QUESTION: Will you e-mail me if someone defaults on an item on lay-away? Or, will you e-mail me if you get an item in stock that we have requested?
ANSWER: No. We will forget to do so, so why lie? We will, however, put it back on the web.
QUESTION: Can you make, or have something made, “to order”? Custom make something?
ANSWER: No. First of all, we do not make jewelry. The people we deal with who do make jewelry have their own designs, their own patterns, their own way of doing things, and they will not do this. That would be similar to asking your dentist to give you a hair cut. Secondly, they are so polite, they would say “yes, we will do it”, but 5 years later, you will still be waiting on it.
QUESTION: What about “white turquoise”, “white buffalo”, “sacred buffalo”, and “howelite” stones. What’s the difference – aren’t they all white?
ANSWER: White turquoise, sacred buffalo and white buffalo, to us, look the same. If there is a difference, we can’t tell it. We label it one way or the other depending on what our suppliers say it is. (Remember, we trust them). Howelite we can distinguish, and we label it as such. It is generally a cheaper, and not quite as pretty a stone as the others.
QUESTION: Are all the stones in your jewelry authentic? Any plastic?
ANSWER: We buy our jewelry from reputable sources who have a longstanding reputation of honesty. None of the stones are fake, to our knowledge, and should we find any that are not genuine, they would be destroyed . No one in this business lasts very long if they try to pass fake stones off on anybody. Good stones are not that expensive – so why risk your business on junk? Now, let me say this – sometimes it is almost impossible to tell the difference – so we can be fooled the same as anyone else. If you buy something from us and even think it is plastic, take it to a jeweler who knows his business and ask! If we send you something that really is plastic, send it right back, with a “hot” letter, and we will bend over backwards to correct the situation.
QUESTION: Do you have a lay-away plan?
ANSWER: Yes, and a very good one. See our Layaway Program Page.
QUESTION: Do you do repairs?
ANSWER: No, but we have a good working arrangement with artists who do repairs. See our page Jewelry Repairs and Warranty for details.
QUESTION: How about the metal? Is it all Sterling Silver?
ANSWER: There are some items that are not sterling silver – BUT – these items are labeled as such. All the jewelry shown on our web site is, in fact, sterling silver (as far as we can tell) unless otherwise stated. For example, some very old jewelry may be made of “coin” silver and we say so in its description, if we are aware of that. Also, some items contain some gold filling or are gold plated. This part, then, is certainly not sterling – it is a gold product. Some are made of copper, and we state that fact on their descriptions. We do feature some nickel silver products which are labeled as such, when we can distinguish it from sterling.
QUESTION: What, exactly is “Nickel Silver”
ANSWER: Nickel silver looks very much like sterling silver, and many less reputable shops sell nickel silver and represent it as sterling. Sterling silver, by law, must contain 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Nickel silver has no such legal requirement. Therefore, the silver content, if any, varies. The metal “nickel” is used in various concentrations with other metals, and the final results are pleasing to the eye, and usually do not tarnish as much as sterling silver. Normally the design, stones, craftsmanship, and general appearance will match that of items made of sterling silver.
QUESTION: What mine or mines does the turquoise come from? Is the turquoise treated?
ANSWER: We do not know which mines the turquoise is from – and neither does anyone else with absolute certainty. Some turquoise has certain qualities that INDICATE which mine it PROBABLY came from, but to say for sure is impossible unless you saw it come from the mine yourself. Which, obviously, we don’t see. Some turquoise is treated to make it more stable. Some people like treated turquoise, some do not like it, and 98% can’t tell the difference. We are among the 98%.
QUESTION: Do you really make total refunds for merchandise returned within 20 days, no questions asked?
ANSWER: Yes. That is how we built our business, and is why we have repeat customers. We will refund everything but the 10.00 S&H since we can not get that back either.
QUESTION: Is your “Indian Made” jewelry and other items really made by Native American Indians?
ANSWER: Much of what we sell is brought in by those Native American Families who make the products in their homes a few pieces at a time. Most of the rest of what we sell is purchased by us from other Trading Posts located in, or near, the Navajo, Zuni, Jemez, Acoma, or other Reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. These other Trading Posts purchase from the makers, or hire the makers to fashion the items offered, who are, to the best of our knowledge, Native Americans. We feature items which we know not who made them, because we are not present when they are made. When we buy these items, we buy them with the belief that they are Native American Indian made, but we can be fooled just as anyone else may be. That is why we trade with long-established traders who have a reputation of honesty.
QUESTION: How soon after ordering can we expect to get our merchandise?
ANSWER: We try to ship within 1 to 2 days unless there is a weekend or holiday involved. And mail delivery may be delayed somewhat, as we all know.
QUESTION: Why are your prices so low, when compared to tourist traps , and especially in nice jewelry stores in many places?
ANSWER: The Ugly Otter and his Beautiful Wife are both retired. We do this as a hobby. We do this to keep busy. We do this to have a purpose in life. And (why lie?) we like the extra income. This is a family operation, with our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, and we pay no rent, have low expenses due to this web site, and we know the value of the items we purchase. Therefore, our prices tend to reflect this.
QUESTION: How often is the web site up-dated?
ANSWER: Nearly every day (or every two days at the most, unless we are traveling) we up-date it by indicating the “Sold” and “On lay-away” items for that day (or maybe two or three days). Once a week we make major additions, after our return from buying trips to the Reservations. These buying trips are irregular, and made on an “as needed” schedule. If you are a subscriber to our e-mail list, we normally notify those on the list when we make major additions.
QUESTION: How can I polish sterling silver items?
ANSWER: You can buy a Jeweler’s Rouge polishing cloths. Or you can buy a product called “Tarnex” at Wal Mart for about the same price. Tarnex is a liquid that you can use as per instructions, and we have good luck with it, except we don’t use it on coral. It can cause damage to coral, and maybe other stones. Be cautious with it, and read and follow the instructions.