Cinnabar lacquerware is a very distinctive type. Lacquer can be applied without pigments added, and results in the piece having a translucent finish. With Cinnabar laquerware, a pigment is added to get the deep red color that is called Cinnabar, or China Red.
Once the piece has the desired layers of lacquer, a highly skilled artisan carves the ornate designs into the lacquer that cinnabar lacquerware is noted for. The tools of the artisan must be sharp, and his skills proficient, for the lacquer is very hard. Sometimes layers of different colors of lacquer have been applied, and the artisan has to carve at the required depth to bring out the contrasting colors. While ancient cinnabar consisted of most any type and size of object, modern cinnabar items are usually beads for jewelry, small boxes, plates, trays or other small items.