October 16th, 2020 - Form Over Function: Native Concho Belts 1880-2020
Conchos or conchas, from the Spanish word for shell, first appeared in the Southwest as ornamentation on horse bridles. Both Plains tribes peoples and Spanish silversmiths used bridle decorations reminiscent of present day conchos, but it was Navajo ingenuity that shaped and shifted a horse decoration to the iconic piece of Southwestern jewelry that concho belts are today.
Moving into Fall and opportunities for layering, either worn with jeans, peeking out from underneath a chunky sweater or cinched around a suede skirt, concho belts are always a fabulous option. The scalloped edges, massive buckle, repousse and stone settings of a Third Phase, or the beautiful simplicity of the rounded domes and rocker engraving of a classic First Phase, the bright flash of silver on your waist has a way of elevating any outfit.
This titillating collection spans 140 years, and represents a brief history of the concho belt, as interpreted by the unknown silversmiths of the 19th century to contemporary master jewelers such as Cippy Crazy Horse and Mckee Platero.