Tips for Selling Your Native American Jewelry

In these tough economic times, we are receiving increasingly more offers to buy your Native American jewelry. While we like to help and respond to every query, we can’t buy it all !! So I thought I’d outline some options for turning your jewelry into cash.

To prevent disappointment, follow these tips before you price and offer your item for sale:

If it is a vintage piece, don’t clean it with silver polish before you show it for sale.

Examine it carefully for any signs of damage: missing stones, cracked stones, bent silver.

Know what you have. If you are going to advertise a pieces as sterling silver and turquoise, be sure it is sterling silver and made with real turquoise stones.

Do your homework on hallmarks and artists. Be prepared to supply receipts of purchase, certificates of authenticity or other verification if you are selling highly collectible and more expensive pieces.

Once you think you know what you have, you need to establish value.

To get an idea of what your jewelry will bring on the market, read “What is my Squash Blossom Necklace Worth”

Once you’ve established your asking price, write up an honest, detailed description with as much factual information as you have including metal, stones, size, weight, all dimensions, hallmarks, condition and anything else to help the buyer know what you have. 

Now there are a number of sales avenues you can follow.

  1.  Private sale – Here is where you would be most likely to get the highest price for your item because you are selling directly to someone with no middle man. A private sale might take place by word of mouth or via a newspaper ad (either print or online).

  2.  Yard sale – If you or a friend or family member is having a yard sale, it might be a good place to offer your items for sale. Few associated selling costs and usually quick, cash transactions.

  3.  Local flea market – Some flea markets offer to sell things on consignment or they offer booths where you can sell them. But since many large markets are designed to have unattended booths, security is one of the main issues I see with this approach because the flea markets are often huge and don’t have staff monitoring the spaces. Flea Markets are great for that butter churn that nobody could sneak out under their T shirt but if you leave small jewelry items out on a table, they could disappear. If you lock them in a cabinet, the customer would have to find a market employee to open the cabinet in order to see the item.  So not the best in my opinion.

  4.  Pawn Shop – When you sell Native American jewelry to a pawn shop, plan on being offered scrap value. Read about how scrap value is calculated in “What is my scrap sterling silver jewelry worth?” 

  5.  Auction – There aren’t many auctions specifically devoted to Native American jewelry around the country and those that are, would be located in the southwest and probably would be comprised of major, more valuable pieces. Auction commissions run about 30% of the final value and there might be other fees tacked on such as a 10% buyer’s fee, a reserve fee, a withdrawal fee, shipping fees and others. Auctions are usually not suitable for the average Native American jewelry – only the highly collectible items and at targeted auctions. So a bracelet that brings $500 at auction will likely net you $250 to $350.

  6.  On line auction – Many auction houses hold the sale live at a particular location but also accept bids via internet, telephone and other means.  With that said, there are also auctions that are solely held on line. eBay is a subtype of that which I will cover next, but there are a number of other on line auctions that would be suitable venues for selling Native American jewelry. I’d suggest typing “Native American jewelry auction” in your favorite search engine and browse through the results.  Commissions and fees will be similar to those of conventional auctions. You will be responsible for providing information on the piece and shipping costs.

  7.  eBay is a self-serve auction format that is going on all the time. You take your own photographs, write up the item descriptions, set your asking price, buy-it-now price, reserve, and shipping costs. You are responsible for your claims, so if you say something is sterling silver, it must be, or the item could be returned to you. Once you get your account set up and listing ready, you basically wait to see if anyone is interested. If your item sells, you will pay eBay a 10% commission plus other fees including a listing fee and 2.9% fee for accepting payment through PayPal. So figure you’ll end up with 85% of the final price.  So that $500 bracelet will net you $425 IF it sells. Be sure you read the article I refer to above where I suggest using eBay as a way to help you establish the market value of your item. If you list an item at a realistic price, it will sell more quickly.  So if you see that very similar bracelets have sold between $300-425 on eBay and you ask $500 for yours, you might end up re-listing it several times, each time incurring more listing fees and not taking in any money. If you ask $300, it might sell quickly but then you’d only net $255 on that sale and you might wish you had asked more. There is usually a sweet spot, maybe $375 where you might have to wait a little longer but when you get your 85%, it will be $319, maybe a little closer to what you feel you can accept financially and emotionally to part with your piece. To get a close estimate as to what it will cost you to sell you item on eBay, you can use their fee calculator.

