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  • Sterling silver Navajo deep-stamped concho (12 conchos) belt with Sleeping Beauty turquoise by Leon Martinez. #1947

    $1,475.00

    Now here is a concho belt.  It has 12 thick-gauge REAL STERLING SILVER conchos—each with perfect Sleeping Beauty Mine turquoise stones.  Lately we feel the need to emphasize the use of Sterling silver due to the many nickel-silver (also known as "German silver") belts offered on the internet—which are made of an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel (sometimes containing lead and tin), and contain NO silver whatsoever.  This beauty is the real deal.  It is made by Leon Martinez—a Navajo artisan associated with traditional Navajo jewelry-making.  He is the brother of Calvin and Terry Martinez, and the father of Jesse Martinez.  He was influenced by the late Kirk Smith, with whom he worked-with at times.  This is definitely an 'outside the loops' belt with big conchos at 2 and 3/8th's-inches tall and 3-inches wide (for the ovals).  It has six oval conchos and six butterfly conchos.  It weighs 16.3-ounces.  Nice.  It currently has five holes punched from the 34-inch mark to the 39-inch mark, but it will accommodate holes for five inches smaller or five inches larger.  The conchos are made to slide on the leather to the appropriate placing—which is part of the essence of a Native American concho belt.  During early times when Native Americans had no U.S. currency, they would slide conchos (which were roughly an ounce of silver) off of their belts in exchange for wares at frontier trading posts.  'Sort of an early 'money belt.'  We acquired this trophy from a client about 10 years ago who stated she bought it in Santa Fe but never wore it, so it is a little older (thus the lower price).  But make no mistake, it was not made in the 60's or prior so it cannot be legitimately considered 'vintage (probably the most mis-used marketing term in the Native American jewelry business today!).'  Plainly, though, this would be an expensive belt if made today.  Hallmarked "LM" in a bit of an arc.  Complimentary USPS tracked Priority shipping within the U.S.  Enjoy (we cringe at the thought of letting this one go!).

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