Guangzhou is, and always has, been known for its production and trade abilities, thus always being known as a great shopping city. It has been, for centuries, a place of commerce, and even back in the day, traders and sailors and merchants would swing through Guangzhou to take a look at what was in shop windows. Yeah, Hong Kong has Fendi and Chanel, but Guangzhou has every other wallet, bag, purse, pouch, fanny pack, and passport case imaginable.
Out of every five women I meet here, one will rave nonstop about the jade and pearl markets- mostly for their abundance of goods and bargain-friendly practices. Since the markets are about a 25-minute walk from my house, I decided to have a look myself. Just north of Shangxia Jiu Lu, a hot pedestrian street and shopping destination in it’s own right, the Jade and Pearl markets are located directly across the street from each other. I couldn’t find the entrance to the pearl market (will have to go back another day) but I very easily found the jewelry market. Now, the word “market” is very deceiving. I thought I would be weaving in and out of smelly old alleyways, poking through jewels and gems like vegetables at the farmers market. Instead, as I entered the “market” I saw the photo above- a six story shopping mall behemoth- selling nothing but jewelry. Not only are there six whole floors, but each floor is a deep maze of vendors. Sometimes even two separate vendors sharing one booth, selling every sort of polished rock and silver imaginable. Rocks and silver aren’t really my thing so I didn’t stick around for too long, but next time I’m there I’m going to go in search of some gold.
I then hopped across the street, where the jade market was located. Part indoors and also outdoors, this market held more of the old school alley-dwelling vendors I had imagined. But even so, I couldn’t have pictured the amount of jade they had available. People selling all shapes and sizes of jade, dark jade, light jade, jade bracelets, jade earrings, jade necklaces, jade things that I wouldn’t even know where to put or what to do with. Even on a Tuesday afternoon they were busy- I can’t imagine what it’s like on a Saturday or Sunday.