My husband and I spent 5 weeks in Mexico last fall. We rented a small house, in the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca, for 4 of those weeks. I could talk for hours about our experiences there, but for today, I'd like to share our visit to the Belber Jimenez Museum.
Belber Jimenez Museum
This museum has an extensive collection of Mexican jewelry from pre-Colombian times through the early 20th century. The museum is based on the jewelry and craft collection of an internationally known Oaxacan jeweler, Belbar Jimenez; who now resides in the United States.
Unfortunately for me, all of the signage was in Spanish. My Spanish ability is pretty sketchy, but I will do my best to share the bits I understood.
The first pieces of jewelry I will share, were found in the nearby archaeological ruins of Monte Alban. My husband and I visited this amazing site. Its sheer size is almost unfathomable. Archaeologists are still at work in Monte Alban and they continue to excavate temples and other ceremonial buildings.
Beautiful jewelry was discovered at Monte Alban and it is treasured both for its artistry, as well as its value as a cultural heritage. (A bit of a disclaimer here: All the jewelry was behind glass and the lighting was often quite dim. Therefore picture quality is poorer than I wish it were.)
Monte Alban jewelry
The picture below is of Monte Alban reproduction jewelry, (from a different museum). Monte Alban jewelry has such cultural value that not just anyone is authorized to reproduce it. You have to get a government license to do so and only the very finest jewelers will qualify.
Here is a YouTube video showing the work of some jewelers creating Monte Alban reproductions.
Moving onward to the colonial period, the Spanish introduced filigree jewelry, which they, in turn, learned from Byzantine goldsmiths' work.
There was also a nice collection of jewelry from the early 1900's through the 1920's. Apparently there was quite a renaissance in Mexican jewelry during that time. I believe that the next two pieces are from the early 1900's, but I am not certain.
This necklace was created in the 1920's, but the motif is based on an ancient Zapotec fishing story.
I can't remember the date for this next necklace. It looks to me like something from the 40's or 50's maybe.
Linda Landig Jewelry