American Indian-style jewelry has become very popular over the past several decades. If you’re merely in search of something stylish to complement your wardrobe, there are plenty of mass-produced pieces available online and in department stores.
If you’re looking for a piece of authentic Native American jewelry to add to your art collection, however, the criteria you should consider goes beyond simple taste and aesthetics. Unfortunately, there are some sellers who will try to present imitation pieces as genuine works of American Indian art. But luckily, we’ve got some tips to help you spot the difference!
Look at the seller’s entire inventory.
Authentic Native American jewelry is handmade by individual artisans, which means no two pieces will be the same. Do a little research on your potential seller’s inventory as a whole. If you’re seeing the same pieces over and over, particularly with the same hallmark (the signature of an individual silversmith), consider that a red flag.
Inspect the quality of the materials.
American Indian artists use only high-quality stones and metals in their jewelry. Sometimes, spotting a fake is as easy as taking a close look at the craftsmanship. A genuine piece will have no wavering lines or lopsided designs, well-cut stones that are uniform in size, and no visible glue between the metal and stone.
Also be on the lookout for sterling silver versus silver-plated jewelry. A quick way to tell the difference is to hold a small magnet to the piece. If it’s authentic sterling silver, the magnet won’t pull it. Silver-plated pieces contain nickel, which is magnetized.
Ask for specific information about the artist.
Especially if a piece of Native American jewelry is new, rather than an artifact, the seller should know and be able to provide you with the exact origin. That means identifying the tribe of the artist, and possibly their clan relationships as well (if buying from an artist directly). Additionally, you should always ask for written verification of authenticity when purchasing genuine Native American jewelry.
At Faust Gallery, we pride ourselves on our collection of authentic Native American jewelry—a majority of which is handcrafted by artisans with whom we have a personal relationship. With over 30 years of experience buying, selling, and appraising American Indian art, we can guarantee the authenticity of every Native American-made piece we have for sale.
Head over to our website to browse through our historic and contemporary collections!