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Turquoise Jewelry in The Southwest

I've been traveling to the Southwest since the 1980s and collecting turquoise jewelry even longer. It seems that where ever I attended an antique event a piece of vintage turquoise came home with me for my collection. In fact, I have been buying turquoise since I purchased my first piece at 11 years old...uh...let's just say it was about 1971. Yikes! This is my first turquoise ring and I've had it all these years. 
So here is what I have found. There are of course many turquoise and Indian shops in the Southwest. Not all of them, in fact many of them are not Indian owned, nor do they carry authentic Indian made jewelry. They are filled with imports from places like The Philippines and owned or run by people who are not Native Americans, or even Americans for that matter. Even the reputable Gilbert Ortegas had a section of "Non-Indian" jewelry. It was labeled as such in a very honest way, but most shops are mis-representing their jewelry. I shopped many of these places and was lied to, mislead or given a sales pitch to by people who have no idea what they are talking about. So my advice to anyone traveling to the "tourist" spots in the Southwest, please buy from reputable dealers that are endorsed by the Navajo Nation. 
I was happy to see non-Indian artisans working with turquoise in the Navajo style. Here are some examples that I loved!
As I went from shop to shop and found knowledgable dealers that sold the real thing I learned that vintage pieces are the king. They are highly coveted. Don't get me wrong. The pieces made by modern Native American artists are highly prized and the work is masterful. But it was vintage that held value and stood out to me. (Not because I love it or anything at all!)
My friend and I were looking for a turquoise ring that she had imagined and had to find. I looked at a tray of about 50 rings. Price range was $75.00 to $379.00. In that tray there were two vintage Navajo rings. One was a stoplight ring with Bisbee turquoise. It was $595.00! The other one had one stone, Bisbee and was smaller and priced at $429.00.  Fred Harvey pieces had their own case! These two Fred Harvey rings below are part of my Friday jewelry show. She had these very same rings in her case priced $229.00 each. 
Jacla necklaces were over $2000.00. Nugget necklaces over $500, all of them. 
And then there was this table. The squash blossoms were over $6000.00. The large bracelet was $3300.00. On this table was a mixture of vintage and new. 
I was blown away! I knew that prices were going up and up. When I attend events, it is getting harder and harder to find pieces at great prices. I am also competing with buyers from Japan. They have huge turquoise stores there and drive the prices up.
So what I am saying is that your investment in turquoise is a good, solid one. Vintage is doing very well and held in high esteem. I must tell you this. DO NOT POLISH your vintage pieces if you can help yourself. You will devalue it. If it is solid black with tarnish, the needs to be cleaned away, but the patina must remain. 
As for me, I will continue to search for the best deals that I can find on Southwestern pieces for it is one of my passions. My job is to do just that. Find the best pieces and the best prices for you. 
Want a sneak peek at some of the pieces that will be coming to Yourgreatfinds.net? I will start listing them Friday night during my jewelry show. 
If you want to receive an email when this jewelry sale starts and would love to be a Yourgreatfinds VIP, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE.
To shop for Turquoise Now SHOP HERE.

 

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