Celebrating Native American Jewelry

While Native American jewelry is ancient in origin, it is more popular than ever, appealing to jewelry fans worldwide, and appearing at the top of trend lists annually. With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, let’s explore the history of Native American jewelry. You’ll also learn what to know about Native American jewelry before you buy.

Origins of Native American jewelry

Native Americans in the Southwestern and Western U.S. United States started creating incredible jewelry from everyday things they found naturally. Items such as wood, bones, stones, rocks, and shells became beautiful pieces of jewelry. Today, these pieces are some of the most breathtaking and desired works of art in the world.

According to the article “Native American Jewelry” on Indians.org, the first Native America jewelry was created around the 1850s. By 1868, the Navajos were less mobile, so they began sharing their skills more with each other. A Navajo blacksmith by the name of Atsidi Sani is credited with furthering the art of this jewelry making. He used metals such as brass and copper to make bracelets, necklaces, coins and other items. Sani also taught others Navajos his techniques. Around 1880, the Navajo began incorporating silver and turquoise into their jewelry making.

The timeless appeal of turquoise

One of the most common stones used in Native American jewelry is turquoise. It is most often set in silver and worn in necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, and rings. The use of turquoise has been around the Southwest since prehistoric times, and the use of turquoise in jewelry is a thousand-year old tradition. The Anasazi used turquoise and shell to make beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings as well as to decorate effigies. Using turquoise in Southwestern jewelry is still popular today, not only by people that live in the Southwest, but by people worldwide.

The advent of machine-made jewelry

The article “Native American Jewelry” on Indians.org, explained that the Fred Harvey Company started supplying jewlery making materisl, such as sheet metal and polished turquoise around the year 1900. Soon after, Harvey and company began making Native American-inspired machine made jewelry.

Most of the pieces were made and sold to tourists and outsiders, and common jewlry designs included thunderbirds, lightning bolts, and bows and arrows. As the popularity of machine-made pieces grew, the silversmiths began to copy the machine made jewelry, creating Native American-style necklaces, bracelets, and rings that were cheaper, but of a lower quality than authentic, hand-made pieces.

After 1900, the tools and technology used to create jewelry improved. As a result of mechanical evolution, the sale of genuine, hand-made jewelry began to suffer, but it is also why today, authentic hand-made jewelry pieces can be worth many thousands of dollars.

What to know about buying this jewelry

Interested in buying an authentic piece of Native American jewelry? Collecting this jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings, is a fun and interesting hobby, but here are some things to know to help ensure you buy authentic product without paying too much.

According to the article, “Native American Jewelry Part 2: Starting Your Collection” on http://www.medicinemangallery.com/collection-old-pawn-jewelry-part2.lasso, you’ll want proof that the piece you’re interested in is authentic, and that it was made by a Native American Indian. In many states, such as New Mexico, it is illegal to sell jewelry labeled “Indian made” that is not actually made by Native Americans.

Most modern silver jewelry that is made by a Native American will be marked or signed. Ask the jewelry dealer for proof of authenticity on the piece of jewelry you like before you buy. If the dealer can’t give you the certificate, it probably isn’t authentic.

When it comes to turquoise, know the difference between treated and untreated turquoise. Treated turquoise has been coated or dyed for strength and/or color. Some people think that treated turquoise is of lesser quality than untreated. However, treated turquoise stones are generally stronger than those not treated. If you’re a purist, know that untreated turquoise tends to be porous and have imperfections.

From an investment point of view, look for pieces made between 1870 and 1940. These pieces generally increase in value, and some easily sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Of course, taste in jewelry is subjective, so the best advice is to buy what you love and will wear. This jewelry is more than beautiful-it often carries with it a rich history and culture. And because of its beauty, it is an easy way to dress up any outfit.

Where to find this jewelry

The Internet is a great place to start, but be sure to do some research. Websites that provide a lot of well written, detailed information, including vintage dates, the maker and origin, prices, dimensions, and multiple images are usually a good sign.

Typing “Native American jewelry” will bring up many websites, but if you’re interested in old Indian jewelry, search under “old pawn jewelry,” and look for Native American pieces.

If you’re looking for authentic pieces, be aware that pieces called “Indian style” or “southwestern style” are usually non-Native American Indian made. If you’re more concerned with the look of a piece than its authenticity, it’s fine to buy “old style” pieces, but make sure you don’t pay authentic vintage pieces prices.

If you live in an area with jewelry stores and pawn shops, take some time to visit them, but call ahead first to save time. If you’re willing to travel, the Southwestern U.S., such as Santa Fe, N.M., has many stores carrying Native American jewelry. Look for shops that belong to organizations such as the Antique Tribal Art Dealer Association (ATADA), and ask about any shop or website’s authenticity certificates and return policies.

When you bring in a piece of jewelry or other item to Empire, that property is appraised by a professional jeweler. If you choose to take a loan out or “pawn it” instead of sell it, the item becomes collateral against the loan, and you receive cash against that collateral.

Empire offers cash at high value for the item, very competitive loan rates, and you will not be put through a credit check. The item is stored our state-of-the-art vault for safe keeping throughout the time of the loan. Above a $250 value, the item is stored securely in a bank vault. Once it is repaid, you’ll receive your property back in pristine condition.

For more information on getting a loan on your specific gold, jewelry or other item, go to our selling section.


The Five Things You Must Do With Your Jewelry

Clean Your Jewelry

Jewelry is a magnificent asset to our everyday look. Therefore we want to take good care of them. A good approach is to think of your jewelry in two ways: as valuable as your teeth. You take care of them, and you will have a gorgeous smile for life. The other is to think of your jewelry as a picturesque vacation spot. Once you are able to see your jewelry in these two light, then you will be very motivated to take care of them.

