This beautiful handcrafted cluster concho belt created by highly skilled Native American artisans features Sleeping Beauty turquoise and sterling silver on a natural leather belt.
Sleeping Beauty turquoise is a rare gemstone prized for its premium quality and rich sky color, making this belt a valuable collector's item that will be treasured for generations.
- Concho belt handcrafted by Native American artists of the Southwest
- Sterling silver
- Blue turquoise
- Petit point
- Buckle measures 2-1/8” diameter
- Leather belt measures 44” L x 1" W
- Concho measures 1-1/8” diameter
- 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.
This turquoise cluster concho belt was handcrafted in sterling silver by skilled Native American artists. For centuries these artists have fashioned gemstones, stone, and shell into lasting jewelry pieces. Since learning silversmithing in the 19th century, Native American artists have been unmatched in their ability to arrange gemstones in sterling silver. From clusterwork to channel inlay, these artists have pioneered distinctive styles that showcase their lapidary and silversmithing excellence.
Clusterwork is a jewelry style that is unique to the Zuni people, and not found anywhere else in the world. Early Zuni jewelry resembled Navajo silverwork, but in the 1920s and 1930s, Zuni artisans developed a signature style that involved setting large groups of hand-cut gemstones into extremely intricate settings. The finely cut gems were often arranged in beautiful patterns that resembled flowers, snowflakes, or wagon wheels.
Though Zuni clusterwork is most closely associated with turquoise, jet, and coral, any gemstone may be used.
Petit point and needlepoint are two types of Zuni clusterwork and can be distinguished by the shape and size of the gemstones. Petit point refers to gems cut into round, oval, rectangle, pear, or square shapes, while needlepoint refers to gems that have been cut into a thin sliver or needle shape.
Clusterwork is an extremely time-consuming process, and fewer and fewer artists are taking the time to hand-cut their gemstones. A piece of Zuni cluster jewelry is an exquisite work of wearable art that showcases the unmatched lapidary skills of Zuni artists, and will be an heirloom for generations to come.
An icon of Native American jewelry, the concho belt was developed from Plains Indians' hair ornaments and Spanish bridle decorations, and became a distinctly Navajo form of jewelry. The concho is one of the most widely recognized shapes in Native American jewelry, featuring a silver oval or circle that is stamped with a central radiating design. A concho belt features a number of these silver ornaments along a belt.
The first concho belts were made by Navajo silversmiths in the 1870s–1880s. In these early pieces, artisans punched a diamond-shaped opening in each concha and passed the leather belt through this opening. When Navajo silversmiths learned soldering, they were able to attach a loop to the back of a closed concha and thread the belt through these loops, forming the classic concho belt style that we are familiar with today.
More than a century after its creation, the concho belt remains one of the most celebrated forms of Native American art, showcasing the artistry and expertise of Native Southwestern silversmiths. The traditional style of wearing concho belts is over layered clothing, often gathering a long blouse or dress. The belt usually falls over the hips, though the wearer can determine exactly where the belt sits most comfortably.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, and to provide 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.