Fake vs Replica

I am trying to be ethical.

In the 1980’s I was educated by Navajo craftsmen in how to make cabochons and jewelry. Where to purchase high quality supplies. Have been doing it ever since.

I market my items as Southwest Style or Navajo Style.

I am part Native American, but not Navajo.

Am still using materials purchased in the 1980’s on or near the Navajo Reservation.
Some materials I made under the guidance of others.

The materials include hand carved fetishes, heishi beads, Turquoise cabs, natural red coral cabs, hand made sterling settings, ring blanks and embellishments, hand made/machine made sterling beads and others.

I try to be up front with everything I make. All pieces include a tag stating the materials used.

I do not use a hallmark on any pieces. I do include a Sterling stamp purchased in the 1980’s on Sterling pieces.

I had some great teachers, hopefully evident by my profile avitar. I made the ring.

After following a recent discussion here, I was forced to ask this question.
Is what I am doing ethical? I love making this style of jewelry. Also make some more modern styles, but using what I was taught to do long ago, is the most rewarding.
I have hoped that no one who purchases any of my creations tries to market them as Navajo.

Any thoughts appreciated.


I think you should continue to do work that makes you happy. If you are concerned that someone might resell your work as something other than what it is, why don’t you design a hallmark for yourself. That should help with identifying the work.


You are doing everything correctly. I agree a hallmark is needed. Even the best resource books list Anglo Silversmiths because it is truly in the Native American Style. As for being part Native American I would use caution there. I am half Cherokee and on the tribal role, but I never refer to my creations as Native American. Personal decision I made based on respect for the full bloods. Some tribes see one drop of Native blood as belonging, others not so much. I would rather err on the side of caution.


I think you are doing the right thing but yes, get a hallmark. Also when you list something, put a blurb in your profile as “Navajo trained” or something to that effect. That will help make it clear that you are not Navajo yet admire their style.