Non Native American Fetishes'/Carvings

Hope this helps others.
I recently purchased some carved animals/birds that were made in Peru.
The seller said he purchased them in the 1980’s-1990’s. He has boxes of them.

Thankfully, most of these have a Peru label on the back and the seller was very honest where they came from.

They differ from Native American fetishes’ in many ways.

Here are some pointers on identifying if a fetish is Native American made vs an import.

  1. Material used. Most NA fetishes’ are made from higher quality stones than imports.
  2. Detail. Note that on these, there are lines carved in places, but minimal other details. On some, the legs/feet are very thick. Most NA fetishes’ are proportional.
  3. Eyes. Some of these have eyes glued on. Some have painted eyes.
  4. Subject matter. If a fetish depicts an animal/bird that does not have a significance in NA culture, then it is probably not NA. Some of the ones pictured are dinosaurs, pelicans, kangaroos. I have never seen a NA carving of these animals/birds.
  5. Price. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Granted, some great NA jewelry/fetishes’ can be found at random garage sales, thrift stores and auctions. It is good to look at the others items available at these places, especially the garage sales and auctions. Are there any other items which appear to be NA?

If you have any pointers when determining if a fetish is authentic NA, please add.

I plan on adding a wire wrap bail to some of the ones I purchased and selling as children’s necklaces.
The Dinosaurs will be displayed on slabs of Coprolite (Dino poop) and Dino bone. Feel this will be a good conversation starter for children who are attending shows/sales.


Good info, thanks! Fetishes are hard enough in person and even harder to shop online.

I bet the kids will LOVE those necklaces!


I agree! It can be a challenge to recognize Native American made jewelry. It is something you have to study, and look at! I love this forum, everyone here is so kind and has been very helpful in my learning. I know so much more than I knew a year ago. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Fern and everyone else!