Old Pawn pieces like this fabulous belt were made years ago by Native American Indians. Hand wrought treasures like this were held by families as heirlooms. But, in times of need, such possessions were given in trade for food and other staples, just to live.
We purchased this from a very old collector who was selling her pieces because her children were not interested in them. Can you imagine? She purchased it at a trading post many years ago. We suspect it to be from the 1940s or 1950s, according to her memory.
This vintage old pawn belt is made of a hand cut dark brown leather strap that has been punched for size in a primitive fashion. The hand cut and stamped sterling silver conchos and butterflies feature deep repoussée details. Each is set by hand with a genuine hand cut turquoise stone in a handmade bezel to fit the stone. The belt buckle is accented with four turquoise stones. All of the stones feature some matrix and are a deep blue, which we love.
There are a total of 9 scalloped oval conchos and 10 butterflies. The sterling silver has a nice old pawn patina that we have not polished or cleaned. The patina highlights the stones nicely. Most collectors of such pieces prefer the patina. You might choose to clean it, but please be careful - silver cleaners are not healthy for turquoise stones.
The buckle, conchos and butterflies are all hand cut and stamped of sterling silver in a traditional design. The buckle has been signed, "MP" and is identified as "STERLING." We have not removed the other pieces from the belt to see if they are hallmarked as well. Often, such old pawn pieces are not signed, so this one is ever more special.
As with all hand made artwork, there are slight variations in each of the individual components. The 9 conchos measure approximately 1-5/8 inch wide by 1-1/4 inch high. The 10 butterflies are around 3/4 inch wide by 1-1/8 inch high. The buckle is approximately 2-1/4 inches wide by 1-1/2 inch high. This fine belt will fit a 34 to 36 inch waist or smaller. Because the conchos and butterflies slide along the leather, you can reposition them to fit smaller waist. They will also slide off, if you choose to do so. The belt buckle is attached with two silver rivets. The belt will arrive as it was originally made.