Interested in American Indian arts & crafts? Do you want to know the cultural and symbolic significance behind these native handicrafts? Read our guide for more facts & information…
Indian arts and crafts are available in several forms such as traditionally woven baskets and rugs, jewelry, pottery, beadwork and kachina dolls. However, not too long ago these were just mementoes that were taken back from a road trip. But for the last few decades American Indian arts and crafts have garnered a lot of attention especially the jewelry and pottery. Today, American Indian arts and crafts with their many facets are appreciated as an art form which reflects the vitality, originality and excellence of the American Indian culture.
However since American Indian art and craft items are sold at fairly high prices there are many establishments that sell cheap knock offs. But if you are only interested in buying genuine American Indian arts and crafts here are a few tips to ensure originality
Make sure that you buy from an established dealer who is willing to provide you with a written guarantee or a certificate of authenticity. Get a receipt for your purchase stating the details about the product such as the material used, even if this was just mentioned verbally. For instance, if the salesman told you that the piece of jewelry you are buying is made of sterling silver with natural turquoise and is made by an American Indian artisan, make sure you get all of this down on the receipt.
If you are buying American Indian arts and crafts products at your local fairs, competitions or other such cultural events, ensure the authenticity of the products. You should generally get more information on this through the promotional flyers of the event. You should also get a written verification of authenticity from the seller
An object will qualify as an “Indian Product” only if it is manufactured by an Indian or Indians. Falsely implying that a product is made by a Native American artisan is a crime as per the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.
A reputable dealer should have no problems with giving you a written proof of authenticity. Other determining factors will be the price of the product and its appearance. Even though inexpensive souvenir type Indian jewelry is also available authentic, high quality Indian jewelry will be quite expensive.
If the jewelry is crafted out of silver, the designs on it will be very clear with no wavering lines, the stones used will be well cut and of the same size and they will fit snuggly into the setting. If the stone is poorly cut and you can see a large amount of the metal used underneath along with the colored glue you can be reasonably sure that it is a cheap imitation. An authentic piece of jewelry will also carry the hallmark of the artist who made it.