The popularity of Native American jewelry has sky-rocketed over the last few years, and it is highly sought after by collectors and fashion enthusiasts.
Native American jewelry is famed for its intricate design and exquisite patterns. It is created using time-honored traditions and techniques. Crafting Native American jewelry requires skill, patience, concentration, and originality. The intricate jewelry patterns illustrate Native American artists’ attention to details.
The timeless charm of Native American jewelry makes it irresistible. Every Native American jewelry piece shows exquisite craftsmanship. Some popular Native American jewelry styles include Native American rings, pendants, earrings, and cuff bracelets.
Unfortunately, the market is flooded with fake Native American Jewelry. In many cases, fakes are crafted with such high precision that they look real. This, however, does not mean that differentiating between fake and authentic Native American jewelry is impossible.
Follow these tips to find out if native American jewelry is authentic.
Check the Seller’s Inventory
Authentic Native American jewelry is handmade, meaning no two pieces are identical. Before you buy Native American jewelry, take a look at the seller’s inventory. If two or more pieces look identical, walk away.
Federal labeling laws were created to protect against counterfeiting to people seeking authentic Native American jewelry. The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 states that the terms “Native American” and “Indian” can only be used to label products created by a member of a tribe or nation recognized by the state or federal government.
Labels used on many products read “Indian-style,” indicating that they were replicated elsewhere. Therefore, steer clear of such pieces. Ask the dealer to provide a guarantee of authenticity. You can also look for the artist’s signature. However, the absence of a signature does not necessarily mean that the piece is fake, as many artists do not always sign their work.
Evaluate Craftsmanship and Check the Quality of the Materials Used
Before buying a piece, inspect it to determine its quality. Take a close look at the design features. Authentic Native American jewelry does not have wavering lines. There is no visible glue between the metal and the stone, and stones used in Native American jewelry are accurately cut.
Native American artists use high-quality, naturally occurring materials such as precious gemstones and metals in their jewelry. Learn to distinguish between silver plated jewelry and sterling silver jewelry. To find out whether a piece is made of sterling silver, hold a small magnet to it. If the piece is attracted to the magnet, it is a sterling silver piece.
Watch out for items labeled “Mexican Silver,” “Alpaca Silver,” “Tibetan Silver,” or “Nickel Silver,” as such pieces contain very little or no real silver. If turquoise or other opaque stones are used in a piece, find out whether they are natural or have been altered to change their color and shape.
There are several ways to alter turquoise. It can be stabilized, dyed and ground up, and reconstituted. Some terms that indicate stones used in a piece were altered include “stabilized,” “block,” and “chip.” Stabilized, however, does not mean fake. Turquoise is a very soft stone and in most instances, needs to be stabilized with an epoxy to harden it.
It is not illegal to use altered stones in jewelry, provided that the manufacturer discloses the fact that they are not natural and does not label them as so.
Determine If the Artist Is Native American
The internet is flooded with con artists who masquerade as Native Americans. Most of the time, they claim their jewelry pieces are 100 percent authentic, but in reality, they are no match for genuine Native American jewelry.
If an artist self-identifies as Native American, check their tribal affiliation. Is it identified? Is the word used to identify the tribe correct? Is it spelled correctly? Native Americans typically use specific tribe names instead of generic terminology to identify themselves. So, if you come across an artist who uses a generic term such as Native American or American Indian, walk away.
Tribal identification is usually very specific. For example, instead of using the generic term Sioux- a confederacy of several tribes, people with this tribal affiliation usually use their tribe names such as Oglala Sioux or Rosebud Sioux to identify themselves. If possible, verify the clan relationships of artists as well.
Every Native American jewelry piece is handcrafted. As a matter of fact, a piece showcases the artist’s signature style. Imitation jewelry, on the other hand, is mass produced in a factory. This explains why authentic Native American jewelry is more expensive than imitation jewelry. If the price of a jewelry piece being marketed as 100 percent authentic Native American jewelry is too good to be true, it probably is! Additionally, imported jewelry mass produced in factories usually costs 30-50 percent less than authentic Native American jewelry.
Buy From an Established Dealer
The best way to steer clear of imitation Native American jewelry is to buy from a reputable dealer. An experienced dealer will be able to answer any questions you might have about the artist, the piece, and unique Native American jewelry designing techniques.
Find out if the dealer is a member of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, a non-profit organization that has been working tirelessly for years to promote authentic Native American arts. Before buying from a dealer, check their reputation. Additionally, find out if there are any cases against them for selling counterfeit products. Check online reviews and visit their profiles on different social media sites to see what people are saying about them.
Palms Trading Company is one of the most trusted suppliers of authentic Native American jewelry. Every jewelry piece in our collection has been crafted to perfection. We have established personal relationships with the several Native American artists that we work with. We can guarantee the authenticity of every Native American jewelry piece we have for sale. To place your order, call 505-247-8504.