best rings I’ve ever seen for any price, anywhere and it was also only $60. The other one I gave as a friendship ring to my closest friend.

The lower left ring is also jade but it looks to be hand carved. I love carved jade and it looks a lot like my dog so I had to have it. The shop owner said it was originally $800 but he’d sell it to me for $200. Obviously I grabbed it out of his hand and shoved my credit card at him. My jeweler, who resized the ring, was surprised I got it so cheap.

The ring on the lower right, I saw in a window as I was walking down Grant St. By far, Chinatown has the best amber jewelry in this city. Huge, chunky, misshapen pieces that look like snot and make me howl with laughter. Again, it only cost me $60.

I was told that some of the jewelry stores on Washington St. between Grant and Stockton have been around for the longest and are where the rich Chinese ladies shop. I hope to photograph what they have to offer in the next few weeks.

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the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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