Learning about Authentic Native American Jewelry and Art
The mission of Turquoise Skies is to help maintain the quality and authenticity of Native American jewelry and art. When collecting Native art, the quality and authenticity of the pieces is a priority. It is illegal to falsely sell replication Native style art and jewelry as authentic when it is not produced by legitimate Native artists. There are several great organizations out there that help fight fraud, however they can only do so much. We feel that it is a responsibility of the sellers and buyers to help keep the industry clean. By learning about the industry, art, and culture of the Native people we get a better understanding of what is quality and authentic. Turquoise Skies Inc. believes that it is a website’s responsibility to provide a wealth of free information to anyone who wishes to know more about Native art and culture.
Native American Industry Guides
The following is a set of informational resources related to Native art, jewelry and culture including: A jewelry and art buying guide, a guide to the handling and maintenance of authentic native art and jewelry, a visual guide to many of the Native American Tribes, a gemstone guide for precious stones and other natural materials used in making Native jewelry and art, a visual turquoise mine directory, a directory of known Native artist signature hallmarks, a directory of helpful organizations and groups in the Native arts and craft industry and a glossary of relevant terminology.
If you are thinking about buying Native American Jewelry online there are a few things that will make the shopping experience as accurate and enjoyable as possible. Here at Turquoise Skies, we would like everyone to be happy with their purchases by knowing that everything we sell is authentic and handmade by Native American artists. We strive to make sure the jewelry is accurately described, however not all online sellers will have the same respect. Before you get started, evaluate your ideal purchase and be sure to evaluate the seller or shop you are purchasing from. It is also important to educate yourself so some of the qualities of handmade Native American Jewelry and how if differs from mainstream mass produced jewelry. We feel that there are a few key questions to ask yourself before buying.
Before You Buy
Who are you buying for?
Are you buying a piece for yourself? Or is it going to be a gift for someone else? Jewelry is a direct reflection of personal taste and style. Buying the right piece of jewelry begins with knowing the person that is going to be wearing it.
Much like a good pair of shoes, a piece of jewelry needs to fit its wearer. Generally, this really depends on the type of jewelry as necklaces and earrings are one size fits most, other items such as bracelets and rings can be more specific in the owner’s size.
When You Are Shopping
What determines the price?
The amount of money you are expecting to pay for the jewelry depends on many factors. The purity and rarity of the materials used to create the piece are huge factors. A small gemstone can range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on what type of stone it is. Is the jewelry machine made or handmade? Who was the artist that made it and what technique was used in its creation?
Is the jewelry authentic?
The Native American jewelry industry has become very popular in these modern times. Along with the popularity come those who try to exploit the industry for profit, it is important to be aware of this and how misrepresentations can be avoided. Only buy from reputable dealers and take the time to research the industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
All About the Zia Pueblo
Zia Pueblo sits on the Jemez River, some thirty miles north of Albuquerque. The roots of this long-standing community run deep into the land around it, and the symbol of its people’s spiritual beliefs extend far across the state of New Mexico through the Zia Sun symbol. The state began using the Zia symbol on […]Read More
What is Sovereignty?
There’s a saying that words have power. Often, however, words lose that power or have it corrupted by a lack of understanding of their true meaning. One such word is “sovereignty”. When it comes to the meaning and the practice of the concept of sovereignty for Native American tribes in the United States, there can […]Read More
The Beauty of Cluster Jewelry
Though he admits he finds it a “little bit nerve-wracking”, Eric Joe loves creating pieces of handcrafted jewelry in the cluster style. He says “it’s just so pretty”. And it is indeed that. This style has a longstanding role in the world of Native American jewelry and rightly so. What is it? The name refers […]Read More
Who does cultural appropriation really hurt?
Culture is defined as “the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time.” For most of our history, culture has been seen as the way in which various groups of people define themselves among the diversity that exists in the world. Their collective history and the way in which they [...]Read More
Basic Silversmithing Tools with George Francis I
Video 1 Intro JT – Hi everyone, this is Janice Tenorio from Turquoise Skies and I’m here with George Francis and he’s going to talk to us about basic tools. GF – What we’re going to talk about is basic tools that you will need to get started. Obviously you’re going to jump the gun, […]Read More
Rock Solid Wisdom with a Navajo Silversmith
“It’s all about asking the right questions.” That’s what Navajo silversmith George Francis tells me as he hands me a box of what appear to be arrowheads (photo #1). Then he tells me that these are indeed “Indian” arrowheads. Made in India. Without asking the right questions, someone who purchased them as authentic […]Read More
What is turquoise?
Turquoise Skies believes in the future of authentic, handcrafted Native American art. Our mission is to protect and preserve both the artists and the materials used to produce these treasured pieces. As a company, we believe it’s important to provide customers with accurate information on the history and culture of Native people, offer them access […]Read More
Does turquoise change color?
You may know that turquoise is found in a variety of colors, ranging from a white to dark navy blue to lime green. But did you know that turquoise can actually change color? Turquoise is a very porous and absorptive precious stone. When a turquoise stone is exposed to water, oils and other chemicals it […]Read More
What is turquoise chalk?
Turquoise Chalk or Chalk Turquoise is not actually chalk; it is a form of low quality natural turquoise that has the consistency of common writing chalk. Chalk turquoise is the most abundant type of turquoise found in the earth. The best quality turquoise forms near the surface where the weathering, oxidation and pressure conditions are […]Read More
Where does turquoise come from?
