Case Trading Post
Santa Fe is ground zero for all things silver and turquoise, and the lower-level Trading Post at the excellent Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian is a good place for jewelry lovers to start. Modeled on a Navajo trading post of the turn of the last century, it’s stocked with beautiful pieces, a mix of antique and contemporary. The friendly staffers extremely knowledgeable (and as serious about their work as the salespeople at Tiffany), and are happy to share the stories about the artists, many of whom have worked with the Trading Post for decades. Besides jewelry, there are Native American books, pottery and textiles for sale. The products are expensive but, according to many Santa Fe locals, the real deal.
The Zuni of New Mexico, one of nineteen Pueblo tribes, are famous for their pottery, jewelry and fetishes. The venerable Keshi boutique (named after the traditional greeting of the Zuni people) specializes in the latter: small carved animal fetishes that are often referred to as good-luck charms but are, in fact, to be carried as a reminder of our connection to nature. The carved fetishes sold at this co-op are made in a variety of materials, including stone, marble, antler and serpentine. Many are adorned with turquoise, coral or mother of pearl. Handmade and truly Santa Fe, they’re authentic mementos.
Morning Star Gallery
If you’re interested in Native American art – antique and contemporary – the Morning Star Gallery should top your list of places to visit. Its display shelves are lined with museum-quality items, from pottery and baskets to fashion and jewelry, and the staff is well informed and happy to share stories about the exquisite handicrafts. You can always find interesting smaller pieces, such as a Sioux beaded baby bonnet – dating from 1880 and made with incredible skill and care.
Museum of International Folk Art Shop
Nedra Matteucci Galleries
Many consider this boutique, near the Palace of the Governors, the best for contemporary Native American art. The store, which opened in 1945, is renowned for its large selection of historic photographs by Edward Curtis, the famous photographer who documented Native American life in the early 20th century; he took more than 40,000 photographic images of more than eighty tribes. (Sadly, financial hardship forced him to sell the rights to the majority of his most important works.) When shopping at the Rainbow Man, don’t miss the innovative contemporary jewelry collection.