Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paying deposits to Indian artists.

From time to time, we receive comments from readers referring to difficulties they have had in receiving goods they have prepaid for. Actually, it is not uncommon, although it usually is a matter of timely delivery rather than failure to deliver. 

There is an explanation. Native Americans for the most part live "in the now". (It is a condition many lifestyle coaches suggest for everyone). For American Indians, it is a cultural value. Very few of them have bank accounts. Their work product is their savings. When they are paid for something they have created, those funds go to pay for day to day expenses or to invest in more raw material. 

Similarly, when they are paid for something they are supposed to create, daily expenses have first call on those funds. Eventually, the item will be created. But if it is on display when someone visits them and if that person offers to buy it, it will be sold, with the artist's assumption that he or she will make something else to fulfill the order for which he or she has been prepaid.

There is no attempt at fraud in this arrangement. Ownership of the object does not pass until the item is delivered. Prior to that, it remains part of the artist's work in progress.

As a result, many newcomers to the Native American art trade get frustrated when they believe they have paid for something that has been delivered to someone else. In the mind of the artist, it is stil his or her property until it meets the artist's criteria for delivery. At that point, it will be delivered.

In thirty years of dealing with Native American artists, we have never failed to receive what we bargained for. We have, on more than one occasion, had to wait a spell for it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Weeks To Save on Pacific Northwest Tribal Art

Special Sale Alert 
from TribalWorks/Aboriginals: Art of the First Person

Beautiful plaques and wall art for your collector's home decor. Click the link and check them out.

Now, save 20% off tribal art objects from Salish, Squamish and other tribes of the Pacific Northwest.  

Sale ends December 15, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Last Day for Thanksgiving Half off sale

Our special "Half-Off" Sale on Native American jewelry ends tonight at midnight. Visit our Native American Jewelry website and find something you would like to save 50% on. Cut the listed price in half and that is your price.

We don't change the prices on the web site because we have hundreds of items to change.  And hundreds of items to change back when the sale ends.

And the sale will end. At midnight tonight. So, this is a serious sale, with serious endpoint. Take a look. Make an order filing out the secure order form or calling us a 800-305-0185.

You, or the person who receives your purchase as a gift, will have one more thing to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Beautiful jewelry vs. authentic beautiful jewelry

I was doing a little web browsing myself today and I came across something both interesting - and unsettling.

Let me start by saying that jewelry doesn't have to be authentic Native American jewelry to be beautiful.

But, if you admire Indian jewelry because of its roots in Native America Indian culture, you ought to be told specifically, that "Southwestern jewelry" that "looks" Indian isn't Native American jewelry unless it is specifically described as Native American. It often isn't even American.

Unscrupulous jewelry dealers, who often advertise as being part of a "tribe" promote for sale jewelry that is no more Native American than an assembly line somewhere in Asia. Sure they "look" Native American". They often are sold as being Native American-made. But they are not. They are ripped-off copies of authentic Native American Indian work and designs.

In at least one case, they are being priced well above what similar genuine pieces would be priced at. I guess it is so they can advertise 60% savings. But that is 60% off inflated prices that far exceed the value of the jewelry. So the buyers think they are getting a "great deal". In fact, they are overpaying for cheap imitations.

In addition, the makers and sellers of this phony art are cheating real Native American artists out of their birthright, their culture and their livelihood.

How can you tell when you are being deceived and being sold phony goods?

First, be suspicious of any jewelry sold on a Native American website that looks Native American but is described as "Southwestern". If it is the real thing, it will say so. The law requires it. A huge discount is also is a red flag. No one in the jewelry trade sells for less than the merchandise costs them. The only way they can give huge 60% discounts and stay in business is by buying cheap imitations and/or charging inflated original prices.

Second, if it is contemporary jewelry, the maker should be identified by name. It will either be signed or have a hallmark.(Yes, there are some simpler jewelry styles that are mass-produced by Native Americans and don't get signed by individual artists. But they are not high-end pieces.)

Third, if in doubt at all, ask the seller straight-on, "Is this jewelry made by an enrolled Native American tribe member? What's his/her name." Even sneaky-Petes won't outright lie about it. But if you don't ask, you don't get an answer.

Fourth, look for the Indian Arts & Crafts Association (IACA) logo on the website. Members vouch not to misrepresent non-American Indian art as what it is not.

In the end, no one can tell you what to buy or who to buy from. But you should know what you are buying and what its real value is, or you will be cheated.