Turquoise type help

I bought this as real. It has a hairline crack in some tail feathers that they “painted” to match tan matrix. I did tooth and hot needle test. It is not plastic. I want to sell it, but I don’t want to mislead anyone. The lady had a receipt from shop that showed a price of $720 on sale for $350. I did see this bird is Michelle’s signature style and everyone was calling theirs turquoise. I’ve never seen turquoise with such a light matrix before (just haven’t been exposed to much turquoise in person period). Anbody know what is the turquoise type/mine? And why would she put a clear coating on the whole thing? Thank you in advance guys.


The turquoise could easily be Edgar #8. It has a very light sky blue with a tan matrix. It is not uncommon for inlay to crack, the turquoise is cut very thin and sometimes under stress in the setting. This is why stabilized turquoise is preferred for inlay work. I’m not sure what clear coating you are referring to as I can’t see it, might be some attempt at stabilization or is it an attempt to prevent the sterling silver from dis-colouring? Not sure on that one.

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Have you tried to find the artist or artist’s family if the artist has passed to see if they can ID the turquoise? I just sold some earrings this shade of turquoise and one had a faint, pale matrix this color that almost looked like a stain.

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This isn’t anything you would typically see in Zuni jewelry. I worked in Zuni with Zuni craftsmen for many years, and never came across the name Peina, anytime, anywhere.To me this looks like offshore production. Possibly Philippines or China.

A typical practice among less scrupulous, and often middle-eastern owned stores is to mark overseas sourced merchandise up 10 or even 12 times(or more), and then discount it 50% or more. Divide $350 by a factor of 5 or 6, and you’re getting close to actual dealer cost for something of this nature.


Stabilized turquoise is NOT preferred for inlay work among Zunis. And generally not in US made Native American or southwestern jewelry period. Natural turquoise is prized, and stabilized turquoise is viewed as generally bottom shelf, 2nd rate and undesirable.

When you see treated or stabilized turquoise in a piece like this one, it’s generally a dead giveaway that the item is foreign made, and not of US origin.


Perhaps that was once the case but no longer. Having personally dealt with many modern native artists and their suppliers, you will find that stabilized is more the norm these days.
Durango Silver has a good explanation A New Age Look at Stabilized Turquoise - Durango Silver Company as does Pueblo Direct " Stabilized turquoise is the most common type of turquoise found on the market today. As most turquoise that is mined is unusable in its natural state, stabilizing adds a tremendous amount of value to otherwise worthless material. The process of stabilization involves injecting lower grade turquoise with epoxy under heat and pressure. This process not only hardens the stone, but it deepens the color as well. Stabilized turquoise is most commonly used in making beads and inlay jewelry. Stabilizing works with turquoise of all grades, from chalk and above."
To say that stabilized turquoise is a dead giveaway to non US made goods is a disservice to the industry. Kingman turquoise has been stabilized since the 50’s and is one of the most commonly used turquoises in the industry.

PS. Michael Peina I believe belongs to the Bernard & Silva Peina of Zuni NM.


Ok thanks! The coating is bubbled on small left bird or it could be something spilled on it. I thought maybe since the jet was full in one spot maybe they put something on there to make it shiny. Also all she could tell me was she moved and couldn’t find the paperwork.

That was a good read!

There are a number of Peinas listed in Hougarts all from Zuni. There is a Michelle Peina with a ? for mark. (pg 284)

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I just googled “Michele Peina Zuni” and the same necklace as yours shows up. You should be able to find the info you need to be comfortable with selling it.

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Sorry Michelle not Michele

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I stand by my statements. This does not appear to be Zuni. I see the receipt but it doesn’t name the shop that sold this piece, or made representations regarding it’s origins.

BTW, Chaparral I wrote the Indian Arts and Crafts Associations commentary to the IACB prior to IACB and the Dept. of Interior promulgating current regulations.

If the seller does not have documents which establish this piece is as represented, you may report this directly to the IACB . https://www.doi.gov/iacb


From this site Michelle Peina | American Indian Jewelry
Has a photo of her wearing similar necklace with blue ribbon Shows her mark and has pieces available for sale. Looks legit to me.

Michelle Peina

Born in 1968. Growing up in Silversmith’s family, her maiden work was an inlay jewelery made from her mother’s extra silver at the age of 14. Helping, who was initially a big earner, eventually became her holiday hobby.

There was a time when I left jewelry production for raising children, but after the 2008 art craft show, I decided to go on the path of Silversmith in earnest. “Be proud of what you make as art, not work.” As her mother taught her, her work is all about jewelery that impresses collectors with a perfect finish.

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I bought from a lady selling off her own jewelry on Ebay (I know :roll_eyes:, I run about 50/50 happy with my purchase and aghast at my stupidity with them) Anyway she was supposed to include the receipts, didn’t and then lost them during her move to another state. I bought last year and hung onto it because it was cute and had a happy vibe. Just don’t wear it, lol.

Maybe I can find a way to contact Michelle and see if it’s hers, thanks!


I like Ebay, I have gotten some nice pieces there as well as Etsy. Ruby lane had Kenneth Begay earrings that sold for 195.00. Can you imagine? I prefer pieces that are signed and a seller who takes returns just in case. You may be able to contact her, its worth a shot though I think the link I sent you is proof enough that the mark is hers. You have to translate from Japanese to English

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I think I found her on FB, it looks like the lady in your link…just sent her a DM, will see how it goes…

I have gotten some nice things on Ebay too!

Maybe she can give you the lowdown on the turquoise

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