It was impressive to see how many people are interested in knowing the difference between authentic native made and non-native made Native style jewelry.
Just by looking at a piece, it is easy to distinguish the care and workmanship that go into crafting a piece of Native American jewelry.
There are many laws that a person has to be cognizant of when selling Native American jewelry or crafts. In order to be considered Native American jewelry or crafts, the person who made it must be a member of a federally recognized tribe. Just because your grandmother may have been Native American doesn't mean you may make and sell items as Indian crafted.
There have been many recent news items regarding branding or infringement of Native American images or names. We wouldn't blink an eye if someone was charged with counterfeiting Microsoft or iPhone items, but we feel we must have an opinion on whether it is OK to use an image or name that may mislead people in thinking the item has a connection with Native Americans? Let's not indulge in mental gymnastics designed to make it acceptable to steal someone else's name, reputation, or brand for money.
It is important to know who you purchase from and how they authenticate their items. In addition to materials, styles, patina that i can observe by a visual inspection, there are several ways I try to ensure that the items I sell are actually Native American made.
When I can, I buy direct from tribe members on a few reservations. I consider any item I purchase from an enrolled tribe member who represents to me it is native made and from their reservation to be authentic.
I buy many vintage items and research them myself. I have a few select vendors online that I am very comfortable with any description that they give me in regards to vintage Native American jewelry.Any item I purchase from an expert in the field of Native American jewelry, the artists, and their styles is also considered by me to be authentic.
I try to purchase only from sources that have integrity in how they represent their items.
There are many beautiful items I sell that are native style. They are more likely than not made by native artisans. I sell them as native style jewelry and I guarantee the metals and stones to be what they are.
The people who are interested in good Native jewelry tend to ask how I know that a piece is genuinely native made. I do everything I can to ensure that the information I give them is accurate. I also offer a full refund if it turns out my assessment was inaccurate.
I have separate cases for the items that are authenticated Native American jewelry or crafts. Any item sold as such is not only guaranteed as to what materials are in it, but also to be an authenticated Native American item. It is good for business, and it is good for my character.
I was thrilled to find out that several of my customers were actually Native American tribe members. I was invited to be a vendor at next year's Pow Wow. I will have to make that decision closer to that date. I do like the idea of being a vendor at a Pow Wow, but I also love going to Pow Wows.