There are various ways to clean different types of jewelry. Thus, I will focus on Silver Jewelry in this instance. Cleaning your Silver jewelry is easier than you imagine. Doing so in an economical way. Avoid expensive cleaning at a jewelry store, or even cleaning solutions. By turning this into a fun home remedy project. Yes, get out the good old soap, and turn on your faucet. Everything you need to restore the color and brilliance of your jewelry is right in your cabinet. This can be done by using a soft bristle toothbrush, with some warm water and soap. Upon completion, a soft cloth to buff the piece, will add the finishing touch.

Get An Appraisal

Getting your jewelry professionally appraised, will add value and security to your collection. Should you decide to sell or insure your jewelry, then an appraisal is certainly pertinent. Take the time to find a competent and accredited gemologist. One that is certified as a gem and jewelry appraiser. One that is not affiliated with a jewelry store is highly recommended. This way they will be able to provide an objective, and unbiased appraisal.

Given that the value of jewelry changes from epoch to epoch, it is recommended to get your jewelry appraised every two years. You will be happy with the end result.

Insure Your Jewelry

Insuring your jewelry will not only give you peace of mind, but it will save you a lot of money and heartache should you lose them. Unfortunately, unforeseen disasters happen. Replacing the jewelry will not bring back the sentimental value of the jewelry to you, but it is certainly better than not being able to do so.

A specific dollar amount is not necessarily recommended, but if you own a piece of jewelry that you would be unable to replace tomorrow, should you be face with a calamitous event, then you definitely need insurance.

The equity argument here is that we should not discriminate on the basis of value, we should get insurance regardless of the value, for the aforementioned reasons.

There are many resources available for this kind of service. You can start with your homeowners or car insurance company.

Organize Your Pieces

Why have a beautiful collection if you can never find your jewelry, you end up losing them or it is a hassle to get to them? It is a certainly a personal choice whether or not you chose to organize your jewelry in a jewelry box, or accessorize them with your favorite scarf, in a color coordinated fashion. The idea is to have them accessible and organized.

There is the element of organization with respect to your jewelry, but that is not the only important factor. Keeping them well organized, will also protect them from dust. Your jewelry will last a lifetime.

Store Your Jewelry In A Jewelry Box

Storing your jewelry in a jewelry box is highly recommended. Before going shopping for a jewelry box, be sure to have a clear picture in mind of the different types of jewelry you currently own, and how it will fit with the jewelry box of your choice.

Properly storing your pieces in a jewelry box will prevent scratches as well. For some people, a small jewelry box on their dresser is acceptable. And for others, a jewelry armoire may better suit their needs. Thus, this is based on personal needs.

A thought is to store your jewelry according to usage. In other words, perhaps you own some unique pieces that you wear only on occasion. They may have a place in your closet. While your everyday wear, may be better stored in a jewelry box on your dresser.

If this is at all economical for you, banks also offer a safety deposit box, that you may consider storing your most valuable pieces in.

Your jewelry represents many things. While it may have different meaning to different people, there are similar factors that typify the value of Jewelry.

These factors consider: investment, sentimental value, and personal adornment, to name a few. Treasure your jewelry, and you will relish continuous magnificence.


Selling Estate Jewelry – An Introduction

You may be inclined to sell your estate jewelry, considering the ever-increasing price of gold over the last few months, but you may be apprehensive of getting the right price for it. Here is some information you’ll find helpful in overcoming that apprehension.

Important factors that help getting you the most from your jewelry include its accurate assessment. That is not to suggest that you become an expert in evaluating jewelry. Doing some homework can certainly fetch you a better price for your possessions. Let us proceed to see what decides the worth of estate jewelry.

Estate is generally used while referring to previously owned items or assets. Generally, pre-owned jewelry isn’t considered as precious as fresh jewelry. There is a category of people who would never purchase a second-hand piece of jewelry for whatever reasons. However, it is true that one can often save a substantial amount of cash by purchasing pre-owned jewelry.

The jewelry business is style driven. Some designs are classic, remaining in demand for decades, while others may last only for a couple of months. Estate jewelry that is not in style anymore can’t fetch you a good price. Actually, certain styles are so outdated that the jewelry in such styles gets sold at its fundamental price only. Now, estate jewelry should not be mixed with antique jewelry, which is about collectors’ items and may be best sold by a specialist. The difference in the price of antique and just old jewelry can be unbelievably high.

The amount of cash that you may collect for your pieces of estate jewelry depends a lot on the condition of jewelry. Rarely is it worthwhile to get your spoiled and broken jewelry restored. Most often such jewelry gets sold at its basic minimum price. Yet, this is not to deny that in certain cases the damage to jewelry may look extensive but in fact is rather nominal and can be repaired without spending a substantial amount of money. The reverse is equally true, meaning the damage may look very nominal but in fact it may be too bad to afford its restoration. Unfortunately, jewelry restoration is not to be attempted as a DIY project. It is the job of professionals and you should let them do it or you may end up losing a large sum of cash.

The pieces of jewelry that are already worn out affect the value adversely. The restoration of such pieces is very difficult and not worth the effort. Yet, you can expect to get its built-in price.

Cleanliness also affects the price of jewelry. Before you go out to sell your jewelry, it should be suitably cleaned. Unless you are very sure of the way of cleaning your jewelry, you shouldn’t attempt it and get it done from a jeweler. The incorrect cleaning of jewelry and gems may spoil and further reduce their value. Some jewelers may offer to clean it without any charge.

Most jewelry stores that buy estate jewelry are generally fine to go along with. Trust your gut feeling and go ahead but do remain alert and careful. Taking undue risk to get a slightly better value for your goods is not recommended.