I just got this buckle and would like to get more informations about it, if possible.It is not signed anywhere.Thanks in advance, Albert from Austria 😉
Your beautiful buckle is a handmade chip inlay buckle.
What is Chip Inlay?
Chip inlay is a method where cavities in jewelry are filled with a mixture of crushed stone, typically turquoise and coral, and epoxy resin. The piece is then polished smooth after the resin has hardened. Navajo Tommy Singer is often credited for first using chip inlay in Native American jewelry although others have also been associated with it and many have used and still use the technique.
I say handmade because it does not look like it was made from a “buckle blank” – all looks hand crafted. I’d guess maybe 20-30 years old.
The symbols are interesting – really more indicative of Plains tribes with the tipi and peyote bird. These would be symbols that would be associated with Oglala Lakota and yet the work looks to be Navajo.
Here is a similar buckle we had in our pawn shop.
If you have any other questions, let me know ! Paula
Linda, an avid and knowledgeable merchant of vintage Native American jewelry, and a reader and frequent contributor to this blog, sent these photos of authenticated early Tommy Singer pieces, showing the use of similar symbols but in Tommy Singer’s style. Thank you Linda. Beautiful pieces !!