Why is Native American art so expensive?

The expense of authentic Native American art is a sign of its lasting value and the extraordinary amount of labor, care and detail that goes into each piece. Authentic Native American artworks are handcrafted and, in many cases, handmade. A handmade Navajo rug can take up to 400 hours to complete, a basket weaver may spend many afternoons along the river gathering willow for baskets, and a potter may spend days making clay from natural materials gathered on the Pueblo. These artists are using the finest materials available and traditional methods that have been lovingly passed down from generation to generation, sometimes for centuries. These pieces should be admired and valued as works of fine art as well as being recognized and valued for their vital role in preserving historic art forms. The Native American artists we partner with are full-time professional artists who are at the top of their field and whose pieces have a premium value in the market. Their work is part of public and private collections around the world and has taken home the highest honors at Native American art shows. The expense of Native American artwork is a sign that you are not purchasing imitation manufactured wares. It is a sign of its authenticity, beauty and lasting value.

How do I know if my Native American art is authentic?

The origin and authenticity of many Native American artworks can be determined by the artist’s signature or hallmark. If the artist has a significant body of work, you should be able to find examples of their hallmark online or in Native American art reference books. If the signature or hallmark is not clearly discernible, we recommend that you take your piece to a certified professional to have it authenticated. Browse our selection of Native American art reference books.

How can I find out how much a piece of Native American art I own is worth?

We recommend taking your artwork to a certified appraiser specializing in Native American arts and crafts to properly appraise and determine the value.

What is the difference between handmade and handcrafted?

The term handmade is used to describe a piece that was made by hand from start to finish without any prefabricated materials. For example, a basket is considered handmade if the artist gathers and creates the materials from natural plant fibers, and a pot is considered handmade if the clay and pigments are made by hand from all natural materials. The term handcrafted is used to describe pieces that were constructed by hand using prefabricated materials or a combination of handmade and prefabricated materials. All jewelry is considered handcrafted since metals and gemstones are not gathered or created by the artist.

What are natural versus stabilized gemstones?

Natural gemstones have received no treatment other than cutting and polishing. Nearly all of the gemstones you see on Shumakolowa.com are natural. Gemstones that have an additional product added to it, such as epoxies or acrylic resins, are considered stabilized. Some gemstones are stabilized to prevent the stone from cracking during the lapidary process or after the gem has been cut. For extremely fine channel inlay, petit point and needle point work, stabilized gemstones must be used so they can be cut to such a small size without breaking. Dye stabilizing is a process where dyes and chemicals are infused into a stone by subjecting it to high pressure or soaking the material for a long period of time. Dyes are typically added to improve the appearance of a lower grade gemstone. You will not find any dye-stabilized gemstones at Shumakolowa Native Arts.

What is reconstituted and block turquoise?

Reconstituted turquoise is natural or previously stabilized material that has been pulverized into a powder, soaked in binders and then pressed back into a solid block. Lapis, coral and other semi-precious gems can also be reconstituted. Reconstituted gemstones have a much lower value that natural or stabilized gemstones. Block turquoise is not real turquoise. It is a turquoise emulation made from plastic, ceramic, or other material. At Shumakolowa Native Arts we do not carry any reconstituted gemstones or block turquoise.

Can I contact an artist directly?

At the request of the artists we partner with, we do not share their personal contact information with collectors. Many of these artists have websites with information about how to contact them.

Can I get a piece resized?

Please see our Size Guide for more information about resizing.

Do you do custom orders?

Please contact us for inquiries about custom orders.

What are your shipping options and rates?

We offer free standard shipping on every order of $100 or more that is shipped to an address in the continental United States. For more information about expedited and international shipping, please read our shipping policy.

Can I ship my order to an international location?

Yes. Find out more about our shipping policy.

What’s your return policy?

We gladly accept returns of all items for a full refund or exchange within 30 days of original purchase. Find out more about returns and exchanges.

How do I care for my Native American art?

Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care.For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.

Do you offer repairs?

Yes. We offer a 30-day Workmanship Warranty free of charge. After 30 days, we offer repair service for a fee. Please not that all items cannot be repaired. Read more about our warranty and repairs.

Is it safe to shop on Shumakolowa.com?

Yes. We safeguard the confidentiality of your personal information using Secure Sockets Layer ("SSL") for all financial transactions through this site. We are PCI DSS Compliant, which means: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for organizations that handle credit card and debit card information. Defined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, the standard was created to increase controls around credit card data to reduce credit card fraud via its exposure.