ancient, antique and vintage treasures from around the world

Old Tribal Silver Treasures from the Middle East – Rita Okrent Collection Travels 2017

Old Tribal Silver Treasures from the Middle East – Rita Okrent Collection Travels 2017

After having spent many hours researching Rita’s collection of old Bedouin,Yemeni and Egyptian silver beads, pendants, jewelry and textiles, I recently had the opportunity to visit some of the places my mother, Rita Okrent, would frequent to acquire the old silver treasures in the Collection. I tried my hand at negotiating with and buying from the Israeli Arab, Bedouin and Palestinian merchants for old silver jewelry in the Flea Market of Old Jaffa (Yafo) and the Old City of Jerusalem shuk (souk).

Shopping in the markets in Israel was a lot of fun and educational. I heard a consistent theme from merchants that they are having a hard time getting old silver now, as it’s just not available – particularly from Egypt – Siwa Oasis and Sinai, and from Yemen and Libya.  The merchants are seeing a lot of treasures coming from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and other central Asian countries, and they are getting some Bedouin items from local Bedouin tribes. Most vendors in the Old City try to sell new silver ethnic replicas to tourists until they understand that a customer knows the difference and can identify it. Prices on old silver started quite high, and when I explained that my prices to our customers were lower than theirs, they argued that I needed to raise my prices! I responded that they needed to lower theirs! The mint tea and Turkish coffee and intensive bargaining were worth the time and effort as I came home with some lovely collector-level items as well as some practical pendants and beads for all our artisan customers who use ethnic silver in designs.

See the photos included with this blog post showing scenes from the souk as well as some of the treasures purchased for the Collection.  I will be listing these newly acquired treasures on the RitaOkrent.com website and in our Etsy shop, RitaOkrentCollection in the coming weeks. If prices seem higher than in previous years, that reflects current prices to acquire these treasures, and yes, I bargained at length for each item!

The merchants were wonderful with my young teenage kids and I, keeping an eye on them as we negotiated, educating the kids on the history of items they found interesting (such as daggers, and a deep ancient well!), and making sure we were safe. I encourage everyone to go to Israel and other countries in the Middle East to visit. It feels like peace when you talk (American politics and ethnic jewelry!) among the people and everyone works to and wants to get along. We shared much laughter and good conversation, and the kids and I appreciated the wonderful hospitality and kindness. I can’t wait to go back for my next visit and shopping trip!

With love and gratitude to our customers and friends for your endless patience and continued business and affection,

Jocelyne Okrent

The Rita Okrent Collection

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Yemeni, Bedouin and Jewish Silversmithing and Craftsmanship – Some Reference Articles

Yemeni, Bedouin and Jewish Silversmithing and Craftsmanship – Some Reference Articles

In researching Rita’s collection of Yemeni and Bedouin silver pendants, beads and textiles from her trips to Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, we found some fascinating reference articles on Yemeni Jewish silversmithing that we wanted to share with our customers! We find this an especially interesting subject given the current preference ofContinue Reading

New Listings from the Rita Okrent Collection

New Listings from the Rita Okrent Collection

African Trade beads, faux amber and fabulous old silver pendants are newly listed at the Rita Okrent Collection! Come visit our New Listings section often to find more newly posted treasures from Rita’s collection! Thanks for shopping with us!             ]        

Ancient Islamic and Roman-Era Glass Beads from the Rita Okrent Collection

Ancient Islamic and Roman-Era Glass Beads from the Rita Okrent Collection

Come visit our Ancient Glass Beads collection to see the many beautiful and magical ancient beads at RitaOkrent.com!  Rita’s collection of Roman Era, Early Islamic and Jatim beads include trailed, combed, folded and eye beads from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Java, Indonesia and all over the Middle East. Rita acquired them over 30 years agoContinue Reading

New Listings for September at RitaOkrent.com

New Listings for September at RitaOkrent.com

Come visit our New Listings section to find more newly posted treasures from Rita’s collection!  

What’s New at RitaOkrent.com

What’s New at RitaOkrent.com

News from the Rita Okrent Collection at RitaOkrent.com – a quick update on the website: Stop by and shop in our NEW Bracelets and Rings section! This section is currently visible by clicking on the link at the menu at the bottom of the page once you’ve clicked on the home page to enter theContinue Reading

Thank You to Our Customers and Friends from the Rita Okrent Collection

Thank You to Our Customers and Friends from the Rita Okrent Collection

A BIG THANK YOU to our very loyal, kind and patient customers from around the world, for your support and continued business these past 2 years. As many long-time customers know, Rita’s husband and my father, David Okrent, passed away in December 2012 after a brief illness. Since then, I have been taking care ofContinue Reading

Rita Okrent Necklaces – A History of Design in Photos from the Rita Okrent Collection – Part 1

Rita Okrent Necklaces – A History of Design in Photos from the Rita Okrent Collection – Part 1

  Join us in celebrating Rita’s design aesthetic and expertise in tribal, ethnic and traditional beads and pendants with some recently found photos of Rita’s one-of-a-kind original design necklaces. Rita designed hundreds of necklaces during her career, a portion of which are still showcased in our Necklace Gallery section at RitaOkrent.com.   Here are just aContinue Reading

More New Listings from the Rita Okrent Collection at RitaOkrent.com

More New Listings from the Rita Okrent Collection at RitaOkrent.com

Come visit our New Items section to find more newly posted treasures from Rita’s collection!        

Silver Zar Amulets from Egypt at the Rita Okrent Collection

Silver Zar Amulets from Egypt at the Rita Okrent Collection

Traditionally, Zar amulets have been used in the Egyptian Zar ceremony to appease “demons” possessed by women. Zar amulets were often worn around the neck, to “appease the wearer’s peace of mind” (van Roode, S., 2010, Desert Silver, ). There are also pear and rectangular amulets, most bearing the Throne Verse or some part ofContinue Reading

Welcome to the blog from the Rita Okrent Collection at RitaOkrent.com!

For our customers, new and returning, thank you for visiting! Come back often to find new posts highlighting ancient, antique and vintage beads and pendants in Rita’s collection, updates to the RitaOkrent.com website, bead culture around the world, and the history and traditions behind the treasures in Rita’s collection. We will also be posting about our customers and their creations, one of our favorite subjects! Let us know if you’d like to contribute an article or show off your creations designed using components from Rita’s collection. We’d love to have you join us!

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