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How to Spot Fake Native Jewelry From Observation
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How to Spot Fake Native Jewelry and Why It Matters

Note: Website items are NOT available for in-store viewing, in-store purchase, or layaway. Website items MUST be purchased online, for inventory control purposes. In-store pick up option is available at check out.

Your piece of Native American jewelry is a prized possession with an extensive background of genuine history and quality craftsmanship–unless it’s fake, that is. The beauty of Southwest jewelry means that there are bound to be people wanting to mimic its exquisite designs and luster.

At Palms Trading Company, we offer the largest selection of authentic Native American jewelry, pottery, rugs, and other crafts. We have over 133 years of combined experience, meaning we know how to tell what’s genuine craftsmanship versus what’s fake. Our distinguished eye for detail and hand-crafted jewelry is unmatched.

Let’s explore how you can spot fake Native American jewelry and why it’s important to purchase authentic jewelry from Native American artisans.

The Power of Observation When Purchasing Native Jewelry for Sale

Imagine this–you’ve found a beautiful squash blossom necklace that’s advertised as ‘Native American jewelry,’ but you’re unsure if it’s authentic. While the Native American jewelry store owner assures you it’s real, you can’t help but feel powerless because you don’t know much about Native American jewelry pieces.

It may especially make you feel unsure because, particularly in the last 20 years, the spread of popularity and advancements in machine technology has created a flood of imitation jewelry. Such pieces are often made overseas and can look strikingly close to the real thing.

With a surge in imitation pieces flooding the market, it’s essential to know how to distinguish genuine Native American jewelry pieces from the impostors.

There are a few things you can look at to verify authenticity that you can find from observation alone. Let’s explore what should stick out to you when identifying real Native American jewelry pieces. 

Look at the Appearance

When examining a piece of supposed Native American jewelry, pay special attention to its appearance.

Authentic Native American jewelry is often handmade and exhibits the artist’s unique touch. Look for irregularities and imperfections that are indicative of hand craftsmanship.

Machine-made jewelry tends to be perfectly symmetrical, with uniform semi-precious stones and clear, unwavering lines. These beautiful jewelry pieces can feel industrial and are mass-produced for sale, making them unremarkable even if they’re pleasing to the eye.

Additionally, check the inside of the jewelry for any clear and even stamped designs, as these may be telltale signs of machine stamping.

Both Native American and non-Native American artists often leave hallmarks on their creations. Native American hallmarks often contain the artist’s initials or a symbol, providing valuable information about the piece’s origin, time period, materials, and authenticity.

Focus on the Materials

In the United States, the law mandates that pieces made from precious metals weighing more than 2 grams be marked as sterling silver. Sterling silver is the industry standard for quality silver used in jewelry making.  

While older or vintage pieces may lack this stamp, most contemporary jewelry will bear the sterling silver mark. Be cautious of items marketed as “German silver” or “Mexican silver” as they often contain little to no real silver metal.

The sterling silver mark is typically 925, which indicates its purity is above 92.5 percent or higher.

Think About the Price Tag

The reality is that genuine, handmade, and authentic Native American jewelry is often on the pricier side.

Mass-produced, mechanically manufactured jewelry may appear more affordable, but it doesn’t offer the same quality or history as the real thing. Mass-produced jewelry containing the label ‘silver’ is often much cheaper because it’s not actually verified sterling silver.

All this being said, if the price seems too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. If you want to add a piece of beloved jewelry to your Native jewelry gallery, be prepared to pay a fair price for the effort that went into it.

Ask About the Tribal Connection

Authentic Native American jewelry has a story to tell. When you acquire a genuine piece, the Native American artist or dealer often shares its history and cultural context.

The next time you’re searching for “Native American” jewelry for sale, delve deeper and find out the Native artist’s tribal affiliation and the piece’s origin.

Authentic jewelry often comes with a rich narrative, reflecting the heritage and traditions of its creator. If you observe that the owner of the piece expresses vague or evasive responses, it’s a clear sign that the piece may not be authentic.

Pay Attention to How Pieces Are Labeled

Understanding how pieces are labeled is essential to distinguishing authentic works from imitations. A key aspect to consider is the Native American Arts and Crafts Act, a law that strictly regulates the marketing of goods as Native American-made. 

Authentic pieces must be created by members of federally or state-recognized tribes. Often, imitation pieces use phrases like “Native inspired” to suggest authenticity without breaching the law. These items, while potentially capturing the aesthetic, are not genuine Native American crafts. 

Pay close attention to labels and certifications to ensure the authenticity of your purchase. This knowledge protects not only your investment but also supports genuine Native American artists and their heritage.

Why Authenticity Matters for Native American Jewelry

Purchasing authentic Native American jewelry is not just about acquiring a beautiful piece–it’s about respecting the traditions, culture, and masterful techniques of Native American tribes. 

Authentic pieces represent a connection to the past, a testament to the skill and creativity of the artist, and a celebration of the rich heritage that underpins each creation. From the complex overlay techniques of the Hopi tribe to delicate shell-beaded crafts from the Santo Domingo people, each tribe has its own traditional techniques in which they specialize. 

Each time you buy a genuine piece of jewelry, you help to support the economy of the indigenous communities and the welfare of your local, contemporary artists.

At Palms Trading Company, we understand the significance of authenticity in Native American jewelry. That’s why we buy our products directly from local artisans at fair prices.

So whether you’re looking for real Navajo turquoise necklaces or intricate Zuni rings, you can rest assured that all your pieces are authentic when you buy from our vast collection of high-quality Native American jewelry.

Authenticity Is Guaranteed When You Buy From the Best Native American Jewelry Store

At Palms Trading Company, we highly value our relationships with local artisans and understand the amount of effort and skill that goes into creating these art forms. We want these wonderful handmade jewelry pieces to go to someone who values and appreciates Native American culture and craftsmanship.

So, let us guide you through the world of authentic Native American art and jewelry. Explore the vast selection of Native American jewelry we have to offer and become a part of this rich cultural tradition. If you need help choosing, our personal shopper service can help you pick the perfect piece for any occasion.

Browse our extensive collection of authentic and beautiful Native American jewelry today!