There are two parts to this story. One is the Antiguedades (Mexican jewelry and antiques shop) operated by Juan Jimenez, and Two is the adjoining Museo Belber-Jimenez textile and antique jewelry collection on display that belongs to brother Federico Jimenez and his wife Ellen Belber. Both are located in the same colonial casa at the corner of Matamoros #307 at the corner of Tinoco y Palacios, Centro Historico, Oaxaca.
We went there to oggle the extraordinary jewelry collection which includes great representative samples from the most famous Mexican silversmiths, including Fred Davis, William Spratling, Mathilde Poulat and others. If you love Mexican silver, amethyst, turquoise, coral and other gemstones, this is where you can see the originals all in one place. Plus there’s lots of early colonial Oaxaca gold filigree, sand cast Yalalag silver crosses, and examples of the finest work that is no longer being made.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without going into the shop to look at the recreations in the style of Frida Kahlo — those big dangling, music-making earrings that jingle and jangle when you move. Hollie models one of Juan’s designs.
Recently, Dave Emerson wrote about his visit to the museum on his blog Oaxaca Chapulines and gives a bit of history.
Today, store offerings included 1930’s Saltillo tapestries, wonderful old textiles, clay and wood sculpted figurines, masks, reliquaries, tissue paper collages by Rudolfo Morales, a Rufino Tamayo lithograph, colonial furniture, and other objects d’arte.
Proprietor Juan Jimenez is a patient host and offers lots of interesting tidbits about the history of the collection and what he has in the store. You can feel comfortable looking to your heart’s content and not feel any obligation to make a purchase.
We also spent some time in the textile section of the museum. Here are some photos of some exquisite older trajes (costumes) from villages throughout the state of Oaxaca.
These are woven on back-strap looms with the design integrated into the weft during the weaving process, or they may be intricately embroidered. Many of the complex designs are no longer created, which makes this collection even more important. Preservation of the textile tradition of Oaxaca is essential and it is nice to see this small permanent exhibition on display.
or contact by telephone (951) 514-4996, cellular (044) 951-165-1517. The museum closes daily between 2:00-4:00 p.m. for lunch. Call ahead to be certain of hours.