A New Mexican law called the Indian Arts and Crafts Enforcement Act prohibits misrepresentation of Indian arts. The target of the law is cheap knockoffs made in Asia.
"Misrepresentation runs rampant," says Zac Cox, whose grandparents have run the Rainbow Man store in Santa Fe since 1945. Their shop specializes in older American-Indian crafts and jewelry, sometimes called "old pawn" that was made from about 1900 to 1950. But even old pawn jewelry can be faked, an insult to the original makers who scraped up rare materials to create beautiful things.
"People don't realize how hard it was to create it," Cox says, pointing to a heavy turquoise-and-silver cuff bracelet circa 1930. Such bracelets can sell for about $350 to $1,500.