As a collector of authentic Zuni jewelry, it is important to be able to spot imitations. Unfortunately, not everyone can, and they end up with pieces that are not the same quality as the originals. To help you avoid this fate, here are some tips for determining if the Zuni jewelry you are considering is real.
Research the Tribal Jewelry
One of the best defenses you have against fakes is to learn more about the jewelry that is made within the Zuni culture. Small details, such as the animals that are significant to the tribe, can help you spot authentic pieces. For instance, Zuni tribes ascribe special significance to bears, eagles, and mountain lions.
Traditional jewelry pieces also are likely to include turquoise and coral. Some earlier works includes malachite, deer antlers, and spiny oyster shells. If you are shopping for pieces with turquoise, find out if the stone is natural, enhanced, or stabilized. Some turquoise has been reshaped and hardened with dust, so it is not considered to be natural.
Know the Language
When it is time to buy the Zuni jewelry, be mindful of the language that is used to describe the pieces. Sometimes, the language provides clues about the authenticity of a piece. You just must know what you are looking for.
For instance, jewelry that is "Zuni style" or "Zuni inspired" is not necessarily authentic. The jewelry is likely a replica of other pieces. It is important to not ignore the language. Authentic pieces can be worth quite a bit. If you hope to resale the pieces in the future or you plan to pass it down to relatives, you want to ensure that it is as valuable as advertised.
Watch Out for Mass Produced Jewelry
Due to the time it takes to construct authentic Zuni jewelry, it is unlikely that a dealer would have the same piece available to sell over and over. If it is available week after week, there is a good chance that it has been mass produced.
A reputable dealer should be aware of if the piece is authentic and can likely provide you with some information on the artist who crafted the pieces. He or she will even provide you with certification that states the piece is authentic.
Most dealers are trustworthy and committed to selling quality products. Once you find a Zuni jeweler with authentic pieces, there is a good chance he or she can help you with finding others. For more information, contact a business such as Reservation Trading Post of New Mexico.