Dragons are significant in nearly every Asian culture. So, it’s no wonder they’re depicted in so many of the beautiful jade carvings as well as wood, silver and mammoth ivory carvings I have collected and incorporated into jewelry over the years.


Chinese and Japanese artists both created some of the most stunning jade dragon carvings you’ll ever see. Some are centuries old and some are brand new. The dragon has remained a constant in Asian cultures.


Wondering what’s so special about dragons?


Dragons are powerful

Regardless of when or where the carvings were created, dragons are always portrayed as powerful creatures.


Chinese culture depicts the dragon as the rain god and the ruler of the heavens. Other cultures recognize the dragon as the ruler of all animals.


The dragon’s irrefutable power made it an obvious symbol for Chinese emperors and today the dragon remains a royal symbol. Today, dragons are also used to refer to economic strength. Japan and China are known as the big ancient dragon economies with emerging Asian economies depicted as little dragons.


Dragons are good

Modern and Western interpretations of dragons are often dangerous, angry monsters of the sky. But the traditional Asian dragon is a beneficent creature. It’s a protector and a sign of good luck.


Dragons are not indiscriminate tools of terror that need taming, slaying or capture in Asian culture. They are strong, bold, fearless forces of good.


Dragon lore

Dragons are often pictured in pairs. Sometimes they fight to hide or reveal the sun, a battle between gods of the sky. The Japanese believed you could never see the full body of a dragon or you would perish.


Dragon carvings and Carol Barrett Jewelry

In my travels through Asia, I have found amazing dragon carvings. Some are clearly antiques and other could have been carved anytime in the last 200 years.


But one thing is certain: dragons are special. When an artist took on the task of carving one, it was done with admiration, respect and care. Some of the finest jade pieces I have found include dragons, such as this stunning rare blue jade double dragon.


While I have found plenty of high-quality jade carvings that depict other animals, dragons are almost always carved into some of the best pieces.


Finding these gorgeous carvings has always thrilled me. I work hard to honor these artists, the quality of the materials and the honor of the dragon in my jewelry.