Navajo Cast Silver and Turquoise Belt Buckle [R]

C3864-31-buckle.jpg

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Artist Unknown
  • Category: Belts and Buckles
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: silver, turquoise
  • Size: 1-3/4” x 2-5/8”
    For 1-1/2” belt width
  • Item # C3864.31
  • Price No Longer Available

Tufa casting, often erroneously referred to as sand casting, is one of the earliest techniques used by the Navajo smiths. Today, it is still accomplished in the same manner as it was 150 years ago. This buckle was cast in silver, and then painstakingly polished and refined to a smooth finish.

Before a cast buckle such as this one can be made by an artisan, he or she must first fashion a mold from a whitish sandstone rock, hard enough to withstand the hot metal without splitting and yet soft enough to be grooved into the wanted design. Today, these can be purchased at local jewelry supply stores, but in earlier days, the artisan searched the Navajo Reservation for suitable rock and carved the desired design himself. When one of these molds broke, perhaps from not having been warm enough to receive the molten silver, it was a minor tragedy. Today, it is a slight inconvenience. Now, a new one can be purchased on the next trip into town.

On this Diné Cast Silver and Turquoise Belt Buckle, the single blue turquoise cab is placed in direct center of the buckle. The maker’s initials are stamped on verso behind the turquoise cab.  They are JTW with the J and T joined.  We have not identified the artist associated with these initials.

 

Condition: this Navajo Cast Silver and Turquoise Belt Buckle is in original condition

Provenance: from the collection of a Santa Fe family

Recommended Reading:  The Beauty of Navajo Jewelry by Theda Bassman

Note: when we say Diné, as opposed to Navaho or Navajo, we are referring to the people and not the government.  Since 1969, their government refers to itself as the Navajo Nation.  

Artist Unknown
  • Category: Belts and Buckles
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: silver, turquoise
  • Size: 1-3/4” x 2-5/8”
    For 1-1/2” belt width
  • Item # C3864.31
  • Price No Longer Available

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