Authentic Zuni jewelry is Native American jewelry. Authentic Zuni jewelry is made by Native American tribes. It is important to purchase authentic Zuni jewelry and not copies of Zuni jewelry so that you support the culture and well-beings of the Native American culture that Zuni jewelry originates from.
#1 Check The Language
The first thing you need to do to make sure that you are purchasing authentic Zuni jewelry is to check the language that is used with the jewelry. It is illegal to present Native American jewelry, or jewelry from any culture, as being authentic if it is not.
However, there are tricks that companies use to make it seem like their jewelry is authentic without using the word authentic. It is common to say that something is in a certain style, such as Hopi style or Zuni style. Being in the style of Hopi or Zuni jewelry means that the maker drew upon the historic or artist style of that culture without actually being from that culture.
A Zuni style piece of jewelry and an authentic piece of Zuni jewelry are two different things, the first which draws on Native American culture and the second which is an authentic representation of Zuni culture.
Anyone who is creating and selling authentic Native American jewelry should be able to identify which tribe(s) the jewelry creator(s) came from. It should be easy to find out the origins of the jewelry makers and where the jewelry came from, especially when selling new and not antique Native American jewelry.
#2 Look Out for Overproduction
When purchasing authentic Zuni jewelry, you should be aware that it is not mass produced in a factory. It is hand made by Native American artists. With Zuni jewelry, each piece should be unique. There may be pieces that are similar and that follow the same pattern, but the pieces should not be identical like you see when you go to a department store to purchase jewelry. Jewelry that looks like it was made for a department store is a sign that the Zuni jewelry you are looking at may not be authentic.
Keep out eye out for the workmanship that a hand-made piece is going to display. High quality stones that fit well with the jewelry will be used. Loose stones that don't seem to fit the piece and are held together with glue are a sign of poor craftsmanship and often a sign that the piece is not authentic. Look for the care and attention that a handmade piece of jewelry exhibits.
#3 Certificate of Authenticity
Finally, when purchasing authentic Native American jewelry, such as Zuni jewelry, you should be able to obtain a certificate of authenticity or a document that provides you with details about the jewelry. This document should state who made the jewelry and what Native American tribe or culture the jewelry is from. It should also include information about the material that was used; where the stones untreated? Are they natural? Was real leather used?
The documents you get with the jewelry should allow you to show where the jewelry was from, who made it and the source and type of materials used in the production of the jewelry.
Zuni jewelry is very beautiful to behold and will be a great addition to your jewelry collection. Make sure when you purchase Zuni jewelry, you are purchasing authentic Zuni jewelry and supporting the people and culture the jewelry came from, and are not purchasing Zuni style jewelry that doesn't support or fully honor the culture that it draws upon. Contact a dealer, like Reservation Trading Post of New Mexico, for more help.