Buyer Beware! New Mexico Shop Busted for Selling Filipino-made Jewelry

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown November 1st, 2015 Last Updated on: November 1st, 2015

Via Flickr/ Woody Hibbard

Via Flickr/
Woody Hibbard

KOAT News 7 out of Albuquerque reports that Federal authorities have charged three New Mexicans accused of selling Filipino-made jewelry as Native American jewelry.

Sixteen search warrants were executed in New Mexico and California Wednesday. As part of the warrants, federal authorities searched two shops in Albuquerque’s Old Town — Gallery 8 and Galleria Azul — as well as shops in Santa Fe, Gallup and Zuni.

The four-count indictment charges Nael Ali, 51, Mohammad Abed Manasra, 53, and Christina Bowen, 41, with conspiracy to violate the Indian Arts and Crafts Act and three violations of the act.

Ali is the owner of the two Old Town jewelry stores that were raided and purport to specialize in the sale of Native American jewelry. Bowen was formerly employed as a store manager by Ali. Manasra holds himself out as a wholesaler of Native American jewelry.

So how can you make sure what you're getting is authentic? It can be tricky but there are a few tips that come up time and time again. One of them is looking to see the silversmith's signature or hallmark on the jewelry. If you're buying turquoise it should be stated whether the stone is natural or stabilized. Since turquoise is difficult to work with, some legitimate artists will apply a coating or resin to make sure the stone's color and strength stay consistent for the life of the piece. Also beware of repetition of jewelry in a store. If there are a whole bunch of one piece it's most likely mass produced.

Try and get to know your artisans though! That's why I love shops like Beyond Buckskin because they highlight the artist and you know you're getting unique pieces.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Art » Buyer Beware! New Mexico Shop Busted for Selling Filipino-made Jewelry

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Thank you Feds for coming down on these owners. It’s people like these that are ruining the market for the REAL artists. There are too many in Gallup as well.

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