Importradores Quetzal (Quetzal Importers, in English) is an importer and distributor of a wider variety of South American and African artifacts. It is also a major source of southwestern Indian especially Hopi and Navajo authentic jewelry and pottery. Although the firm’s headquarters is located in Phoenix, Arizona, there are currently branch offices in Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston.
Quetzal (named after the national bird of Guatemala) originated as a trading post operation near Tucson, Arizona, in the early 1900s. Though a series of judicious decisions, the firm established itself as one of the more reputable dealers in authentic southwestern jewelry and pottery. Over the years, Quetzal gradually expanded its product line to include pre-Columbian artifacts from Peru and Venezuela and tribal and burial artifacts from Africa. Through its careful verification of the authenticity of those South American and African artifacts, Quetzal developed a national reputation as one of the most respected importers of these typed of artifacts.
In the late 1980s Quetzal further expanded its product line to include items that were replicas of authentic artifacts. For example, African fertility gods and masks were made by craftspeople who took great pains to produce these items so that only the truly knowledgeable buyer a collector would know that they were replicas. Quetzal now has native craftspeople in Central America, South America, Africa, and the southwestern United States who provide these items. Replicas account for only a small portion of total Quetzal sales; the company agreed to enter this business only at prodding of the firm’s clients, who desired an expanded line. The replicas have found most favor among gift buyers and individuals looking for novelty items.
Quetzal’s gross sales are about $12 million and have increased at a constant rate of 20 percent per year over the last decade, despite a recession and little price inflation. Myron...