Saturday, February 16, 2008

What are links and why do we have them?

If you have visited our web pages more than once, you may see a page identified in one way or another as containing "links".

In many ways, links are the lifeblood of the web. With literally billions of web pages, how do you find the one you are looking for? Well, you can enter a known address (or URL) in the browser and go directly to it.

If you don't know the address, or can't remember it, you must turn to a search engine. Google is the most popular, although there are many more.

So how does Google sort out from all the web sites available, the ones that are most likely to have the information you are looking for?

For any given search term there may be hundreds of web sites that could apply. Of course, the more specific your search phrase, the less guessing room there is for Google. For example, "pot" will get you one result. "Pottery" will get something else. Native American pottery will get you yet another result. And so forth.

Which brings us to "links."

They work at least two ways.

First is that they give you someplace else to look if you don't find your answers on one web site. Look on their "links" page, if they have one, and they may list a number of similar sites that require nothing more than a click from you to take a look. The links list usually includes a short description of the content on the other end of the link. Moreover, the links listed are supposed to have been vetted by the site that lists them. They should be sites that the site owner trusts more than others.

That leads to the second role played by "links". Since it is almost impossible to know which web sites are the best matches for any given search phrase, the search engine relies heavily on what other web sites think are the most appropriate sites for any subject. It's almost as if the link is a vote of confidence from the web community. Therefore, the more links a web site has, the better suited it should be answer any particular question.

That's the theory. Practice often is different. There are web sites that sell links and others that have more than hundreds or thousands of links. These links are disorganized and hardly votes of anything except avarice or attempts to "game" the link system.

Nevertheless, links can be important assets for web sites and for web searchers when all these caveats are considered. If you are on a site that has no links, ask yourself why. If there are pages and pages of links, ask yourself why. If there are a few well-organized links for sites of appropriate subject to the site you are on, they can be excellent guideposts to save you time and send you to trusted sites.

We have four web sites that feature various aspects of tribal art. presents a wide range of authentic hand-carved fetishes, or spirit figures, from Zuni and other Native American carvers. The carvings are believed to have spiritual powers of protection, healing, cunning, wisdom and other valuable qualities. is more like a tribal pot-pourri with sections devoted to Australian Aboriginal art, Arctic art, African tribal art and Native American Navajo folk art. Each item has been hand selected by me and Susanne as something we like well enough to keep., as its name implies, offers beautiful jewelry in silver and gold, with turquoise, coral and other lapidary materials such as lapis, malachite, opal and sugilite. Every piece isl handmade with great care and devotion to the art.

Finally, is a feast of authentic Native American Indian Pueblo pottery, created by hand-coiling, hand-firing, hand-painting and polishing in the finest traditions of Native American pottery. (incidentally, there is a 20% to 40% off sale currently in progress at

Each of the sites includes a page of links that we have found to be generally appropriate and trustworthy. Of course, there is no way to guarantee that nothing has changed with any of these sites since we last reviewed them. The only thing we can guarantee is the quality of our own offerings. Which we do by giving you a 10-day period after you receive it in which to return any item from us.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

White turquoise and the sacred white buffalo

By William Ernest Waites

There periodically is a flurry of activity on the internet from people discussing, looking for or debunking so-called "white turquoise" or "sacred white buffalo turquoise."

It is a fascinating subject and one imbued with a touch of magic and mystery.

I recently read an article on the subject by a dealer who sells Southwestern art. This dealer claims to be very knowledgable about white turquoise. To give her her due, she does not claim to be a gemologist or a mining engineer.

She tells an interesting story, however, about the origin of "white turquoise and the legend behind "sacred white buffalo turquoise."

It seems it was discovered at a mine near Battle Mountain, Nevada. The mine owner had it assayed and determined that, despite its pale coloration, it was turquoise. Supposedly there was very small vein of it and the original miner has passed on, leaving the privately owned mine in the possession of his wife and children. They have decided not to continuing mining the vein.

