Those who find themselves entranced by the fine workmanship and beautiful colors of jewelry crafted by Native American artists often become enthusiastic collectors of this style. Although a taste for Native American jewelry is easy to indulge, it needs to be fed in the right way – by buying only authentic pieces that can be sourced to genuine Native creators. Here’s why.
Buying Authentic Jewelry Protects Native Craftsmen
Jewelry sales are extremely important to Native American artisans. At the highest levels of the craft, the most skilled artists and designers deserve to be paid for their efforts in advancing the boundaries of the art form. This ensures that the future of fine Native jewelry is a bright one.
Even when it comes to less expensive and exclusive pieces, it’s still just as important to buy authentic Native-produced work. In fact, it may be even more important for less expensive pieces than for very pricey ones. For the anonymous Native men and women who craft quality jewelry according to their traditional crafts, selling their work for decent prices means the difference between a living wage and economic adversity.
Authentic Native Jewelry Delivers Real Value
Even the most selfish jewelry buyer who is totally unmoved by the concerns of the Native creators responsible for these beautiful pieces of jewelry can find good reasons to prefer authentic pieces to counterfeits and generic substitutes. Value – in both the long and the short-term – is a core problem with counterfeit Native jewelry.
Native jewelry that comes from disreputable sources is often absurdly overpriced. In many cases, it’s sold by unscrupulous vendors who charge far more than the genuine article would be worth, taking advantage of naive customers and making it impossible for them to recoup their losses. Even in the reverse situation, where counterfeit jewelry is purchased at prices significantly below those of authentic pieces, it’s likely that the durability and resale potential of the knockoffs will leave much to be desired.
Common Signs Of Counterfeit Jewelry
Fortunately, it’s not as hard as one might think to tell the difference between authentic and counterfeit Native American jewelry. There are serious laws protecting Native craftsmen on multiple levels which make it dangerous for imitators to come too close to passing their work off as genuine. This gives counterfeit jewelry some common characteristics that are easy to spot.
Buyers should be wary about any vagueness in the origin of Native jewelry. By law, authentic Native jewelry needs to be easily traced back to a specific tribe and artist. It can be useful to watch a suspect vendor’s store over time. If the same images of the same pieces appear repeatedly with different origins, then the odds are excellent that the merchandise is fake. Sellers who fail to mention hallmarks which are clear in their photos are likely trying to pass off mass-produced imitations as hand-made originals. Finally, high volume sales are suspicious in and of themselves, as it’s very unlikely for a single seller to be acquiring and reselling dozens of authentic pieces on a monthly basis.
Authenticity is a good thing in most parts of life, and that’s especially true when it comes to jewelry created by Native American craftsman. Intelligent buyers know that taking a little extra time to confirm the pedigree of the jewelry they buy is good both for the jewelry’s new owners and for the hard working artists and artisans who create it.