Do We Buy Used Native American Jewelry? Updated 2014

Do We Buy Used Native American Jewelry?

Vintage Native American Pawn Shop


I have a lot of very old Native American jewelry, in these difficult economic times I feel I might need to sell some of them even though it breaks my heart. I would not ever have thought I would contact someone about these. I also have a huge collection of baskets, carvings, and original artist’s drawings & paintings. The jewelry is: one very large turquoise stone bracelet over 150 years old, a necklace on string that has large chunks of turquoise separated by black tubes of a stone the turquoise gets smaller as it gets closer to your neck, handmade silver beads held together with old silver chain, many other sets of Indian jewelry, rings, and bracelets from the 1960- to 1979ish times. Are you interested in the newer pieces from the 60-late 70’s? Thank you for your time. J

Yes, we do buy used Native American jewelry for our Internet Pawn Shop, but read this entire article to understand a little bit more about older Native American jewelry.

Navajo pawn turquoise naja squash blossom necklaceWhat Do I Do with My Wife’s Jewelry? – We are often contacted by people who either have inherited a relative’s collection or who have been collectors themselves and need to downsize. In both cases, often a person’s perception of the value of an item or a collection is influenced by their emotions and what they “feel” something is worth. In the case of a widower dispersing his wife’s jewelry, it is easy to see that there could be emotional attachment to the pieces. And if a collector has certain memories associated with a piece, that piece is worth more to that person because of the emotional element.

Factors that Affect Value of Native American Jewelry – Navajo pawn turquoise bear claw braceletLike other goods, Native American jewelry value is based on certain criteria. These include:

  • Authenticity
  • Documentation
  • Hallmarks
  • The artist’s reputation
  • The scarcity of the artist’s work
  • The age of the piece
  • The quality of workmanship
  • The condition (see specifics below)
  • The weight of sterling silver and gold used
  • The quality and size of the stones used
  • The overall aesthetics of the piece.

Patina, the tarnish that forms on sterling silver, is not a problem, in fact, to many collectors it is an asset. So before you sell vintage pieces or get them appraised, don’t clean them up !

Cracks, broken stones, missing stones, loose stones, misshapen bracelets, missing fasteners and bent pieces are a different story – they all decrease the value of the piece. Repair of vintage Native American jewelry is an art. To replace a stone in an inlay bracelet or a squash blossom necklace from the 1940s and have it “blend” is difficult to do. As we appraise a damaged piece, we have to factor in whether it CAN be repaired and the repair costs.

Navajo pawn turquoise watchBefore you contact us about a piece you have for sale, please inspect it carefully with a magnifying glass for missing pieces, cracks, chips, and other defects. In the majority of lots we have purchased, although all might be said to be in undamaged condition, there are always a few pieces that have one piece of inlay missing or a couple of broken or replaced stones in a turquoise necklace or other such things. We assume they were just missed by the seller but the fact that they are damaged usually means that we value them very low or at zero when making an offer.

Establishing Value – Quite often a seller will contact us after they have taken the collection to a pawn shop or a precious metals buyer and learned that the only offer they will get there is scrap price (the value of the meltdown of sterling silver and gold) for their collection. They are heartbroken at the thought of seeing such fine and cherished work destroyed. In some cases like that we come to the rescue and find good homes for pieces in the collection!

In other cases, a seller will take their items to a knowledgeable person and learn that what they thought was sterling silver is not. Or that the items were made in Mexico or Asia and although they have a Native American look, they are not authentic Native American Made. Even if the seller does his or her homework, and in good faith sends what he thinks is a Native American collection, when we receive it, 20% of the items are either not authentic Native American made or have some damage that decreases their value. Those items usually go into our Bargain Barn which is like a garage sale on the internet –a place where things go where the origin is unknown or the item is in rough shape.

Have you ever watched Pawn Stars? Rick Harrison will call in an expert and that expert will authenticate a piece and give it a value in front of the seller. “You have a nice XYZ here and in a collectors auction, it could go for $2000” so then Rick will turn to the customer and ask, “So what do you want for it?” and the seller says “How about $2000?” Then we get Rick’s endearing laugh and he says, “How about $500?”

Navajo pawn turquoise coral bolo tieDon’t expect to get retail or close to it when you sell a collection or even a single piece. It just doesn’t work that way. As Mike Wolfe often says on American Pickers, “There has to be some meat left on the bone” for us to handle the piece and find a buyer.