As a result, it is even rarer today than it was when first discovered. Despite its rarity then, so rare that it was named by some in honor of the equally rare white buffalo, it was not very popular and was difficult to sell. Perhaps it was because, according to this source, it was first marketed as "porcelain".

Once it became identified as a very pale form of turquoise, with brown or black matrix and an occasional light blue or light green caste, it took on a special appeal. I suppose it didn't hurt to be associated with the sacred white buffalo.

Today, white (buffalo) turquoise is hard to come by. There are some pretenders, however. Howlite, a very white stone, is one.

Summary, if tempted to buy jewelry with white buffalo turquoise (supposedly) in it, be cautious. Be sure to reserve the right to have it evaluated by a certified gemologist, with a right of money-back return.

Actually, that is not a bad idea with any item of Native American jewelry or art. Any reputable dealer operating on line should allow you to inspect your purchase and return it within a reasonable time period if you are unhappy with it - for any reason.

That is a guarantee we offer at our web sites,,, and We welcome you to inspect your purchase, let us know within 10 days if it is not what you thought it was based on its web presentation, and return it for a purchase price refund.

Native American Sales at High Noon's Weekend

Reports from High Noon's Western Americana Sale weekend are very positive - at least for sellers.

A 1880s Navajo Pictorial Germantown blanket went for $74,750 after opening at $35,000 on a $50,000 estimate.

A pair of Sioux Child's pictorial britches garnered $24,150 and a Sioux pictorial beaded jacket with fringe brought a high bid of $12,650.

High Noon also sells other non-native items from the Southwest. The next auction is on February 6, 7 and 8, 2009 in Phoenix. Bring money.

For more information, try

This auction information is brought to you in the spirit of advancing interest in and respect for Native American history and art by William Ernest and Susanne Waites, proprietors of web sites offering high quality contemporary and historic indigenous art:,, and .

Who's being eBilked?

In case you have not been paying attention to what is happening on eBay, there have been changes. Can greed damage a great idea?

Changes to eBay's charge structure and other things have deflated the enthusiasm of many old-line eBay merchants.

The good news is that listing charges have been reduced. The "badder" news is that fees on sales have increased dramatically, taking a big chunk out of the sales revenue of any seller on eBay.

Another change that has eBay sellers aggravated is that buyers can continue to give neutral or bad feedback about sellers. But sellers can no longer leave negative feedback about errant buyers.

It all adds up to revolution in the trenches.

If you are an eBay buyer and not an eBay seller, you may be saying to yourself,
"What's the difference? It doesn't affect me."

Here's how it may.

Many eBay sellers are leaving eBay to sell on competing auction sites. That means fewer opportunities to find what you are looking for on eBay.

Here are a few new sites you might be interested in: reports that roughly 7,500 new sellers have joined the site in the last week. claims 33,000 active sellers and more than 1 million items up for sale. is a similar arrangement but different in that it is not an auction site per se. Rather, it has sellers state an asking price and invites buyers to make an offer. After that, they negotiate interactively until both sides are happy. They claim 75,000 sellers and about 1 million users since they started in 2002.

Then, of course, you can go directly to each online merchant. Our web sites, for example, at,, and are always ready to consider and offer. We don't accept them all but we do accept many, as long as they are reasonable. And we are never offended by any.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Yahoo Groups of interest to Tribal art collectors

Here are a couple of Yahoo groups that you may find interesting and enlightening as relates to Native American art and artifacts.

One explores (and exposes) eBay listings that the members feel have misleading attributions and descriptions.

The other is populated by fans of turquoise who discuss various turquoise varieties and their characteristics.

To join these groups, you must go to and sign up. You may select to get emails every time someone posts a message to the group, or to receive daily digests or to receive no emails but have access to the groups at Yahoo at your convenience.

As collector/dealers who are interested in both subjects, we are subscribers to both group.

Perhaps we will see you there. Susanne and William Ernest Waites, proprietors of Aboriginals Gallery and its web sites at,, and
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