Turquoise forms in arid regions, where rainwater filters through copper-rich soils and leaves deposits of hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum in apertures in parent rock. As a result, major turquoise deposits generally occur in association with large copper deposits, and copper mining and turquoise harvesting often work hand-in-hand. Turquoise-producing regions have historically included northern […]Read More
Who were Fred Harvey & the Harvey girls?
The coming of the railroad changed the landscape of the American West in many ways. With its exotic scenery, the West captured the imaginations of Easterners while the opportunity for business expansion fueled the dreams of entrepreneurs. Traveling by train meant Americans could literally move from sea to shining sea. While the ability to travel […]Read More
What is block turquoise?
You may have heard this term block turquoise before when shopping for turquoise jewelry. If you are interested in buying turquoise jewelry, then it’s a good idea to know what it means! You must know what questions to ask. Did you know you shouldn’t ask the question “Is that real turquoise?” Because some dealers and […]Read More
How to care for handcrafted jewelry
Handcrafted jewelry is more than an adornment. Each piece is a work of art, created with the skill and vision of an individual who has invested the time and effort to learn the craft. Design and style reveal the depth of artistic vision. With vintage jewelry, it is important to know that patina can bring […]Read More
Why did the stone fall out of my jewelry?
Unfortunately, stones can fall out of vintage Native American jewelry pieces. If a stone feels loose in a setting or comes out entirely, this doesn’t mean the piece is broken or defective. In fact, this can show you that the jewelry is truly vintage handmade Native American! The crafting techniques used by authentic Native artists […]Read More
The price of patina
Did you know that the tarnish on your old vintage Native American jewelry is actually very valuable? Metal jewelry develops a sheen called patina as it ages. Patina is caused by the oxidation of the metal when exposed to the air. So before you go cleaning your vintage jewelry, know that this darkened discoloration is […]Read More
What is turquoise hardness and how do I measure it?
What is Hardness? Hardness is not only the condition of being a hard solid but in mineralogy it is a measurement of scratch resistance. In other words how resistant a solid’s surface to being scratched relative to another solid. A hard mineral can scratch the surface of a softer mineral. A soft mineral is unable to […]Read More
How to find the right handcrafted jewelry piece for you
Jewelry has adorned us further back than recorded history. Over the years it has been a way of announcing status, commitment and familial bonds. A beautiful ring, necklace, bracelet or other item is a surefire hit as a gift. But why wait for that piece you desire to come your way from someone else? Today […]Read More
Turquoise Doppelgangers: Why do some mines look alike?
As you may know turquoise stones are like snowflakes, no two are the same. When turquoise is pulled from the earth it has a unique fingerprint. This is caused by unique elements that affect the stone during formation, such as host rock composition, elevation, pressure and temperature. This causes the stones to display variations of […]Read More
What is natural turquoise?
The idea of “natural” in the turquoise industry can be a little confusing. We often hear consumers and collectors ask if a piece of turquoise is real, if it is natural, or if it is imitation. What does that even mean? To start, I want to define some common terms. By definition, the term “natural” refers […]Read More
Native American Jewelry: How to buy with certainty
“If you’re going to spend money on a piece, you’ll want to know what it is.” That’s the opinion of jeweler James Baldwin and it’s one most buyers likely share. Authenticity is an important part of a sale. Getting exactly what you want for the money you spend makes the whole deal sweeter. It is […]Read More
What is enhanced turquoise?
What is Enhanced Turquoise? Enhanced turquoise means that the stones have been treated to become better than the stone’s raw state. Most raw natural turquoise is a fairly brittle and porous material. The stone’s color can fade or change over time, and the stone itself is subject to cracking. High-grade turquoise stones don’t have many of these […]Read More
Is reconstituted turquoise real turquoise?
Is Reconstituted Turquoise Real Turquoise? At first glance, this looks like natural turquoise. But in reality this is reconstituted turquoise. It might have some real turquoise mixed in it during the making of it, but it is not considered natural. This type of turquoise is very common in the market, and it is also one of […]Read More
Frequently asked turquoise questions
How is Turquoise Formed? Naturally occurring minerals are separated into two categories: primary and secondary. Turquoise is a secondary mineral. Unlike base elements such as copper or silver, it forms over time. Two natural processes and reactions occur in order to form turquoise. Weathering sets the stage as water passes through rocks and minerals dissolve. Over […]Read More
8 tips for maintaining your native jewelry
Authentic handmade Native American jewelry is valued for its unique beauty and hand craftsmanship. Because the jewelry is handmade, using natural materials, it may be more vulnerable to damage than the generic mass-produced jewelry found on the market. Here are 8 tips to consider for maintaining your authentic handmade jewelry: Avoid Water Avoid submerging jewelry in […]Read More
What is tufa?
Tufa (also called tuff) is a type of volcanic stone. Massive volcanic explosions send millions of tons of ash into the air, which then settles in layers downwind. Over a long time, these ash layers are compressed into tufa, a light and porous volcanic stone. Tufa has been used by humans for centuries as a […]Read More
12 styles of Native American jewelry
12 Native American Jewelry Styles Native American jewelry is a cultural art form dating as far back as 8800 BC. In Nevada, olivella shell thought to date back to 6000 BC has been found. Bone and antler beads from 7000 BC were discovered in Alabama’s Russell Cave and copper jewelry was traded in 3000 BC […]Read More
The difference between handmade jewelry and craft work jewelry
Navajo handmade jewelry is different from hand craft work jewelry. George Francis a master Native American silversmith explains the difference between the two arts. Please support authentic Native American arts and subscribe to this channel as we will be releasing new informative Native American art videos every week.Read More