Native American Jewelry: Authentic or Fake?
Different people like different types of jewelry: some are fans of traditional pieces, some like antique metal with modern design and some like Native American jewelry more than anything else. If you fall into the latter category or simply enjoy unique jewelry, you should buy native American jewelry.
The purchase may seem easy, like placing an order followed by the normal process of payment. But there is a catch. Do you want to buy something of low quality, while paying the same price of an authentic piece? Certainly not. Therefore, it is better to arm yourself with adequate knowledge regarding Native American jewelry, so that you won’t be conned by the fake pieces.
How would you differentiate the authentic pieces from the fake ones? Your knowledge about the authentic jewelry will help you out. Here are some points you should consider before you buy Native American jewelry.
Value: Artistic, Historical and Monetary
The Spanish introduced silversmithing to the Native Americans. Since then, the Tribes and Pueblos started developing their unique style of jewelry that has been carried forward through generations.
The authentic artists of Native American jewelry design unique pieces with their innovations, patience and hand tools. Sand casting is a special method, through which the silversmith carves a mold to form the silver, and the mold gets destroyed by the melted silver. If you look at this type carefully, you will understand the level of patience the artist needed to design this jewelry.
Apart from this, there is the setting of stones. The size of the stone, the fine cut of it and, above all, the setting make it different from fake ones. Note that no adhesive is used to set the stone in an authentic piece. Rather, it is wedged into the inlay patterns with sand or similar materials.
Due to this immense skill set and patience, the artists put a worthy price on their jewelry. Often, the price may seem a little high, but if the sellers negotiate with you and you get to buy Native American jewelry at a much lower price, don’t question its authenticity.
Federal law sets some protections for consumers to help them buy authentic jewelry. According to the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, the label “Native American” or “Indian” can be used only on authentic products. Be sure of duplicity if the tag says anything else.
Signs and Symbols
Apart from the labeling and value, there are some signs and symbols that help in understanding the authenticity of the product. A hallmark sign, signature of the artist and sometimes the date of manufacture is stamped or carved in the jewelry. This indicates the authenticity of the jewelry.
The material of the jewelry is also a factor in deciding its authenticity. Sterling silver is typically used as the material of Native American jewelry. The best way to differentiate sterling silver jewelry from a silver-plated piece is to examine it with a magnet. The silver-plated one will likely contain nickel, so it will attract the magnet, whereas the authentic silver won’t.