An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment
Many of the users of this beautiful blog have come to know me a litle bit through my messages and pictures
I may be still young but i love to think that through my travels, collecting and trading, i gained much of the knowledge that helps you to make the difference between a genuine old or antique piece and a faked newly made one aimed to the tourist market
I am writing this thread to seek advice from all of you.
Sometimes i know for sure that some of the jewellery that is highlighted here is fake when it's owner thinks of it as a genuine antique one.
I always hesitate to participate to the discussion to avoid any deception of any kind ( and i was so many time deceived by non honest merchants)
What is your opinion of that? should i avoid adding any info that could lead to deceive a happy collector or should i do it no matter what it does (of course with arguments and reference)
Great question Ayis,
I above all feel that a respectful and informative response is always appropriate.
We are all here to share our experiences, and to learn from one another.
I have been very grateful personally for your well researched and informative posts, and would welcome further information regarding pieces I show, even when this gives a different viewpoint to the one I have presented.
In a market place which contains many misrepresented pieces truth is very important, and education will assist all buyers to make good choices.
I hope that this will remain a warm and friendly place for people to share their collections and knowlege.
Maybe as a first contact regarding such a matters a private message would be appreciated by the owner of the piece.
I will be interested to see the thoughts of other forum members regarding this
i would also like to know if what I have is authentic or a forgery. The only way most of us are going to learn is from being shown what to look for. So please if I put something up that is fake, let me know. Thanks. Becky
I have been collecting researching dealing and teaching all aspects of the world of beads since the mid '70s and have written 3 books on the subject in the '80s and '90s (currently out of print but may be found secondhand) as well as lots of lectures, reviews, articles, etc.
This question interests me because it often cropped up in my former shop long before the days of the internet, -people would bring new treasures found on their travels, or in the antique market etc. to show, (or even to sell) me.
The first consideration is what it means to them.
If its something they love and want to wear this helps me to know how to relate to their question.
It shouldnt matter how old it is if its within a tradition.
Many ethnic things are copied "in the style of" but are not intended by their makers to deceive.
I first try to notice the factors that make something attractive before beginning to criticise.
Some people start collecting before they have begun the research, so its a learning curve, and so long as they havent spent a fortune its part of their accumulating experience.
The next step is to look at the evidence and share it with the owner- such as if the item is stitched with nylon fishing line, or there are plastic buttons, or other components which would not be used on a real old piece.
When a component seems to be out of context you need to be able to cite where you feel it came from or mention a source of reliable information., otherwise its only your opinion.
People can usually be shown the evidence without making them feel stupid.
if someone asks they are already acknowledging that they are prepared to take a risk and might be disappointed.
Within this specialist website my understanding is that anyone posting an image of one of their treasures agrees that they are prepared to hear both positive and negative comments, and all are helpful.
However I have seen quite a few images here which seem to me not necessarily what they are labelled but i hold back from commenting unless i feel it is genuinely wanted and wont be resented.
And my experience is mainly with beads etc. from the last few hundred years, not so much the really ancient, but that era is well-covered by James Lankton's meticulously-researched Timeline book.
(I'll give a link in my next post here.)
Also of course I'm looking after the needs of my 98-yr-old mum these days so have very little spare time for writing comments at the moment.
The most-often-asked-about beads in UK in my experience have always been "Granny's long string of faceted red amber" in which case very often its prudent to say -they are beautifully matched and graded, antique, and probably made from wonderful historic umbrella-handle plastic!
There is no shame in copying something you admire, only in pretending or perhaps hoping its more original than it is and passing it off as fine and rare. Anything is worth what people are prepared to pay for it, -dont be fooled by any stated value -and so its important to be confident and educate yourself about your chosen speciality.
In the forty-plus years I have been collecting and studying beads and jewelry, I have made it my life's work to provide accurate and dependable information about these intriguing artifacts--particularly concerning identification, stylistic and material authenticity, and period of production/use. I am "the Ralph Nadar of the bead world." When my opinion is asked for, I present it as frankly and honestly as possible. But I try to not be unpleasant nor confrontational about these issues. I try to avoid pushing my opinion in anyone's face. I realize that some people are happy to be ignorant of facts, and that they "just like their beads," regardless of what they may be. When a piece is admired, because of its pleasant appearance, its association (time and place of acquisition, as a gift, or whatever), I don't understand why getting practical factual information about it can be regarded as a "buzz-kill." It is still the exact same piece, with the same associations and points that inspired that likability.
In any event, people who do not want the facts should not ask me. My job is to inform those who want information--not to shake-up or distress anyone who is comfortable with the status quo.
Today, I have posted a long message about Amber and Copal in my blog here--for anyone interested.
Be well. Jamey
Yes I would appreciate it when I make a mistake to be corrected, as we are all human everyone can make an honest mistake and clients should not be the victim of it.
I think the best way is to mail someone on personal base before putting it on the forum as maybe people feel under attack or heart if they think an item is antique.
Best wishes, Marie-Ange.