1940's Navajo First Phase Revival Silver Concho Belt
Here's a gorgeous Navajo silver concho belt in the same first phase style as the earliest Navajo concho belts that were ever made. Like the first phase belts that dated from the late 1860's to the 1880's, this one has the open slots in each concho where the belt shows through. That's because the silversmiths who created the early belts hadn't yet learned how to solder meaning the conchos had to be attached by threading the belt leather through the face of the concho. With the advent of soldering techniques came the ability to attach copper loops on the back of the concho so that the belt leather could be threaded through the loops and the face of the concho could remain entirely closed and decorated.
This belt dates circa 1940 and is considered a First Phase Revival piece. It was created during a time when Navajo silversmiths harkened back to classic techniques and styles. The hand-wrought piece has 8 silver conchos with the traditional diamond-shaped slots, scallops around the edges, stamps and decorative holes punched through the silver. Each concho is backed with leather and measures 3 1/4" x 3". The buckle is wonderful and shows repousse, stamping, and scallops. It measures 4" x 3 3/8". Overall, the piece is sizable without being too large to wear. The leather measures 43" from end to end.
Besides being a fantastic bit of history, the piece has an interesting provenance too. On November 1, 1965, it was pawned at the famous Tobe Turpen Trading Post in Gallup, New Mexico. (We actually have the original pawn ticket to pass along to the new buyer). Eventually, in the late 1980's, it made its way to Martha Hopkins Struever - renowned dealer, collector and scholar of Native American art. During one of Marti Struever's incredible Native American art field trips, it sold to an eager collector. Now, decades later, that collector is making it available to a new home.