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An extraordinary silver and New Landers, Nevada

spiderweb turquoise “Baby’s Foot” buckle by Eveli Sabatie, Santa Fe, NM, c.1995-1998

This buckle is one of the most interesting and finest pieces that we have ever seen by the extraordinary 20th Century jewelry artist, Evelyn (Eveli) Sabatie (French-Moroccan, b.1940). It has everything that we love about Eveli’s work; exuberant creativity, startling originality, a unique and powerful design concept, interesting and often unexpected use of unusual materials and unparalleled craftsmanship. We recently showed this piece to Eveli to ask her about the concept and materials and below is what she had to say. It’s an unprecedented pleasure and privilege to be able to hear such articulate and eloquently expressed design statements directly from such an accomplished and inspired artist. Not for nothing does Eveli Sabatie hold a Ph.D. in languages from the Sorbonne in Paris which is quite a unique distinction among anyone and particularly artists who are often famously close-mouthed and tight-lipped about their inspirations.

“It is called Baby's foot. Feet and hands always fascinate me - and I am not the only one!

At the time (late 1990’s) I thought this could be Baby Jesus’ foot, or Baby Krishna's foot, or Buddha's foot.

I also was holding in my memory all of the footprints found in Tibet of Milarepa - except that they are gigantic! The turquoise itself was shaped like a foot. I really did not do anything to it.”

-Personal communication with Eveli Sabatie,

 July, 2020

The construction of the buckle is most beautifully accomplished. Eveli finely hand-carved a gorgeous large

chunk of beautiful New Landers Nevada spiderweb turquoise into a perfectly wrought dainty human baby-sized

foot complete with toenail. And what a fascinatingly attractive and rare stone she chose for this piece. Mineralogically speaking, New Lander turquoise is actually not turquoise, but a form of Variscite or Chalcosiderite and it is found only in a small deposit directly across the valley from the legendary old Lander Blue turquoise mine in Lander County Nevada. It is rare and highly coveted stone. After carving the stone with beautiful undulations Eveli hand crafted a very finely curving polished silver bezel in which to seat it.

The silver work is just preciously and perfectly done in her customary high-standard fashion.

The buckle pictured with a large natural nugget of New Landers Nevada spiderweb turquoise in a somewhat similar shape.

Eveli’s obvious deep appreciation and understanding of the natural world, born in part of her early years in

the stark desert splendor of her Native North Africa and accentuated by her four years on the high Hopi mesas working as apprentice to the renowned Hopi jeweler, Charles Loloma all followed by her 20-plus years amidst the rugged high-mountain beauty and wildness of northern New Mexico truly inform this remarkable piece giving it an underlying sense of origin and place while her universal conception of its possible World religions origins idea give it the International feeling which so informs and suffuses so much of her work. In our view, Eveli Sabatie should not be viewed so much as being a “Southwestern” or “Native” artist though she certainly has drawn deep inspiration from those worlds and places, she is thinking and working on a much larger and wider artistic stage and is thus much more of a World or International artist, in our view.

The buckle measures 2 1/4” in width and is 11/4” in height. It weighs 39 grams or 1 3/8 ounces and it will accept

a belt strap of up to 1 1/8” in width. The buckle is in outstanding original condition and looks as if it was very seldom, if ever worn. It is properly signed “Eveli” on the reverse in her customary and distinctive first name only signature. The buckle will also be featured in Eveli Sabatie’s soon to be published book about her jewelry and other metal work. This buckle is a truly remarkable creatively original piece that anyone would be fortunate to possess; an easily wearable and extremely unique buckle by a distinguished and inspired world-class artist suffused with incredible aesthetic beauty and fierce artistic intelligence.

Note: The leather belt pictured here is for demonstration purposes only and is not included in the

sale of this buckle. If you would like assistance in acquiring an appropriate custom-made leather belt,

we would be happy to provide a recommendation.

Price $4,500

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Eveli Sabatie c. 1970’s

Photo source and © Bahti Indian Arts