Betrothal jewellery 龙凤琢/四点金
It is common practice for the bride’s parents to request for betrothal jewellery as part of the betrothal gifts from the groom’s parent to the bride. It is considered the mother-in-law’s welcome gift to the bride.
Even without the bride’s parents' request, it is expected of the gracious mother-in-law to provide the appropriate gift based on the bride’s dialect group.
The bride is expected to wear the betrothal jewellery during the wedding day or at the wedding banquet so that all the relatives have opportunities to appreciate the gift.
So what is appropriate betrothal jewellery?
For cantonese, it is common to include a pair of gold bangle called dragon and phoenix bangles 龙凤琢.
For teochew, four items of gold called 四点金 is preferred. Ok, I know what you are thinking of, a pair of earrings is considered one item only. A pendant and a necklace are considered two items since it is common to wear a necklace without any pendant.
Giving four items of gold makes quite a complete set of jewellery, since it typically comprises of a pair of earrings, necklace, bangle or bracelet and a pendant or ring.
Some mother-in-laws prefer to give four items of diamond 四点钻 as betrothal jewellery to show their relatives that they appreciate their new daughter-in-laws more than gold!
Everybody wants 四点金
Nowadays with so much cross marriages between the dialect groups and sharing of each others cultures, even non-teochews are requesting for or giving the four items of gold 四点金 as betrothal jewellery to their daughter-in-law.
四点金, also a bride's dowry
Some mothers also give their daughters complete set of jewellery comprising four items of gold as part of the brides’ dowry when they get married. In fact, it is not uncommon for one of the bride’s “sister” to ensure that the groom’s parents are aware of what riches the bride is bringing into their family.
四点金, betrothal jewellery or architectural style?
There is also a teochew style of housing in China called 四点金 which are only build by those who are considered rich.
I guess the teochew’s betrothal jewellery of four items of gold 四点金 shares the same purpose as the architectural style; a bit of flaunting involved! I am teochew and my teochew grandauntie ever commented to me that it is typical of teochews to flaunt their wealth. :-p