Old Pawn Native American Belts, Buckles
The classic concho belt (named for concha, the Spanish for shell) was first created by Navajo silversmiths inspired by silver items from other cultures - most likely from Spanish buckles and German silver hair plate decorations traded by Europeans to Plains peoples. The idea of stringing the conchos on a strip of leather came from the hair plates (although Plains Indians wore them hanging from the back of the head rather than around the waist), but their decoration closely followed that found on fancy iron lock escutcheons made by Spanish blacksmiths. Collectible old Indian buckles and belts can be identified loosely by tribe, with Navajo buckles and belts featuring more ornate silverwork and turquoise and stones added for accent, Zuni buckles and belts having ornate turquoise and stone designs held together with silver, and Hopi buckles and belts made with silver overlay work with cut-out designs on top of oxidized silver for contrast.
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