native american jewelries

Portrait of an unidentified Native American man attributed to Mathew Brady, c. 1860′s.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration.

If you’re going to buy “Native American inspired” jewelry or apparel, JUST BUY FROM AN ACTUAL NATIVE AMERICAN!!!

Like there are groups on facebook that you can look through, and a lot of those lead to particular artists who are willing to do business. ACTUAL TRIBAL NATIVE AMERICANS guys!! Not only is the piece you are getting AUTHENTIC, but for sooo many natives, it’s how they pay their bills, buy food, or provide for their family and you are helping them. Yes some things are expensive but that’s literally their job sometimes, and yes some are cheaper but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “poor quality,” they just need a quick buck.

The real artists are out there guys, so many flea markets in the Navajo nation that you can find things, benefit powwows, cultural centers, facebook groups, other social media, they’re really not that hard to find. Some of them have jobs and do beadwork, jewelry, clothes on the side, but you are still getting the real deal. Don’t buy that “Native American inspired” overpriced piece from Becky who lives on a 100 acre ranch, in a 2 story house, and drives a brand new BMW.

Hand-colored tintype portrait of an unidentified Pawnee man probably taken somewhere in the United States, c. 1800′s.

Source: National Museum of American History.

Confessions of a Turquoise Wearing Indian

A white supremacist once told me I wasn’t a “real” Indian. To be specific, she told me I was probably one of those “hippy dippy turquoise wearing Indians”.

And I am a turquoise wearing Indian because turquoise is a sacred stone to many Native American tribes. It does not make me any less of a “real” Native American!

In my tribe, Choctaw, turquoise is still a huge part of making beautiful traditional and contemporary jewelry. Among Native Americans, it was once known as the “sky stone” or “stone of the green tree”. The stone is believed to hold sacred and mythical powers – among them, many believed a turquoise amulet could provide an archer dead aim. In Hopi legends, they say the earth freed itself from the water covering it because of turquoise, which they believe had the power to hold back floods. Other tribes believed that turquoise had the power to bring you love and a happy marriage. Modernly, turquoise is a popular choice to use in dream catchers because the stone universally represents happiness among North American tribes.

Good turquoise can range in price anywhere from $10 - $1000 a carat and prices are only expected to rise with the dwindling of turquoise supplies especially in Southwest America. Turquoise productions globally are shifting to mines in China. Even then, 95% of all turquoise jewelry on the market is not real or synthetic.