The latest chapter in this story is a most interesting development.
I would like to open up a dicussion for us all to add our awarenesses at this pivotal time in regard to Amber bead trade in North Africa.
My Observations are thus:
For the 12 years I have been trading in North African beads I have at any given time been able to request and see Antique genuine amber beads on offer by the Kilo.
During the last 3 years as a seller I have been inundated with requests from buyers in China to source 10 kilos of Amber for them at a time.
I have not ( for varoius reasons) chosen to supply these clients.
Last year the sources of Amber beads in Morocco were running dry. .......other than an occasional lucky find from a trusted source the chances of finding good fossil amber were slim. ( not Impossible!) but the prices realised for these good finds has raised from 30 - 60 dh per gram to 180 - 480 dh per gran depending on size.
The talk of amber being so expensive and the clamour to buy before it was all gone lasted at a frenzied peak until now.
( Congratualtions to those of you who have some.!!)
So now the market prices are the higest ever seen, and an interesting thing happens in the Marrakech amber trades.
Last month I was in Morocco with a group of Ladies, we were searching for Amber and asking around for connections.
I wasnt too hopeful that we would be in luck. we were shown a large strand in the south, it was 85% fine and 15% faked.. the price was an astounding $65000. the seller explained that they no longer were prepared to sell by weight! The situation had in my view gone completely crazy!!
I encouraged my guest not to consider paying such a crazy amount, and suggested that buying outside Morocco may be a better option.
We did find a great genuine strand later in the trip! I shall try to get permission to add some images of the beads soon!
But the part of the tale which I feel is the most important to record is this.
In Marrakech I was offered, once during the trip in the company of guests and once after the trip , Kilos of Amber beads.
These look the part, and are strung on loops of blue nylon string. ( Not the ususal bead dealer stranding material)
When hanging in a bunch on a wall they make an impressive display....especially when the whole world is thirsty for this amber nectar!!!
As ever I carefully studied the beads..
when I look at a piece of jewellery or a bead I look for the thinks which are wrong... I fi I don't find any then I am delighted!
these are my observations..
I continued to ask about the beads, and they were purchased from a West African bead dealer.
There have been a few batches coming in to an Amber drought, and getting snapped up at around 180dh per gram, by dealers who are constantly looking for stock to supply the worldwide frenzy of demand.
My thoughts on the situation after careful consideration are thus.
I believe that these are recent production .
I believe that there has been a development which allows genuine amber to be somehow powdered or chipped and mixed with a natural resin , then remoulded around a 1 cm mandrel .
I believe that at the point where the market price has peaked and the resources of the real thing are sparce that a fabricated product which is almost good enough to decieve those who are not of the very observational and aware mind that our trade requires has emerged.
This is the first wave of this product, as with the chevrons from China in the last decade I am sure that the product will evolve to appear closer and closer to the real deal!
Amber was always a difficult and specialist area for identification.. Now I believe that we must all be extra cautious..
I shall continue to attempt to buy samples of the bead, I hope to have some waiting for me in a couple of weeks when I return to Morocco. I would at this point welcome the assistance of all of the Amber experts amongst the bead and jewllery world to analyse the product and together to understand this step in bead and Amber production.
Add a Comment