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An exceptionally beautiful large inlaid silver belt buckle by Eveli Sabatie, c.1980

The “best” of anything is always extremely difficult to quantify. So while we cannot say for certain that this belt buckle is the single best Eveli Sabatie (French-Moroccan, b. 1940) jewelry piece that she ever made, it is unquestionably one of them.

For starters, it’s very good-sized, it’s insanely gorgeous, it’s in excellent original condition and it has an outstanding provenance, including being prominently displayed in the Wheelwright Museum of Santa Fe’s recent Eveli Sabatie retrospective exhibition, “Eveli: Energy and Significance” from June, 2016 to January, 2017. In short, this piece has absolutely everything anyone could possibly want. It appears that it was specifically made to be a “trophy” piece and that’s precisely what it is, worthy of any museum or private collection anywhere in the world. The buckle was originally purchased from Eveli Sabatie around 1980. We recently acquired it from the family of its original owners.

The large-scale silver buckle measures 3” in height, 2 3/4" in width, 1/4" in thickness and it can accommodate a belt of up to 1 3/4” in width. The buckle is superbly channel-inlaid with five large panels of deeply and finely hand-carved red jasper, one panel of purple sugilite and one panel each of two different types of blue turquoise. The overall artistic effect is of an organic, modernist-style, color-field painting or sculpture executed in stone and silver, in our view. It’s a completely unique, powerful and striking presentation.

Eveli Sabatie making jewelry at her bench, c. 1970‘s.

Photo ©  Richard Smith

The buckle is in excellent, age-appropriate original condition with a couple of minor scratches and a bit of silver tarnish and it is properly signed “Eveli” on the back in Sabatie’s customary, engraved signature. It weighs a very substantial 152 grams or 5 3/8 ounces. We think the interesting, decorative, repeating geometric silver design panel on the back of the buckle is a lovely and surprising extra touch and it is most beautifully executed.

“She is innovating even more on her own—her style has some influence because she was trained here….Her style is really…her own and is now starting to have a strong flavor of North Africa…parts of her innovation I also incorporated back.”

—Charles Loloma discussing the work of Eveli Sabatie in a later interview with Erin Younger, May, 1978, Heard Museum Phoenix.

Quoted in Martha Struever, “Loloma, Beauty Is His Name”, © Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, 2005,  pp.19

Eveli Sabatie originally learned jewelry-making in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s as an apprentice in the

studio of the great Hopi jewelry artist, Charles Loloma, and her startling originality, design sense and exuberant creativity were evident right from the very beginning. Sometimes an inspired and brilliant student surpasses even the greatest of masters and this might be one of those noteworthy occasions. In every possible way, this buckle is an extraordinary master achievement from the talented mind and hands of an extraordinary and fully-realized master artist.

Price available upon request