Treasures from the dongtai road antique market

Treasures from the dongtai antique market
Bracelet bought at dongtai antique market in Shanghai. Restored with 18kt gold plating.
Dongtai antique road market treasures
Before: “antique” jewelry found at dongtai antique market in Shangai

Dongtai road antique market: Where dragons go to bargain

Whether you are a bargain hunter or not, those who visit Shanghai will definitely enjoy the dongtai road antique market in Shanghai. Located in the LuWan district, you’ll find an endless array of bronze statues, jade miniatures, vintage Mao era propaganda posters, old shanghai memorabilia, all of which represent some aspect of Chinese culture, past and present. Are they really antiques? Well, maybe. But who cares? Part of the fun of going to the dongtai road antique market is to practice your Chinese and bargain. Don’t be shy about your negotiating skills, the stall owners expect you to haggle a bit. One can suspect that they secretly they enjoy the process as well. In the end, you get a fair price and everybody has fun. There is a possibility that the market will be torn down in the near future, so be sure to visit this iconic part of Shanghai before it becomes another Starbucks.

Shanghai dongtai lu antique market
Silver plated brass bracelets found at the dongtai antique market in Shanghai

Rescued from the streets of Shanghai

Though the items may not actually originate from the Qin Dynasty, you can still find many treasures to take home as souvenirs marking your trip to China. It is possible to find statues and jewelry pieces of brass and bronze with decent craftsmanship. A vast majority of objects you will find contain a patina to make them look like antiques. This is fine for statues and incense burners, but not for something that you would like to wear. For our staff, objects bought at the dongtai road antique market make excellent re-finishing and re-plating projects. With a little TLC , the average looker would have thought these were bought in a department store. We love dragons, so naturally some of the objects we buy resemble dragons. One very unique bracelet we found was made from brass wire intricately woven to resemble dragon scales, with the clasps resembling the head and tail respectively. When you consider that most costume jewelry bought in stores today is made from pot metal or aluminum, these dragons are a very good find.

dragons from dongtai road antique market
After: Bracelets cleaned and plated with 18kt gold

Resurrecting the dragons

The most important step in re-finishing and re-plating jewelry is to determine what the object is made from. To do so, one has to do a little investigative work. Several clues would be the weight of the object and whether or not it is magnetic. Lead would very heavy while stainless steel would be magnetic. The color of any present corrosion also give clues to the metal and if it has been plated. Zinc has a white color corrosion, while silver would tarnish black. With these bracelets we found one was made from aluminum and thus could not be plated (aluminum objects are anodized). The rest of the bracelets were made from brass or copper plated with silver and given a patina for aged affect. The patina and the plated layer were completely removed along with scratches and dents. They were then polished to mirror finish and plated with our 18kt Medici gold. As China resurrects its entire society and enters its new golden age, clearly a freshly re-plated gold dragon is quite appropriate. Find you treasure and let us help you transform it into something new.



dongtai road antique market dragons
A group of 18kt gold plated dragons from dongtai antique market

Metal Arts Specialties

+1 (248) 821-3450