Chinese Export Cinnabar Tallow Leaf Design Dress Clip from the 1930's. Chinese art, literature and design is strongly based on symbolism. The image of a leaf is in general symbolic of fertility and growth. They are also symbols of the Mythic World-Tree of Chinese mythology or the Cosmic Tree representing all of the beings of the universe. This leaf, I believe, represents the tallow leaf in the symbolism of the continuous journey of life. Golden orange as this is would possibly represent the journey into the autumn or maturity of life whereas a green leaf would represent the newness of the journey.
Cinnabar is a wonderfully warm appearing material and this dress clip is just that. The cinnabar is mounted in silver and is surrounded on the front by silver filigree and delicate silver wire. It is marked CHINA on the reverse. It is not marked other than the country of origin and I have not tested the metal content but I believe it to be a Chinese grade, or medium grade, of sterling or coin silver.
Almost 3" long, actually 2 3/4" and is almost 2 1/2" wide. The dress clip spring is tight. I used to wear this clip on the pocket or lapel of a suit or coat and I enjoyed it very much. I have moved to Arizona and I don't even own a suit anymore!! Good vintage condition with only light flea bites on some parts of the cinnabar, as shown in my pictures, commensurate with age and wear.