We do not do appraisals for estates or insurance purposes. We do not make offers based on photos. We evaluate items and collections that are sent to us following the process outlined below. That is how we arrive at an offer.

The Buying and Selling Process – In a nutshell, here is how the process goes:

Send us an email. (visit our website to contact us) briefly outlining what you have. Do not send unsolicited photos, they will go to SPAM and we will not see them.

If it sounds like something we might be interested in purchasing, we will ask for one or two group photos and your asking price. Please only send a few photos. We will ask for more if we need them.

If it seems like the items would be of interest to us and are within our budget, we outline the following procedure:

  1. The seller ships the collection to us at their expense, carefully wrapped and insured, and with a detailed list of contents. Do not send any jewelry without contacting us first – read this article.  Shipping address is Horsekeeping LLC
    PO Box 140
    Livermore CO 80536
  2. Upon arrival, we closely inspect each item, research the documentation or hallmarks, and assign a value to each piece.
  3. We make an offer on the collection.
  4. If the offer is accepted, we pay promptly via PayPal or check.
  5. If the offer would be rejected, we would ship the lot back to the seller, insured and at the seller’s expense.

Because of the above detailed process and the fact that we offer fair prices, in all the years we have been doing this, we have come to an agreement with all but one seller – we have only had to return one collection. As they say: a win-win situation.

Contact Tip from Paula: Please contact me via e-mail about items you want to sell. Phone messages will not be answered. We ARE interested in hearing what you have for sale and ask that you follow our guidelines.

Native American Jewelry Blog tips and iinformationCustomer Comments

“I can see why you were recommended to me concerning my [bear claw] necklace. You are very, very thorough! I believe you are trustworthy and I will take your offer as fair so that the necklace is yours. I know if [you find] they are real bear claws, you will send me another payment. Thanks so much for taking the time and making the effort and being fair and honest.

“Received the second payment and the transaction is done and the necklace is yours. Thank you again for your help, honesty and fairness in working with me.” – Deb

My check arrived in the mail today! Thank you so much!! You have been great to do business with! I appreciate you sending the money out so quickly, and for also answering my emails in a very timely manner!” – Alice

“I received the check today and thank you. It has been a pleasure working with you.” – PN

“Thank you and I really wasn’t sure about any of the items. You sent a nice informant letter about them. If you would like to send a check to me for the items that would be fine. I do not know how to use PayPal. Thank you again for sorting thru the jewelry. You were very good to work with.” – Pat

“I wanted to sell a Navajo Pearl necklace I no longer wore and contacted Paula at Horsekeeping LLC. She responded right away and sent me the protocol to follow for sending a picture and then the necklace itself. She offered me my asking price for the necklace and promptly sent me payment. I was so happy I contacted her. Paula commented that they were fair in their offers, and I found this to be true. And I was particularly pleased with how prompt, friendly and professional she was. Thank you.”

“I am beyond satisfied with the professionalism of Paula and Paula’s ongoing communication and expertise is unmatched and I couldn’t be happier with the result- the sale of my mother’s entire collection of Indian Jewelry. The process of sending the collection, Paula’s confirmation of receipt of the packages and the offering of a quote to purchase was seamless. I would highly recommend buying or selling with their company as they are honest and completely trustworthy.” – Alisa

I can’t say enough good things about my satisfaction with your company. I didn’t know a thing about your business when I made contact and asked if you were interested in buying my collection of turquoise jewelry. But after making contact with your helpful staff, I felt at ease to send the items to you for consideration. I suggested a price that I thought was “workable” for both of us – and you agreed! I would recommend Horsekeeping.Com to anyone who’s searching the Internet for a trustworthy buyer for turquoise jewelry. The process is fast and worry-free! – John

I accept your offer. This evaluation (of my pawn jewelry lot) is wonderfully thorough. No wonder you have so many happy customers! Thanks!” – Deb

“I had a great experience with Paula from Horsekeeping. She worked with me quickly and professionally to evaluate my items and paid me right away for them. Now they are on their way to happy homes! I would highly recommend working with Horsekeeping for buying and selling Native American jewelry.” – Jaime

“Regarding vintage jewelry lot [you recently purchased from me]: Honest appraisal and deep passion for their work! A wonderful and knowledgeable experience. Service was : fast, reliable and integrity was excellent! My items will now enrich and reward someone else’s life.” – Kristie

“Yes, all went well (with selling you my jewelry collection). Thanks for following up. You have been ever so nice.” – Jane

“Thank you for the offer on my jewelry. I accept it. It’s been a pleasure dealing with you.” – Pat