Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

Issue link: https://ornamentmagazine.epubxp.com/i/250750

Contents of this Issue


Page 72 of 84

communities Robert K. Liu Tucson Marketplace ancient and ethnographic W 70 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 hile we frequently covered the Tucson shows in the past, in recent years we have been absent. This article is my re-entry into those of the thirty-eight shows which carry ancient and ethnographic jewelry, which run from the end of January into February each year. The majority of the events are oriented towards gems and minerals; since the show guides do not have comprehensive category listings, visitors need to research which shows have vendors of ancient or ethnic wares. Reading Floor Kasper's (2012) Tucson guide is a pleasant and informative way to learn about the shows in general; carefully prepare before going, choose those shows that you want to visit and keep to a budget. We went only to the Grant Inn (GIGM), the Gem Mall (GM) and African Art Village due to time constraints. The first two shows have many vendors of interest, while all from the last show carry ethnographica. It is not possible to visit all the shows, even if one had the time or money. There are other venues with a few vendors of ancient or ethnic jewelry, like the Sumareh brothers with African beads at the To Bead True Blue shows, but the number of such vendors has decreased compared to the past. The recent and ongoing domestic and international economic recessions, the rise of internet commerce and the aging of collector populations have all impacted this market. Ancient ornaments are mostly of Middle Eastern or east Asian origins, and ethnographic beads or jewelry are from these same regions in addition to Africa. The Grant Inn and the Gem Mall offer excellent sources of ancient and ethnic ornaments from established dealers, like Ancient Beads and Artefacts, Silk Road Treasures, Shamballa, Joe Loux, Kamol, Philip Mertens, and Coup de Foundre, as well as those listed in the photographs. Some dealers of African art are at the Gem Mall while those at the African Art Village are almost entirely African, except a few like Stephen Cohn of Bwanacon, who also carries Central American wares. Asians, including Chinese, Taiwanese, east Indians, and others from the Indian subcontinent are among the majority of vendors at Tucson. Now, Asians are also the leading buyers of ethnographic and ancient material. Termed backflow fervor by Chinese bead books author Zhu Xiao Li, it is the buying back of artifacts sold to the West during the 1970s to the late 1990s, possibly the early 2000s. Personal observation, talking with dealers, collectors and recent auction prices in China support this. Prices of dZi, pumtek and Tibetan coral and amber have skyrocketed. A longtime collector of Iranian glass beads reports the exporting of such ornaments to China, Thailand and Japan, as well as Chinese coming to Iran to buy antiquities. Pam Najdowski of Textile Treasures knows of a number of Chinese setting up private museums, which had occurred decades earlier in countries like Japan and South Korea. This trend reflects the growing affluence in east Asia, and their desire to acquire collectibles or their own cultural artifacts that are believed to have lasting economic, aesthetic or religious values. SUGGESTED READING Kaspers, F. 2012 Beads from Tucson. Where the world meets for beads, stones and jewelry. Blurb, Marblings Publishing: 113 p. PATRICK R. BENESH-LIU, BASSEM ELIAS, ROBERT K. LIU, THOMAS STRICKER, AND JOYCE HOLLAWAY at Ancient Beads and Artefacts booth, the Ballroom, GIGM Show, Tucson. With only two other exhibitors (Silk Road Treasures and Bill Boss, formerly Tika), these vendors had the largest selection of ancient beads and ornaments at Tucson. Bassem Elias, Hassan Jan Khan and Thomas Stricker have formed the Ethnographic Group, to promote and sell ethnographic and ancient ornaments/artifacts. Photograph by Silk Road Treasures. MUSA, AFRICAN VILLAGE; he is from Gambia but lives in Ghana and Los Angeles. He has clients for collectible beads, such as bodoms, which sell for five hundred to eight hundred dollars. While he imports beads, Musa also exports watches and T-shirts to Africa. Photographs by Patrick R. Benesh-Liu, Robert K. Liu.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Ornament Magazine - VOL37.1 2014