There is a lot of fake Native American jewelry on the market. There have been a few cases that received nation-wide publicity in recent years, including one covered by National Geographic magazine. There are many smaller operations that have been caught selling fake Native American jewelry, and many more probably still exist because the U.S. Department of the Interior does not have adequate enforcement resources.
In addition to counterfeit Native American jewelry, there is a lot of substandard jewelry that actually is made by Native American artisans either in mass production facilities or at home. Fake or treated turquoise abounds in this type of work. Rings or bracelets are made from thin silver or from silver-looking materials that cannot hold up to daily wear and tear.
At Home & Away Gallery, we buy over 95% of our inventory directly from the makers. We state clearly where we know turquoise is natural, not stabilized, enhanced or color-treated.On the occasions when we purchase jewelry on the secondary market (the other 5%), we purchase from reliable sources. We stand behind our jewelry and guarantee its authenticity and its quality.
Turquoise beads have traditionally been treated to improve their hardness. In days past, bead makers would soak the beads in grease to harden them; if they did not do this, the beads were likely to crack or split when cut and drilled. This tradition continues today; most contemporary turquoise beads are made from stabilized (hardened) turquoise. It is an accepted practice among bead workers and collectors, who do not expect turquoise beads to be 100% natural and untreated.
If you have any questions about the authenticity or quality of materials in the jewelry or any other items we sell, please call us at 207 967-2122.
We are keen to hear from you.