Jewelry Shopping Tips For Building A Native American Collection
Almost every indigenous people of the Americas used turquoise in their jewelry. For some Native American tribes, the tradition goes back over a thousand years. Southwestern jewelry makers copied the practice and in the 1970's had trouble filling the demand for turquoise jewelry. By the end of the seventies, the trend began to trickle off as most fads do.
The buyers of that day didn’t have access to the internet and jewelry shopping tips were obscure. Many purchasers would pay the same dollar amount today that they did for their turquoise jewelry back then. Considering inflation, it wasn't a good investment of their finances. Collecting jewelry from the late 1800s to the 1940s would have been the better investment for that period, but no one knew
How The Internet Can Help
Today the internet is the primary source for jewelry shopping tips. It's a great way to learn how to identify which southwestern accessories are real or fake. Buyers can also find resources to determine what is Native American crafted compared to non-native industrially manufactured.
One of the best ways to search for real, antique Native American jewelry is through Google. Just type in "old pawn jewelry" and you'll get quite a few good hits.
Here are some jewelry shopping tips to help anyone spot authentic native jewelry:
Look for the answers to these simple questions.
The words "Old Pawn" don't signify pawn shop rejects in the American Native art world. In the native dealer community, it means that the handmade jewelry was traded for goods or services.
One of the best jewelry shopping tips for investing in real pieces is to see if an original pawn ticket is still attached. Just because the pawn ticket is dated from 1982 doesn’t mean it was made in 1982. It could have been crafted long before then, so investigating must be done. Having the original pawn ticket still on the piece will increase its value if one ever decides to resell it.
Anything made around or before the early 1900s is usually worth the most money. Buyers can expect to pay more for anything crafted during this period, but beware. Since the jewelry from this era was so simple, it's easy to duplicate. To avoid getting a fake, one of the smartest jewelry shopping tips is to buy from a very reputable dealer.
It's common to see squash blossoms and silver bracelets sell between three thousand and seven thousand dollars. Navajo belts can cost around twenty-five thousand dollars, depending on quality. You don't want to spend that kind of money for a fake, so be cautious.
Rings aren't typically the big money makers in a Native American jewelry collection. If you are looking just for your wardrobe and not to re-sell, they can be a great buy. Navajo and Zuni rings from the 1920-1930s are usually under the one hundred dollar price point. Rarely, a ring made before that period will be seen selling for at most seven hundred fifty dollars.
Sellers on eBay often list real native jewelry from the 1960s-1970s as "Old Pawn." Even though some of these pieces are certainly genuine, they aren't worth as much as the earlier pieces. Bracelets are typically priced between one hundred and three hundred fifty dollars. Squash blossoms will regularly sell between one hundred and three hundred fifty dollars.
One of the best tips for jewelry shopping is to familiarize yourself. Doing so is simple. See many, many pieces in person before buying is advisable. You'll begin to notice things about the patterns and the way they are made. It will help you to develop a knack for telling real from fake. Bringing a magnifying glass along while you're getting acquainted with the jewelry is a very good idea. If a piece is old, it should show signs of wear. Some areas should be smoother than others. There should be scratches. Nothing that old comes without flaws.
Be careful while shopping from dealers who seem to be know-it-alls when it comes to turquoise. Many different mines can produce several different variations in pattern and color of its turquoise. It's next to impossible just to look at the turquoise and know its exact origin, even for expert eyes. It's better to hear, "I have reason to believe this is a Navajo mine in Arizona," versus "
This is unmistakably from the Grecian mine in Sedona." It's better to have to search for answers than to hear a false one. Most importantly, buyers need to be able to tell the difference from mined turquoise and resin-made. True turquoise is not bright robin egg blue in color. They'll also have a matrix and be tougher to the touch. A good test is to try denting it with your fingernail. Real turquoise should not dent so easily. Be advised, you might not want to offend your dealer by pulling that move in front of them.
Another one of best jewelry shopping tips is to take it slow. If trying to build a collection to sell, this is especially true. Try to master one specific type of accessory before branching out to other kinds. There's a lot to be learned when it comes to Native American jewelry collecting, and it can't be done overnight.