Native American jewelry is known for its timeless charm and appeal. Every Native American jewelry piece tells a unique story and showcases the artist’s signature style.
Turquoise is one of the most commonly used stones in different types of Native American jewelry, such as Native American earrings, pendants, and rings. Native Americans believe that turquoise brings strength and vitality to wearers. It also plays an important role in several Native American myths. It’s no wonder the stone has been a mainstay of Native American jewelry for centuries.
Turquoise comes in different shades of blue and green, and its varying color palette makes it appealing. Some popular turquoise types include Boulder Turquoise, Birdseye Turquoise, and Spiderweb Turquoise.
Not all turquoise Native American jewelry is created equal. Unfortunately, the market is saturated with fake turquoise jewelry marketed as authentic Native American jewelry. These cheap knockoffs of authentic jewelry may look identical to real Native American jewelry, but don’t compare when it comes to craftsmanship, beauty, and quality.
Here are some tips to determine if a Native American jewelry piece is authentic.
Consider the Price
Creating authentic Native American jewelry requires specialized skills, knowledge, precision, and effort. Authentic jewelry is handmade, while imitation turquoise Native American jewelry is mass produced in a factory.
Inauthentic Native American jewelry also utilizes substandard materials and hence, costs much less than authentic jewelry. If a trader charges an unrealistically low price for a turquoise Native American jewelry piece they claim to be authentic, it is best to walk away.
Check the Terminology Used
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act, 1990 prohibits manufacturers from using labels that read “American” and “Indian” on imitation Native American jewelry. These labels can only be used on pieces produced by federally recognized tribes and nations. Watch out for products with labels that read “American-Indian styles” or “American-Indian inspired.” Such products are not authentic.
Look for the Artist’s Signature
Many Native American artists stamp their jewelry with their signature or a unique hallmark. When buying Native American jewelry, look for the artist’s signature or hallmark. Remember, not all artists hallmark or sign their jewelry. If you do not find the artist’s signature or hallmark on a piece, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is fake.
Check Stone Quality
Turquoise is often altered to change its hardness and color, and manufacturers use several methods to alter turquoise. Some dye or stabilize it, while others grind it up and reconstitute it.
Jewelry manufacturers can use altered turquoise so long as they don’t make misleading claims. They must use labels to communicate that the stone was altered and is not natural.
When buying Native American jewelry, check the physical characteristics of turquoise. Natural turquoise is usually small in size and has a hard texture. It has vein-like marks called matrix.
Palms Trading Company is your source for authentic turquoise jewelry, such as Native American earrings. We carry exquisitely crafted pieces by some of the most well-known Native American artists. To learn more, call 505-247-8504.