Native American Jewelry – Appraisal and Investment

I love your blogs and all the insightful information. You’re doing a great job and a great service to those of trying to learn.

So, what does it normally cost to get an item appraised? How do you go about finding a trustworthy appraiser?

Basically, I’m gathering that you should buy what you love and if you’re given something or inherit something and you don’t love it, then find out the price, sell it and move on with life. But certainly, by all means, do not do something silly like buy Native American turquoise jewelry based on the investment idea. Correct?

Hi Terri,

Thanks. It is a labor of love, so its good to hear it is helpful and appreciated!

First question – how much does it cost to get an item of Native American jewelry appraised? From free to whatever the person charges. And a $200 appraisal does not necessarily mean it is better than a free one. With Native American jewelry, there are few certified appraisers but there are many knowledgeable people who can see quite a number of important details in a few minutes.

Second question – how to find a trustworthy appraiser? That’s a good question and one that I can’t answer with specific names. To find a certified appraiser, you might contact several of your local jewelers and ask for referrals. I typed in “native american jewelry appraiser” in google and there were quite a few interesting leads.

I am not an appraiser but more of an educator, sharing knowledge that I’ve gained from years in the business.

Final Question: Yes, buy what you love and enjoy wearing it. If you are given something that is not you, if it is a modest gift, you can regift it to someone who would appreciate it or if of significant value, sell or trade.

But as far as investment potential, I’d have to say yes and no. For the newer, less expensive pieces, buy them for the joy they bring to own and use and perhaps pass on to someone in your family.

Only if you are in the market for high end contemporary pieces or older, more valuable pieces and you have the knowledge and experience to know the difference between trash and treasures, should you consider Native American jewelry and art as an investment. Native American jewelry that was made in the 60s, 70s and 80s (and certainly before that) was often made with turquoise from mines no longer producing today. The silverwork was totally handmade, so these pieces have a greater value to a collector. There are many people who buy and resell collectible pieces of Native American art such as pottery, baskets, blankets and jewelry. But it is a field, like any other that requires knowledge or an experienced mentor.

I’m going to give you some examples. First using contemporary jewelry. Below is an example of an item that should be purchased for the joy of use, but not as an investment expecting future returns.

Native American Coral and Turquoise Bracelet by Albert Jake, Navajo

In contrast, below is a bracelet that could be purchased, carefully used or put away and then resold in the future for a profit. It is investment quality.

Inlay Double Spinner Bracelet by Don Carlos Dewa, Zuni

Now moving to used items, first here is an example of an older item that should be purchased to use and enjoy.

Vintage Zuni Turquoise Petit Point Bracelet

And here is a bracelet that has value to a collector so could be purchased as an investment.

Zuni Inlay Bracelet by Paula Panteah

If you browse the sold sections of the pawn shop (the bottom of each section page) you will see various pieces that have sold and there is a wide range from user friendly prices to investment quality items.

Horsekeeping Pawn Shop and Bargain Barn


31 thoughts on “Native American Jewelry – Appraisal and Investment

  1. I have a necklace given to me by my mother that she had for over sixty years. I was raised in Los Alamos new Mexico and the necklace is native American made. I an curios about it’s origami and value.

  2. I have a necklace that was given to me. I know nothing of it’s origin or it’s value. Could you help me with that?

  3. I have about 20 rings that i inherited from my aunt that she bought in the 60’s & 70’s that are southwestern,Navajo,Zuni and are very unique.She was a collector.I have been looking on the computer for 5yrs. now at numerous sites but none of the rings are like mine,quite large with multi-colored stones and shapes of turquoise and coral,etc.Sterling silver.

  4. Hi there, I am from anchorage alaska and I picked up metal detecting and today I made quite a find, there are a couple of ski hills that date back to the 1950/60’s that I went searched at, I found a target at the stump of a tree then about 8 inches below the surface I pulled out a very heavy and very large ring, it has a native mans face on it on a large flat platform, if you could email me and tell be anything about it that would be amazing! And so exciting!!!!

  5. Hello Paula,
    My mother’s estate has quite a lot of silver and turquoise jewelry that she has been collecting since the 50’s. We have had the rest of her jewelry appraised but the jeweler didn’t work with silver or turquoise. If I send you photos could you give me an idea of their value?
    Cynthia Friedrich

  6. hi i was given a bag of turquoise stones and I am curious to know anything about them if you could look at them for me I’d be so appreciative or any information you might know about them, I can send pictures, thank you!

  7. Paula I could really use your help. I recently aquired two very nice turquoise necklaces, both of them are new in boxes but since I live in Oklahoma I don’t have anyone around here who can help me with finding out their value.

  8. I have inherited quite a bit of finished turquoise, what is the best way to have it appraised? I live in San Diego County

  9. I have a turquoise necklace I bought in the 80’s. At the time I was told that the turquoise was from a mine that was no longer producing. The necklace is 24″ graduated turquoise disks with 3 approximately 3/4″ silver beads that have engraving. The necklace has a bear pendant with turquoise, mother of pearl and, I think, carnelian inlays. On the back of the pendant “Val Coriz” (I think that is the correct name) is written in the silver. Would you be able to give me an idea of its value? Thanks!

  10. I have four Hopi cuff bracelets (very wide). Two are matching cliff-dwelling scenes by Watson Honanie. I think these are from the 70’s. A third is a very old? Bernard Dawahoya of dancing kachina figures. The last is a very old? Lawrence Saufkie that is a pictorial scene of some kind of serpent from the underworld battling with kachina figures. Any idea how much these are worth and/or who could appraise them for me?

  11. I have an lincoln wallace American Native Raven pendent and the pin part that you stick through your clothes the arm only is broke off but was wondering what it’s value would be worth and how old ..

  12. Hi,
    I have a piece a cuff with an insciption on it in the inside of the bracelet. I was looking for someone to tell me what it says. Thank you so much , Jen

  13. I have a cuff bracelet that tells the story of life on the reservation.. Has a gold Rising Sun and a gold Setting Sun inside. It is titled “Finished Rug” 1988 Sterling silver.

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