There are so many reasons why it’s important to do your research and know some key terms before purchasing a piece of Native American jewelry. Maybe you’ve seen some photos and have an idea of the style you’re looking for, or perhaps you want to prepare for the future by getting information about cleaning techniques and stone treatments.
To help you with the process, we’ve compiled a list of key terms to know when you’re looking to purchase Native American jewelry.
Important Native American Jewelry Terminology
Turquoise Treatment: Turquoise in jewelry can exist in both its natural form or with a variety of treatments, stabilizers, and enhancements. If you are purchasing a piece of turquoise, make sure you check whether the turquoise has been treated with wax, plastics, or silica, and what stabilization methods have been used, as these elements can help determine the stone’s price and value.
Antiquing: The process of antiquing refers to the darkening of a piece of silver, or oxidization, to create contrast in silverwork design. This technique can also be used to give silver a more antique-style appearance, and is also knowing as “brushed.”
Bezel: This refers to the silver rimming holding the stone to its setting. It can come in many different styles, including plain, scalloped, serrated, or as a gallery design with pierced wire used to secure the stone in a decorative fashion.
Inlay: The term inlay refers to the design of shells or stones with a flattened surface placed at level with the surrounding silver. Specific inlay types include channel inlay (stones are set level with a silver bezel between each other) and etched inlay (where a picture or design is etched onto the stone or inlay surface).
Needlepoint & Petit Point: These terms refer to the different methods of clustering delicately cut stones together in beautiful designs and setting them in a silver bezel. Needlepoint is when an oval is shaped to have fine points at both ends, whereas petit point is when an oval is rounded on one end and finely pointed on the other.
Cluster: A cluster is a grouping of larger tear-drop-shaped stones that are individually set and normally arranged around a center stone or grouping of stones.
Heishi: This term refers to tiny beads in either disc or tube form that has been drilled and strung on a piece of jewelry. Given how small the beads are, each strand might consist of several hundred beads.
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If you’re looking for expert and professional staff to help support your next jewelry purchase, get in touch with us at Palms Trading Company. We have a wide variety of Native American jewelry to offer, and we also have a free personal shopper service to help you find the exact style you’re looking for. Give us a call and let us help you find the perfect piece of Native American jewelry today!