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SANTA FE  NEW MEXICO

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This outstanding buckle is the sort of thing one very seldom sees outside of museums these days. It is quite simply one of the most impressive pieces we have ever come across in nearly 30 years of buying, selling and collecting historic Navajo jewelry and, on top of all that, it has an absolutely wonderful provenance.


These large, early, tufa-cast Navajo silver buckles made in the first quarter of the 20th Century are among the rarest, most accomplished and beautiful of all historic Navajo silver jewelry, in our opinion. They are widely considered to be among the crowning achievements of early Navajo silversmithing for their great beauty, rarity, and the extreme nature and difficulty of the process required to create them.


The Navajo silversmith who made this piece was a master of his craft. Tufa-casting, under any conditions, and particularly under the extremely primitive conditions which existed throughout Navajoland in the early 20th century, is one of the most painstakingly difficult and tricky of all silversmithing techniques to master, particularly for a piece on this scale. If the tufa mold isn't carved exactly right, if the silver doesn't flow perfectly and evenly into the mold at the exact right temperature, the casting will be ruined. As  can be clearly seen, this piece turned out perfectly, it is a model of strength, elegance, delicacy and refinement. The overall quality of the silver casting and the perfectly-executed stamp and file work the smith used to decorate this buckle are extraordinary indeed.

A fantastic large, historic, tufa-cast Navajo silver belt buckle set with six turquoise stones, circa 1910-1925


ex: Lyn Trusdell Collection, New Hope, PA

This buckle is an extremely large-scale piece. It measures 4 5/8" in width and 3 1/2" in height and it weighs 175 grams or 6 1/8 ounces, over one-third of a pound. It will accept a belt of up to

1" in width. It is set with 8 pieces of high-quality turquoise in

old-style "fold-over" silver bezels. Interestingly, six of the turquoise pieces are pump-drilled, an indication of advanced age, and, prior to being set in this buckle were formerly used as beads or earrings. The buckle is in excellent-plus original condition with a marvelous patina from many decades of age and wear.


As mentioned previously, the provenance of this piece is quite noteworthy--it comes from the outstanding personal collection of the late Lyn Trusdell of New Hope, Pennsylvania, who, for many years, was one of the foremost dealers in and collectors of historic Navajo silver in the world. We knew Lyn well and she was an extremely knowledgeable connoisseur and expert in every way. 


This buckle was purchased from Ms. Trusdell's estate

after her death in 2008.



Price $4,500



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