Native American Belt Buckles – Fitting Width of Belt

Dear Friends

Could you please let me know if you have buckles to fit a 2 inch wide belt?

Many Thanks

Karl from London, UK

Hi Karl,

That’s a good question and there are several points that will help you find the perfect fit for your belt and adapt if you have a belt or buckle you absolutely love but there’s a width issue.

First of all, most Native American artists purchase standard buckle back and peg kits. While the buckles themselves are usually made of Sterling Silver, the buckle back kits are made from nickel silver. “Nickel Silver” or “German Silver” has no silver in it at all. It does have a silver color to it but no silver. It is made of an alloy of copper, zinc, and nickel.

Buckle backs are available in 1/2″ increments from 1/2″ to 2″ BUT a 2″ buckle back really only will accommodate a 1 3/4″ belt because of the room that is taken up by the hinges.

Buckle Back and Peg Kits

So unless a particular artist hand makes buckle backs, the vast majority of Native American made buckles would fit belts up to 1 3/4″. It is not uncommon for a belt to be listed as “fits 2″ belt”  because the seller measures the buckle back on the outside or even the inside up at the top. But when you measure between the hinges you will come up with a smaller dimension. Several years ago we tested the buckles on our own belts and saw that a 1 3/4″ buckle back measures closer to 1 1/2″  between the hinges, so really only will accept a 1 1/2″ belt.

That’s why we report the actual width between the hinges.

But there can be a similar discrepancy with belts too. For example, we custom ordered belts last year for ourselves asking for 1 3/4″ and the belts came in at 1 5/8″ and we were told that was pretty normal. So we started measuring belts and found that the actual width is often 1/16″ to 1/4″ narrower than the described width.

With that said, let’s say you bought a big buckle like this one

LARGE belt buckle

It is a whopping 4″ x 2 3/4″. But let’s say the seller didn’t specify what size belt it would fit. When you received it, you found that it only accommodated a 1 1/4″ belt !! Yikes !!

SMALL buckle back

You were expecting to be able to use it with your 2″ wide belt.

Well here are some adaptations you can consider. You can taper (or have a leathersmith do this for you) the end of your belt where it attaches to the buckle from 2″ to 1 1/2″ so it will fit the narrower buckle back. That takes care of one end of the belt.

To adapt the other end, you can change the way you buckle your belt. The normal way is to pass the tail of the belt through the buckle back.

Normal way of buckling - passing the tail of the belt through the buckle back.

Normally buckled belt

Instead, pass the tail end behind the rest of the belt – that is, closer to the waistband of your jeans. That way, the tail of the belt can be wider than the buckle back because it does not pass through it.

 

Passing the tail end of the belt BEHIND the rest of the belt.

 

Alternative way to buckle

Because buckle backs are hinged, when you use this alternative method, you can fold the hinge down which will lower the profile of the buckle and help to lock the belt in its fastened position.

I hope this has helped. Whenever purchasing a belt, it is good to double check on the width of both your belt and the width between the hinges of the belt back.  Best of luck.


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One thought on “Native American Belt Buckles – Fitting Width of Belt

  1. Pingback: What are the buckle backs made of? | Native American Jewelry Tips

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