RARE Early Jan Loco Belt with Silver Bears, Turtles, Rabbits, and Eagles

C4574-belt2.jpg

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Jan Loco, Apache Jeweler
  • Category: Belts and Buckles
  • Origin: Apache, American Indians
  • Medium: Sterling Silver, Leather
  • Size: ⅞” wide;
    Belt 45” from end to end;
    Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Item # C4574
  • Price: $2500

Jan Loco is well known for her process and style, which include the use of hand tools, and incorporating ideas from her Apache heritage. She began making jewelry in 1987, and eventually settled on hand-rock hammering her silver to achieve a desired texture and finish. This belt is very special because—being devoid of this hammered finish—it is indicative of her early years of creating art.

Artist signature of Apache artist Jan Loco.This concho belt features very lightweight, refined shining pieces of silver, cut and shaped into various animals, and the belt buckle.  Loco may have been experimenting, and that makes this belt most likely one of a kind.  Although her hammered finish is very appealing, the shine and weight of this belt make it unique and easy to wear.  It bears an inscribed number 0001 - 1987.  It is not clear from this if this is the first item made in 1987, or the first item ever made by her.

The animals come in sets of two and include bears, rabbits, turtles, and eagles.  Each has been soldered with a backing that allows for the animals to be used with any belt that is one inch wide or narrower.  Symbolizing leadership, courage, and physical strength, the bears are stamped with half-moons for eyes and a tail, triangles for fur, and a nose and serration to signify the paws. 

Rabbits can be symbols of fertility and represent a trickster, and Loco’s rabbits are depicted leaping through the air.  Believed to suggest longevity and good health, turtles are always good omens.  These turtles have shaped heads with a ridged nose and are seen from above, with all four feet visible.  Creation, freedom, and divine spirit are the properties of the Eagle—a powerful symbol across North America.  The artist depicted these eagles with wings spread and head cocked to one side—a very powerful stance indeed. 

Apache artist Jan Loco developed a method of making jewelry without the use of power tools. This is a laborious task, but she felt it honored her ancestry to use items of nature rather than power tools. Jan Loco became interested in Apache symbolism and legend when, as a young adult, she discovered her Apache ancestry. Her work is inspired by the stories of her ancestors, incorporating designs reflecting the heavens, Apache legends, as well as plants and animals of the Apache homeland.

Jan Loco is no longer making jewelry. She moved from New Mexico some years ago and her whereabouts are unknown. Therefore, finding one of her pieces of handmade jewelry is quite rare.


Condition: this silver belt is in excellent condition. 

Provenance: this RARE Early Jan Loco Belt with Silver Bears, Turtles, Rabbits, and Eagles is from a private Colorado estate. 

Recommended Reading: Indian Jewelry of the American Southwest by Sarah Peabody and William Turnbaugh

TAGS: jewelryApacheJan Loco, Apache Jeweler

Jan Loco, Apache Jeweler
  • Category: Belts and Buckles
  • Origin: Apache, American Indians
  • Medium: Sterling Silver, Leather
  • Size: ⅞” wide;
    Belt 45” from end to end;
    Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Item # C4574
  • Price: $2500

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