11 Facts About Old Pawn Jewelry – National Rarities
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11 Facts About Old Pawn Jewelry

11 Facts About Old Pawn Jewelry

Contributed By: Dillon Marshall



Old pawn jewelry has an incredible story to tell. While you might think you know what old pawn jewelry consists of, we want to make sure you have the facts. Vintage Native jewelry carries quite the cultural legacy, and it’s important to recognize the importance of these longstanding traditional pieces.

Here are 11 facts about old pawn jewelry:


  1. "Old Pawn" is a term used for Native American jewelry, made by Native Americans, and worn by Native Americans, not for public production or the tourist trade.


  1. These old pawn pieces were taken to a Trading Post, where the items were pawned for a certain amount of money and then redeemed when the sum was paid back.


  1. The jewelry that is considered "Old Pawn" is extremely rare and valuable to collectors, as a truly authentic piece of jewelry, and made for Native American use.


  1. The term "Old Pawn" can even be used today, as pieces are still pawned to brokers. If the sum of money given in loan for the piece is not paid back in time, the piece will be marked "Dead Pawn" and put out for sale.


  1. “Old Pawn” Jewelry usually refers to the jewelry of older style as well. A piece made from a silver ingot, rather than sheet silver, is the first way pieces were made.


  1. Hand-drawn wire is also an older technique and can easily be identified when put beside a piece of pre-made wire.


  1. Stones in the older pieces will not be as great of quality as some of the pieces made in the 1940s to today. The Native Americans usually found these stones laying on the ground; stones were usually not mined for at that particular time.


  1. The very first pieces of jewelry made by the Navajos did not contain any stones. The first pieces with set stones were made around the 1880s.


  1. A lot of these older pieces have found their way into the market, by means of "Dead Pawn" or by being sold to individuals.


  1. Most of the older pieces that do have stones don't have many of them.


  1. Some examples of the older pieces are horse halter headstalls, bracelets, rings, squash blossom necklaces, concho belts, leather pouches with silver decorations, tobacco canteens, earrings, and Jacla necklaces.



We hope you are now a little more educated about old pawn jewelry. To learn more about these intricate vintage jewelry items, contact National Rarities today. We look forward to helping you find the ideal vintage piece for your collection.