Some of the Concho Belts from the White Buffalo Collection

What a diverse group of belts I’ve been researching this week. Here are a few samples from the White Buffalo Collection.

Irene Chiquito, Navajo

 

Navajo Blanket Design Overlay by DB

 

Tommy Singer, Navajo

 

R & G Daye, Navajo

 

History

The word concho comes from the Spanish “concha” which actually means “conch” or “seashell” but has come to mean round or oval disks (occasionally rectangles) of silver used to decorate saddles, bridles, clothing, used as jewelry such as for pendants and bolo ties and for adorning or making belts.

Concho belts are a long-time Navajo tradition yet it has been suggested that the Navajo borrowed conchos from Mexican tack items or from the Plains Indians.

The earliest conchos were silver dollars that were hammered, then stamped and edged, then slotted and strung together on a piece of leather.

Later in the evolution of concho belts, copper loops were added to the back of the conchos so that the conchos could be slipped onto a leather belt.

To read the complete article click here.

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