There are few treasures quite as great as owning a piece of Native American jewelry. Not just any piece, but an authentic, hand-crafted piece. Your keen eye can help ensure the pieces you purchase fit into this category, even if you aren't an expert. Make sure you know what key elements to look for when purchasing pieces.
Native American jewelry is well known for its intricacy and attention to detail. Given these factors and the fact that authentic pieces are typically made by hand, pieces generally take a considerable amount of time to produce. For this reason, it's very rare to find a large quantity of the same piece available from a single retailer.
If you visit a retailer that seems to have a near unlimited supply of the same piece, this is somewhat of a red flag. While the pieces may be authentic in style, this is often an indication that they aren't hand-crafted.
If the piece is designed with turquoise, it needs to be real. Authentic pieces only contain real turquoise. Fortunately, all authentic turquoise will have a marking on its rear side that reads natural or stabilized. In some cases, the words won't appear, but you will at least see the letter N or S stamped on the piece. Natural turquoise basically means that the turquoise is in the raw and is generally derived directly from a turquoise mine.
Stabilized stones have been chemically treated or altered to help them maintain their shape and color. One option isn't necessarily better than the other. However, if you don't see this marking, it's highly unlikely that the piece you're looking at is authentic.
Generally, when it comes to jewelry, imperfections aren't exactly something you want. However, when it comes to hand-crafted Native American pieces, not only are minor imperfections tolerated, but they are often expected. Human error is unavoidable. Whether it's a rigid end or poor shaping, such as an uneven square, you want to look for these errors as a positive quality.
With machine designed jewelry, these imperfections generally don't occur. For this reason, if a piece is perfect in its design, it might require that you take an additional look at it to verify that it is both hand-crafted and authentic.
While there are a number of additional telltale signs that can help separate authentic pieces, these tips create a perfect place to begin. Make sure you're being a smart buyer and choosing the right pieces. Check out companies like Sunface Traders to get started.