Kewa Sterling Silver Modernist Belt Buckle with Single Turquoise Gemstone

C4792G-buckle.jpg

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Julian Lovato, Kewa Jeweler
  • Category: Belts and Buckles
  • Origin: KEWA, Santo Domingo Pueblo
  • Medium: Sterling Silver and Turquoise
  • Size: 2 ¼” x 3”
    Made for Belt size: 1-½” wide
  • Item # C4792G
  • Price: $3950

Julian Lovato's Masterpiece: A Fusion of Tradition and Modernity in a Turquoise Belt Buckle

Artist signature and hallmark of Julian Lovato, Kewa Jeweler

Crafted by Julian Lovato (1922-2018), one of the most renowned Pueblo silversmiths of the 20th century, this belt buckle is a testament to the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. At the heart of this sterling silver buckle lies a single, high-quality turquoise gemstone, serving as a vibrant focal point.

Lovato's exceptional skill in fusing traditional Native forms with sleek modern designs earned him a distinguished place among the finest Native American jewelry designers of his era. He employed a technique he termed "raised dimensional jewelry design," which is beautifully exemplified in this buckle.

In this piece, Lovato masterfully juxtaposes a high-quality turquoise gemstone, set in a shadowbox setting—a technique familiar to Native artists—against an elegantly designed silver framework that echoes modern Danish design. The result is a stunning piece that embodies both elegance and tradition, reflecting Lovato's unique artistic vision.

This buckle is signed J. LOVATO STERLING IHM with the Thunderbird logo. IHM stands for Indian Hand Made.

"Julian Lovato, now in his mid-50s, has worked as a jeweler since he was 13 years old. At his father's death, he began cutting stones for mass-produced Indian jewelry at Maisel's in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Later, he spent several years with a similar operation in Kansas City. In 1948, Julian began his long association with the internationally distinguished Italian silversmith Frank Patania. Before Frank Patania died in 1968, he bequeathed his own hallmark, the Thunderbird, to Julian who proudly carries on the tradition of excellence in design, materials and workmanship."

To quote some of the significant dealers in Native jewelry, we offer the following:

"His jewelry is best known for the high quality of turquoise and coral he selected for each piece. This quality and his exceptional silversmithing made Lovato a renowned artist. He merged his traditional designs with the modern aesthetic favored by Patania Sr." [Arthur Erickson]

"Julian Lovato is one of the most highly regarded pueblo jewelers of the 20th century. . . Lovato combines tradition and innovation and his lifelong passion for utilizing only the highest grade staples available continued throughout his career." [Four Winds Gallery]

"His jewelry is known for the quality of the turquoise and coral he uses. It is these high quality stones and excellent silversmithing that make Lovato a renowned traditional artist." [Waddell Gallery]


Condition: the modernist belt buckle is in excellent condition with minor scratches in the silver from having been worn.

Provenance: this Kewa Sterling Silver Modernist Belt Buckle with Single Turquoise Gemstone is from the estate of an Albuquerque couple who were avid collectors of Native American arts and crafts.

Recommended Reading: Contemporary Southwestern Jewelry by Diana Pardue

TAGS: KEWA, Santo Domingo PuebloSouthwest Indian JewelryJulian Lovato

Julian Lovato, Kewa Jeweler
  • Category: Belts and Buckles
  • Origin: KEWA, Santo Domingo Pueblo
  • Medium: Sterling Silver and Turquoise
  • Size: 2 ¼” x 3”
    Made for Belt size: 1-½” wide
  • Item # C4792G
  • Price: $3950

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