Vintage Chinese Jewelry from Hong Kong


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Harry Lee

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Harry Lee


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
See reviews that mention:
  • Jian on Aug 24, 2022

    5 out of 5 stars

    A wonderful pendant, very beautiful craftsmanship, I had frequent contact with the seller, who was always there to first advise me as best as possible, and with whom, in my experience, we can only be completely satisfied. , very fast delivery I recommend this seller without reservation he is very serious and it will be with pleasure that I will contact you again in the future

  • Jie Bin on Jul 3, 2021

    5 out of 5 stars

    It feels old school and quality, natural jade, well made.

  • Linda on May 2, 2021

    5 out of 5 stars

    It’s perfect! Jewelry associate was very helpful & had great communication. He was able to send me actual photos of other sizes, & I ordered the Medium size one. It’s real gold & jade. It is not dyed (meaning the colour is naturally made from a jade, & not from glass & then dyed). Pendant does not come with a chain so keep that in mind. I look forward to ordering more from HarryLee Co. Thank you again for your help! :)

  • GREG on Jan 5, 2020

    5 out of 5 stars

    My family has been doing business with Harry Lee Co for many years. Always amazed on the quality and great value of their jewelry. Very easy to deal with. Great customer service and honest. Thank you!

  • Laura on Feb 4, 2019

    5 out of 5 stars

    Received item very fast, very happy with my purchase. Looks exactly like the picture. Would very highly recommend.

About HarryLeeCo

Sales 37
On Etsy since 2018

A Tale of Two Brothers

Harry Lee & Company was founded in 1948 by two brothers, Harry and David Lee. Born and raised in Swatow, a village in the southeastern Chinese province of Guangdong, the brothers spent their formative years under Japanese occupation and later Communist rule. Like many others from rural mainland China at the time, however, they sought an opportunity at a better life in what was then the British colony of Hong Kong.

Shortly after the end of World War II, when he was in his late teens, Harry obtained a permit to emigrate to Hong Kong. He arrived with little money and worked whatever jobs he could find. After a year or so, he serendipitously met an older businessman who also had the surname Lee and was also from Swatow (and, might we add, would later become Harry's father-in-law). Being from the same village and all, the elder Mr Lee felt obligated to take Harry under his wing, and thus helped him start a small business selling supplies to the trading ships that docked at Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong.

Mr Lee had wonderful stories of his own, which we can only touch on a little here. It turns out that not only was he a successful businessman, he was also an altruistic Christian who helped many refugees fleeing from Communist China to start their new lives in Hong Kong, and regularly housed many of them in his own home. As Harry's children later recall, when they visited their grandfather's home for Chinese New Year, they noticed that many other people also came to offer gifts and pay respects to their grandfather — an odd fact since it is tradition to spend time at one's parent's home on the New Year. This was one of many testaments to the veneration people had for Mr Lee.

Meanwhile, David was not as fortunate in his attempts to join his brother in Hong Kong, as the Communist Party cracked down on people leaving mainland China. Thus David resorted to leaving the mainland illegally, a journey that culminated in his swimming across Victoria Harbor to Hong Kong in the dead of winter. Even when he reached the shores of Hong Kong, he was arrested by the police and detained for two nights. It was only until Harry came and posted bail for David that the brothers were finally reunited after almost two years.

From there, they had little capital but all the freedom in the world to build up their new lives. David joined his brother in selling supplies to sailors; at times the duo even joined some of the sailors on months-long trips. The work was dangerous and laborious, but slowly they saved enough money to buy a small shop and start a business of their own in 1948, named Harry Lee & Company. They started as a tailor shop, but later expanded into jewelry as well. And in 1964, the brothers, with the help of Harry's newly father-in-law Mr Lee, purchased a larger storefront right across the street, which remains to this day the location of Harry Lee & Company.

Over the decades, this little shop was enough to provide a comfortable life for the brothers and their family back in Swatow, and even send Harry's children to universities in the United States. Although Harry passed away in 2003, the Company still lives on in the busy fashion district of Kowloon as one of the last remnants of an old era of Hong Kong. The small, family-run storefronts of that era have largely given way to such multinational brands as Tiffany, Chanel, et al. Yet, perhaps as an homage to that era, or to the memory of his brother, David has kept going to work every single day, even to this day at the age of 79.

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Last updated on Oct 13, 2018


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