An Intriguing Gemstone Museum in Taiwan

The world's widest gemstone coral tree at the  Chii Lih Museum in northern Taiwan. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)
The world's widest gemstone coral tree at the Chii Lih Museum in northern Taiwan. (Image: Juliet Fu/ Vision Times)

Consisting of the Chii Lih Museum-Yilan (宜蘭綺麗觀光工廠) and the Chii Lih Museum-Taitung (台東綺麗珊瑚博物館), the Chii Lih Museum  (綺麗博物館) is one of the most intriguing museums in the world. Located at Yilan County in northern Taiwan, the Chii Lih Museum-Yilan is a complex that covers an area of 13.6 acres (5.5 hectares), while the Chii Lih Museum-Taitung is situated at Taitung County in Eastern Taiwan, with an area of 1.6 acres (0.7 hectares).

The petrified wood (36 meters long) is one of the longest collections of its kind in the world. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The petrified wood (36 meters long) is one of the longest of its kind in the world. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Please watch the video of one of the most intriguing gemstone museums in the world at:

Launched in June 2017, the Museum in Yilan is the largest tourism factory in Taiwan. It features awesome artifacts made of jade (碧玉), blue chalcedony (藍寶), and gemstone coral (寶石珊瑚), which are usually referred to as Taiwan’s three precious gems (臺灣寶石中的三寶).

There are also rich collections of precious gemstone works designed by various internationally-known artists, such as Japanese creative coral artist Maekawa Taizan, Italian Mediterranean coral artist Aldo Paolillo, French haute couture jewelry artist Khieng, Taiwanese fine jade carving artist Xie Jing-Lin, etc.

The red gemstone coral displayed in Chii Lih Museum (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The red gemstone coral products displayed in the Chii Lih Museum. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

There is also a wide variety of other fine artifacts on display, such as jade Buddhist statues and carvings, petrified wood (木化石, literally wood turned into stone), as well as amethyst (紫水晶) and other semiprecious stones.

There are a wide variety of jade Buddhist statues and carvings on display at Chii Lih Museum. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

There is a wide variety of jade Buddhist statues and carvings on display at the Chii Lih Museum. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

One of the most striking objects on display is a massive length of petrified wood, which is 118 feet (36 meters) long, and 14 tons in weight. It is one of the longest collections of petrified wood in the world. Another highlight of the Museum is the world’s widest gemstone coral tree, which is 5.4 feet (165 centimeters) wide and 3.1 feet (95 centimeters) high.

This gemstone coral tree was harvested 200 meters below the Pacific Ocean outside northeastern Taiwan. It is regarded as one of the most precious treasures in the museum.

A jade carving displayed at Chii Lih Museum Yilan (Image: Billy Shyu)

A jade carving displayed at the Chii Lih Museum-Yilan. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The on-site gemstone factory allows visitors to gain an insight into the manufacturing process of gemstone products in a close-up experience. The museum also conducts DIY jewelry design classes by experienced jewelry designers to teach visitors how to design their own jewelry accessories.

A jade carving displayed at Chii Lih Museum Yilan (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

A jade carving displayed at the Chii Lih Museum-Yilan. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

Boasting the world’s largest coral museum, the Chii Lih Museum-Taitung was established in 2013, with an aim to helping more people know more about gemstone coral and boost tourism in the eastern county.

Established in 2013 , Chii Lih Museum-Taitung is the world’s largest coral museum. (Image: Courtesy of Chii Lih Museum-Taitung )

Established in 2013 , the Chii Lih Museum-Taitung is the world’s largest coral museum. (Image: Courtesy of Chii Lih Museum-Taitung)

The gift and souvenir area of Chii Lih Museum Yilan (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The gift and souvenir area of the Chii Lih Museum-Yilan. (Image: Billy Shyu/ Vision Times)

The museum displays different seascapes with a variety of coral gemstones and exhibits many works created by internationally renowned masters. Among them is the world’s largest red coral. It was harvested in 1985 from Taiwan’s offshore waters and then purchased by a Japanese buyer.

It eventually returned to Taiwan 20 years later, and is the iconic item of the museum.

Red Coral Jewelry collected by Chii Lih Museum (Image: Courtesy of Chii Lih Museum)

Red coral jewelry found in the Chii Lih Museum collection. (Image: Courtesy of Chii Lih Museum Yilan)

Gemstone coral grows in the sea at a depth of 330 feet (100 meters), with a slow growth rate of 1 cm every 10 years. Gemstone coral is also the only type of gem that cannot be reproduced by humans.

Red Coral Jewelry collected by Chii Lih Museum (Image: Courtesy of Chii Lih Museum)

Red coral jewelry found in the Chii Lih Museum collection. (Image: Courtesy of Chii Lih Museum Yilan)

In Asia, precious coral used for jewelry can most notably be found in the Pacific Ocean near Taiwan. As the coral extracted from Taiwan accounts for 80 percent of the world’s production, Taiwan has been globally recognized as the coral gemstone kingdom.

Like this article? Subscribe to our weekly email for more! 

Bryce Canyon, Utah: A Forest of Stone
Why Tea Leaves for the Dead Can Bring Good Fortune