How To Get Truly Authentic Native American Jewelry

When it comes to true, traditional Native American jewelry, it is as much a work of art as it is a piece of jewelry. That means it's really an investment, and knowing what to look for is important. If you aren't really familiar with the details of Native American jewelry designs, it can be easy to find yourself buying a replica that you thought was authentic. Here are a few tips to help you find truly authentic jewelry that is worth the financial investment.

Understanding The True Value

The first step to being able to recognize authentic Native American jewelry is understanding what makes it so valuable. That is a good starting point to help you determine what to look for. Remember that crafting traditional Native American jewelry is a hand-crafted process, and it's a skill that's been handed down for generations throughout the tribes.

Every piece of Native American jewelry is one of a kind. They are all unique because they are made by hand. That means that if the piece you're looking at is one of many just like it, it was mass-produced and isn't authentic.

Finally, consider the core value of these pieces. Remember that hand-crafted pieces are more expensive, so if you find a piece that's selling at bargain prices, there's a good chance that it isn't authentic. Be prepared to spend more for the skill and time that goes into the production of the true pieces.

Knowing The Labeling Laws

One of the things that makes it easier for those looking for truly authentic Native American pieces is the labeling laws that have been put into place. Items cannot legally be labeled as Native American or Indian if they weren't actually produced by someone who is a member of a tribe or a tribal nation. You may see replica pieces being sold as "Native American Inspired" or something similar. Those are key warning signs to look out for.

Identifying Key Markers

In addition to these standard features, there are a few other key markers that you should watch for when you're looking for authentic pieces. One of the first things that you should look for is the signature of the silversmith. While some silversmiths don't sign or stamp their work, many do. If you see a stamp like this, you know it's a traditional piece.

Another key thing to look for is pure silver. If the piece is made from pure sterling silver, not plated. You can test this with a magnet, because many of the plated pieces will actually respond to a magnet, while sterling silver will not.

Among the other key markers of traditional pieces are the intricate designs and the traditional stones. Turquoise is one of the most common stones found in Native American work. The piece should also state whether the turquoise is stabilized or a natural stone. The use of stabilized stones doesn't mean that the piece isn't authentic, though. Stabilized stones are often used for longer life and durability.

Choosing Who You Buy From

The final step to ensure that you get traditional, authentic Native American jewelry is to know who you are buying from. Choose someone who has a reputation for selling true pieces, not mislabeled or replica work.

You can contact your nearest reservation if you're not sure who you can buy from. In fact, some reservations will even evaluate pieces for you to help you determine if it is an authentic piece or a replica. Know the characteristics of the tribal pieces that you are interested in to help you narrow things down and ensure that you're getting exactly what you're looking for. For more information, contact companies like Reservation Trading Post of New Mexico.