By Bill Donovan
You want to buy a ring or bracelet with real turquoise and you wonder how much it costs. Well, that depends on the type of turquoise and where it came from.
There is cheap turquoise you can buy for under a dollar a carat. This is the type you find in tourist shops or buy from a vendor that sells jewelry on the roadside, at flea markets, or from people who go around to restaurants in places like Gallup.
Navajo silversmiths who put out the higher quality rings and bracelets use grades that cost between $15 and $20 a carat and for those pieces they want to win awards with, they may seek a even higher quality that could cost $100 or more a carat.
The bottom line is you get what you pay for. If you just want something that looks nice on your hand, go for the cheaper stuff. If you want your friends to ooh and ahh, go for the jewelry from a Navajo silversmith who is known for his quality. And if you are a collector and want something really unique, go for the pieces that win ribbons at the Santa Fe Indian Market, Gallup Ceremonial or other Indian craft shows.