 8. Sell at wholesale to a retail store.  If you have inherited a large number of items or have been a collector yourself and need to sell a number of items, it might be most time and cost effective to sell the lot to a retail store, such as ours at .  We have purchased jewelry in lots from 2 pieces to over 1000 pieces. We pay wholesale prices and pay immediately on an agreement on price. To read about our buying process you can read Do We Buy Native American Jewelry?


When people send us a lot, we appraise it and make an offer. 99% of the customers are very satisfied with our offer. On a few occasions, the customer says they would rather keep it than sell it. A few say they want to try to get more for their collection…….but then a month or so later, contact us again and say they will gladly take our offer. I’m thinking that the time and money needed to successfully market the items proved to be greater than they estimated.

I hope that this helps you find some avenues to sell your Native American jewelry when you need to, but if you don’t have to sell it, wear it !!

17 thoughts on “Tips for Selling Your Native American Jewelry

  1. As I’ve said before, your website is outstanding! I’m assuming this latest article I just read is new. It is very informative and after reading the options on selling my jewelry, I still think selling to you might be my best choice. My problem is that my collection is so large to sell via e-mail and photos seems impossible. I’m in a Fraser, CO half the year–3 months in the winter and 3 months in the summer. We’re heading south Monday, but will return in early July and will be here through September. I’d like to show you my whole collection. I think we’re a couple of hours from your location. Do you ever travel to examine a collection, or make appointments to have jewelry brought to you? I fully expect to sell to you at a wholesale price. I realize that to cover your overhead and effort you need to be able to at least double your cost. When I look at the items on your website, I see that many of my pieces would “fit”. I’m interested in selling a few select pices, or a variety of items. I just want to sell to someone who is knowledgable about the jewelry. Thanks for reading all this. I know you get thousands of pieces of correspondence. I wrote to you about my collection last year. It consists of pieces my sister and I gleaned during the 70’s and 80’s from totally reputable sources as well as from individual Native Americans.

  2. Great advise . I have A very nice Squash blossom. My mom bought in 1970 for 400.00 .
    I am very curious what its worth ,and maybe I,interesred in selling . Please contact me on my email if interested . thank you.

  3. Thank you! This was very helpful in my situation. I am picking up my late father’s work making American Indian Jewelry. I find it harder than I remember so mutch has changed in the last 30 years. All of my fathers contacts have past away.
    Sincerely Timothy F Steele son of the late Charles D Steele

  4. I have a Squash Blossom necklace from the 1935 to 1940. It is from the state of Washington the Indian tribe Is Lummi. It is signed by an artist but can’t make it out
    Completely. It’s a very unique piece. It is made up of sterling silver, coral, and king men tourqoise. I am wanting to sell it. I have had it appraised. But would like a second opinion. Don’t get me wrong I like the he number the person gave me. Basically Ian asking if you would be interested in checking it out for me?

    Kind regards,

  5. I have a turquoise bracket it’s silver with three small stones I also have three turquoise set in. silver I need top dollar for them I’m disabled and trying to survive until I receive my back pay and settlement.How much can I get for them

  6. I like that you mentioned that a private sale is most likely where you’ll get the highest price for your items. A friend of ours gave my wife a bunch of Native American jewelry as a thank you many years ago, and we found it while going through our belongings in the basement. Being able to sell them for what they’re worth would be a huge plus for us.

  7. It is in reality a nice and useful piece of information. I’m happy that
    you just shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

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