I ordered two items yesterday, a needlepoint bracelet and barrette – are the turquoise stones mined turquoise or are they man-made? Looking at other online sites, I see a distinction being made and didn’t see a specific reference on your site. Thanks. Pat
The bracelet on the way to you is made from mined, clear Sleeping Beauty stones.
The needlepoint barrette made by the Nez family is made with mined turquoise stone and stones used for small needlepoint work are usually treated (stabilized) to prevent breakage of the tiny pieces.
So both pieces are made from mined turquoise stones.
We don’t state on each page that all of our new Native American jewelry items are made from mined turquoise because we only buy from artists who use real turquoise. You can read All About Turquoise and Mines here.
We never sell anything made from man-made stones unless it is so noted and they would usually be in our Bargain Barn where we list Non-Native American items or items we are not sure about.
We often purchase estate lots which include some non-Native American items or things we can’t authenticate. I’ll include some examples of those types of items below the Bargain Barn logo just to give you an idea.
The descriptions of the following 2 bracelets say:
“This bracelet came in an estate group along with other pieces that were verifiable Native American made pieces. But this one has an artificial patina on the sterling silver from an acid wash.”
Sterling Silver and Turquoise Bargain Barn Bracelet
Vintage Sterling Silver and Turquoise Bargain Barn Bracelet
My question is – How could you tell that it had an artificial patina? I didn’t know acid was used to produce patina (although I guess that’s what it does in the test for silver). I thought chemicals like liver of sulfur were used to patinate silver – like to darken the lower level in shadowbox and overlay jewelry.
That was a typo – it was meant to say “alkaline wash” or “has been antiqued” and I have made that correction on the description of those two bracelets – thank you very much for calling that to my attention.
Yes liver of sulfur is often used by Native American artists for shadowbox, storyteller, and overlay techniques to create a darkened background for contrast with the bright shiny sterling silver elements of a piece.
Antiquing is also used on sterling silver Navajo beads, such as these by Virginia Tso.
Antiqued Sterling Silver Navajo Beads by Virginia Tso
We know it is an artificial patina on those bracelets from the experience of seeing the patina on very old pieces (which is somewhat spotty) vs. patina which appears to have been applied (and seems more uniform like a wash).