I came across the extraordinary Sarah Corbett whilst researching types of ethnic jewels on the internet. One cannot but fail to come across her Ethnic Jewel ning site in the course of this type of research. Questions about amber, about North African silver work and talismans often brought me back to this site. It is a fascinating research tool, not only because some of the ‘names’ of the ethnic jewellery world -writers and dealers- are there discussing beautiful and rare objects, showing off their purchases and debating the finer points of elements and rarity but because the site is so friendly and welcoming to those wanting to ask what might seem the simplest or even the most ignorant of questions. I felt so welcomed there as I started to build my business and knowledge and was immensely grateful for a resource like this. http://ethnicjewels.ning.com/
Sarah does not guard her knowledge secretly, she wants to share her world and bring others in. She has a love and appreciation for beautiful and historic craft - particularly for Morocco.
It was Sarah’s knowledge of the antique and vintage jewels of Morocco that I was particularly impressed by. Sarah has dealt in and studied Moroccan/Berber jewellery for over 10 years now and can almost pinpoint the exact village that pieces come from, she understands the types of beads used for enamel work in different periods and can tell by the colour and patina whether pieces are genuinely antique or modern. She is certainly the major expert in this country of Berber jewellery and ornament.
I eventually met up with her over Christmas 2014, spending a couple of days with her at her Norfolk home.
I could not stop asking her question after question about jewellery and related issues which she was always happy to answer. What a contrast to those dealers who keep information close to their chest. I think there was hardly a gap in our conversations. I felt I had truly met a fellow traveller. I left feeling a mixture of being elated and overwhelmed at how lucky I was to be her guest as well as the amount I still need to learn.
I cannot wait to take tea with her in her Henna Café in Marrakesh and to keep learning more about the jewels of Morocco.