Nowhere are the jewelry and crafts of Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi tribes less expensive than in Gallup. The most intriguing places to shop are the trading posts and pawnshops, which provide a surprising range of services for their largely Native American clientele and have little in common with the pawnshops of large U.S. cities.
Navajoland pawnbrokers in essence are bankers, at least from the Navajo and Zuni viewpoint. Pawnshops provide safekeeping of valuable personal goods and make small-collateral loans. The trader will hold on to an item for months or even years before deeming it "dead" and putting it up for sale. Fewer than 5% of items ever go unredeemed, but over the years traders do accumulate a selection, so the shops are worth perusing.
Most shops are open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. For a look at everything from pawn jewelry to Pendleton robes and shawls to enamel and cast-iron kitchenware, visit Ellis Tanner Trading Company (tel. 505/863-4434; www.etanner.com), Hwy. 602 Bypass, south from I-40 on Hwy. 602 about 2 miles; it's at the corner of Nizhoni Boulevard. Also try Perry Null-Tobe Turpen's Indian Trading Company, 1710 S. Second St. (tel. 505/722-3806), farther out on Second Street; it's a big free-standing brick building full of jewelry, rugs, katsinas, and pottery.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.