Hello friends! This guide is to help prevent others from being ripped off by certain sellers on ebay who claim to Represent the Romani culture. I have had many emails from people asking me about an item they bought or were going to buy, wanting to know if it is authentic or not. Since ebay does not recognize the Romani as a valid ethnic minority as they do others like the Native Americans, it is being monitored by a national organization called NRADO. (National Romani anti-discrimination Organization) The following will explain how it is being monitored and how to spot imposters.
First, I want to start with a little about the culture. In order to spot fake items, you must understand the culture first. The Romani people, known as Gypsies, or a race of people not a way of life. On ebay, the term "Gypsy" has been used to describe items or people who a free spirits or wanderers. The misconception is that Gypsies is anyone who travels and practice magic or Wicca and that is not true. Romani Gypsies originated in India over 1000 years ago and the term Gypsy came from the mistaken idea that they were Egyptians due to their swarthy complexions. Since then the term has taken on negative meanings, often slanderous and racial in nature. Therefore, most Romani will ask you to refer to them as Romani and NOT gypsy. I use the term in my store and for my items because it is a recognizable term. I use it to help educate more and do not feel offended when I am referred to as a Gypsy. I sell both authentic and novelty items from the culture. It is very similar to that of other cultures, where there is authentic items, and the whimsical items that is more for entertainment, but comes from a valid cultural item or idea. I use these things as tools to educate on the origin or even misconceptions!
There are several groups of Romani. They live in clans and have different names depending on where they are from. For instance, my family is from Europe (Germany) so we are called Sinti. There are French Gypsies called Manush and the list goes on. Romani do not practice witchcraft or paganism, so anybody who refers to themselves as Gypsy Witch or an item as Gypsy Witch, is not authentic Romani. This is usually a way to keyword spam or mislead buyers into thinking it is a Gypsy item. Like the Native Americans, there are many bad people out there who still perpetrate themselves as the member of an oppressed culture to make money, something that has been done for hundreds of years. Romani do practice card reading, palm reading and other forms of fortune telling and healing practices. Their use of herbs and nature are similar to that of Wiccan but are not to be confused as such. Fortune telling was mostly done for gadjo or outsiders to feed their families. Drabarni, or Romani healers or herbologists due practice certain forms of healing "magic" within the clans. Romani are often thought of as holding mystical secrets and special magic. This is largely due to their frequent travel which they were forced to do, not by choice, and their ability to adapt and deal with people give them wonderful intui tion and the ability to read people.
The Romani culture is a very secretive and close knit culture. Therefore, if they are not approved by, or part of a national organization, then they are more than likely fake. NRADO consists of activists and educators who help in educating the public and uniting Romani nationwide. I am a member of this organization. We try and dispel myths in the media as well as expose sellers on ebay who falsely represent the culture just to sell items. We contact these people to investigate their background, very similar to the way the Native Americans monitor this same type of activity. I can count on one hand, how many authentic Romani sellers there are on ebay. The others have been contacted and asked to stop, but have not complied. Most of them are selling items that are disrespectful or against the beliefs of the Romani people. Ebay has enacted safeguards protecting the Native American culture and others, but our culture has not been recognized yet therefore we do our own monitoring. NRADO is currently requesting to all sellers claiming Romani heritage, to validate their Romani claim. If they are in fact Romani they will mention in their listings that they are NRADO approved or will have a banner on their page. If not, then they have not been approved and you take the chance when buying from them.
As always, I am available for questions or concerns. If you are selling Romani items or or Romani and want to be NRADO approved, please submit your request to the official site for NRADO.