I think the very best souvenir from your trip to Santa Fe is to buy a nice piece of jewelry. Santa Fe is known for it’s unique Southwestern style and a big part of the Southwestern style is silver and turquoise jewelry. The Native Americans have a long tradition of making turquoise and silver jewelry. There were turquoise mines located just south of Santa Fe and the Native tribes traded and sold silver and turquoise jewelry for hundreds of years.
Native American or Southwestern style jewelry is very popular in Santa Fe and it is available in many shops around town. I recommend buying from the Native American vendors located at the Palace of the Governors directly on the plaza. If you buy from them you are assured to be buying from an authentic Native American artist instead of buying from one of the plaza shops which is probably owned by a rich Arab.
Only verified artists from local Native American tribes are allowed to sell at the Palace of the Governors. The person sitting with their goods on the blanket in front of them is usually the artist who made the displayed wares.
Part of the fun in purchasing jewelry from the vendors on the plaza is choosing your piece from the many, many, types and styles of jewelry available. You can talk to the actual artist and you will remember your conversation and purchase long after you have returned home.
I think a silver and turquoise bracelet is the quintessential Santa Fe souvenir and it is a purchase you will enjoy for years to come. Or, it is a gift that most would enjoy receiving. And you can be proud to support Santa Fe’s local Native American artists.