Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jewelry Made From Vintage Mah Jongg Tiles

Where Have All The Mah Jongg Tiles Gone?

Did you notice how all the Mah Jongg sets and tiles are disappearing? While there has been a renewed interest in this ancient game which was brought back to America in the 1920s, that is not why the "Dots", "Bams", "Cracks", "Soaps" are in demand.

The answer may be that artists and crafters have discovered that these wonderful tiles make great jewelry and mixed media objects. Photos courtesy of Burlington Inn Antiques, Burlington, Connecticut.

You will find Mah Jongg earrings, bracelets necklaces, eye glass holders and so much more made from original vintage Mah Jongg tiles. While there is plenty of Mah Jongg jewelry designed out of older tiles (made of Bakelite, Catalin, Pyralin, Bone, Ivory, Bamboo and Boxwood)...there is also plenty of newly made pieces. Be sure the price represents the true value. Rarer tiles are valued higher.

Of note.... many gals who still play the game of Mah Jongg also may look for tiles to complete their game sets.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Authors Guild, Inc.


  1. I just purchased a bag full of the butterscotch colored tiles, and I hope to make some swell jewelry with them. What a coincidence that I would read your blog post today!

  2. One word of caution, though. Mah Jongg tile makers couldn't keep up with the demand, during the 30s - 50s with the traditional local woods, so they turned to whatever light colored wood they could find. They found cashew trees (where the nuts come form) a great substitute. However, cashew is somehow related to poison ivy and oak, and contains a small bit of the same oil compounds that cause itching in sensitive people. Wearing a bracelet made of cashew can cause the same kind of rash as poison ivy in VERY sensitive people. Best to wear bakelite or plastic. Deb J

  3. Ms. Zweig, Can you recommend any vendors of mahjongg jewelry in the L.A. area? I am planning a MJ tournament for August at the Skirball and am planning on having boutique vendors set up in the foyer so my attendees have something to do when they're not playing. I would LOVE to have a vendor who has mahjongg stuff for sale; how cool would that be? Would be grateful for any recommendations you may have. Thank you!