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Turquoise & Tufa

Vintage First Phase Coin Silver Concho Belt By Perry Shorty

Vintage First Phase Coin Silver Concho Belt By Perry Shorty

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This one will go down in history, friends, literally! It's a rare "First Phase" style coin silver concho belt by the one, the only esteemed Navajo jeweler Perry Shorty. 

You can't really overemphasize the significance of Perry Shorty's work. While there are other jewelers working in a revival style, few are Perry's equal. His jewelry takes us all the way back to the classic Navajo and Pueblo pieces of the late 19th and early 20th Century. Perry has perfected those styles and techniques.

The "First Phase" design of Perry's concho belt, where the leather belt strap passes through a diamond shaped open center slot in each silver concho, dates back to the earliest years of Navajo and Pueblo silverwork, the late 1860's to 1880. During this time, Southwestern Native artists hadn't yet learned the art of soldering silver. Once they learned to solder silver, they would cover that open slot with more decorated silver soldered on. That later soldered concho belt design became known as Second Phase belts. 

First Phase belts were created with melted silver coins, most often Mexican peso, hammered into the concho shapes. Perry Shorty, too, is renowned for his use of melted silver coins in his jewelry.  It's a laborious technique. Imagine the effort it took Perry Shorty to create this belt!

As you might imagine, there are only a few First Phase Perry Shorty belts in existence, and their importance will only increase with time. With this piece, you have one of the greatest Navajo jewelers making the most valuable of all styles of Navajo belts. 

With a piece of this significance, provenance is also important, and this belt has impeccable provenance. It was purchased directly from Perry Shorty in August of the year 2000 by Martha Struever. Martha immediately sold it to a considerable Native American art collector, and it has been in that collection since that time rather than passed around from owner to owner. 

The belt has 9 round conchos that each measure 3 1/4" plus a buckle that measures 2 7/8". The conchos are on brown leather. The belt fits a waist that is from 32" to 35". It's hallmarked on the buckle. 



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