This vintage concho belt is one of the most impressive I've seen from the 1980s era, well-made and while big and eye-catching, also tasteful and enduring in style. The piece was made by Navajo silversmith David Reeves, born in 1949 and deceased, date unknown. Reeves was the older brother of Gary (also deceased) and Daniel "Sunshine" Reeves, both of whom he taught the art of silversmithing, along with half brothers Andy and Darrell Cadman. David and Gary had a studio in my hometown of Albuquerque in the 1980s and 90s, and Harry Morgan used to stop by a lot. Master silversmith Steven Aviso remembers hanging out at the studio and learning there. David specialized in belt buckles and concho belts, and of course, the 1980s and 1990s was a timeframe when "the-bigger-the-better" sensibilities applied to Native American jewelry fashion. Yet, David's methods and that of all of the Reeves and Cadmans was about reviving and sustaining traditional methods of jewelry making. Hence, David made his own stamps, which were passed onto his brothers after his death. From a gallery that represents this family, "David had an affinity for complex engraved and hand stamped geometric designs. He was a part of recreating and popularizing the old Navajo designs of the early 20th century." And so, what we have with this concho belt is a nod to tradition combined with the demand for Santa Fe style pieces that could be worn out to a night at the Santa Fe Opera as much as to a rodeo. Each of the seven large oval-shaped conchos and the eight butterfly spacers is backed with leather, as this piece was made to last through generations. Between the natural oxidation in the sterling silver, which creates contrast and depth against the blue turquoise, it is hard to see in photos just how beautiful the turquoise, some stones with fine spiderweb veining, and how stunning the piece is overall. The belt came from the estate of a woman who bought and wore it in the late 1980s but has had it stored for almost 40 years. I did get some stones replaced when the belt came to me as a consignment, but you can't tell which stones as the work was done by a professional silversmith. David Reeves' belts and buckles come on the market infrequently, and when they do, a buckle alone can sell for close to $800. With a buckle and 15 other pieces, each hand stamped and bejeweled with high-grade turquoise, this piece is truly a once-in-a-lifetime acquisition. A similar style from the same artist is available through the exclusive Double D Ranch for $6,500.
The leather belt is about 3/4" wide, and about 44-3/4" long from end to end, and that is just the leather strap that forms the belt itself. The buckle measures 3" wide by about 2-1/2" tall. Oval shaped conchos measure about 2-3/4" wide by about 2-1/4" tall. Spacers are about 1-1/4" wide by 2" tall. When sizing a belt, it's important to decide where you'll wear it--on hips or waist. Many people wear their concho belts at the hips, so use that as your goal. The holes in the leather belt are set for Siz 35-36, but more can be punched up to about 40" while still having a bit of "tail" overhang. The belt overall weighs a substantial 520g. In very good vintage condition; I had all stones checked when the missing stones were replaced. The leather has a beautiful broken-in look and feel.
Museum quality work of art.
Note that due to lighting plus monitor settings for brightness, contrast and other factors, there may be differences in the colors and tones of photos versus that of the actual item. Please message with questions and I will respond as soon as possible.
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