The artistry of Navajo jewelry comes to life in this highly detailed ranger buckle set handcrafted by Ernest Rangel. The sterling silver buckle set was created using the traditional jewelry technique of tufa casting and features a zigzag lightning design along with silver bead and ray designs. All raised details have been meticulously added by hand by the artist. This is a classic piece for both men and women who appreciate the beauty of fine Native American art. Known for his master silversmithing, Rangel has created a classic all-sterling design that can be worn on any occasion.
- Belt buckle handcrafted by Ernest Rangel (Navajo)
- Sterling silver
- Tufa cast
- Buckle measures 2-1/8” x 1-3/4”; belt tip measures 1-1/4” x 7/8”; and keeper loops measure 1” x 3/8”
- Fits a 3/4” belt
- Comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity
Handcrafted works of Native American art require special care. For more information about proper care and cleaning, please read our Care Guide.
Ernest Rangel is an award-winning Navajo silversmith from Gallup, New Mexico, who is also a professional rodeo cowboy. He began make jewelry as a teenager, learning from his mother. He is known for his dramatic and sometimes rugged jewelry style, and sterling silver belt buckles and bracelets are considered his signature pieces. Often created through traditional tufa casting, Rangel’s work includes both traditional and contemporary designs. See Featured Artist Page
In this handcrafted sterling silver cuff bracelet, Ernest Rangel seamlessly incorporates traditional techniques and symbolism into a modern, wearable design. The bold zigzag design represents lightning, which is a symbol of swiftness, strength and rain, and also a powerful reminder of the Navajo people’s connection to the natural world. Rangel also celebrates the traditional art of tufa casting, a generations-old method of jewelry making developed by Navajo silversmiths. Tufa is a porous volcanic stone found in New Mexico and Arizona that is easy to cut and carve. In the casting process, a design is hand-carved into tufa stone, creating a negative space where molten silver or gold can be poured. After casting, the piece is refined and decorated by hand. Typically, tufa molds last for only one or two castings, making this a fragile process that is practiced by only the most skilled artists. Jewelry created through this process can be identified easily by the distinctive texture left on the metal by the tufa stone during casting.
Jewelry has been made and worn in the Southwest since prehistoric times. For thousands of years Native Southwestern people have made mosaic inlay and beads of turquoise, shell, bone or stone. Metal arrived with the Spanish. Native Americans acquired metal ornaments through trade, but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that Navajo and Zuni artisans learned the craft from Mexican blacksmiths and silversmiths. Their early silver jewelry creations were plain, with simple engraved, stamped or punched designs. Turquoise was first used in silver around 1880. By the turn of the century, silversmithing was widespread across the Southwest, and Native artists were making more sophisticated pieces like concho belts and squash blossom and naja necklaces. The Navajo soon became known for their use of silver, emphasizing silver-heavy designs with only a few gemstones, while the Zuni focused on stone work, featuring finely cut clusters of gems in complex patterns. The Hopi and Pueblo tribes also developed distinctive jewelry styles in the early 1900s. Today, silver jewelry is an iconic image of the Southwest.Read our Native American Jewelry Collector's Guide.
At Shumakolowa Native Arts, we guarantee that your purchase is an original and authentic work handcrafted by Native American artists as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. We ask our artists to complete an extensive certification process, providing a CIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card and other documentation of their Native American heritage. Our team of experts carefully inspects every product to guarantee it is handcrafted using traditional, sustainable processes and natural materials of only the highest quality. We record the place and date of each purchase and pride ourselves in paying a fair price that allows artists to make a living practicing their craft. Every work of handcrafted art comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by an artist or buyer. At a time when many commercially-made products are being sold as handcrafted Native American art, our in-depth purchase process allows us to guarantee the authenticity of every unique piece of fine art we offer. For more than 35 years, we have made it a priority to visit artists in their studio or home to purchase their latest handcrafted pieces and learn about their work. We have developed lasting relationships with artists, as well as dealers and collectors, and we take pride in being a trusted destination for fine Native American art.