First Phase Concho Belt

Silver and leather, Leather: 48" long x 1"w, buckle: 2.75"h x 3.5"w, Item No. 18275,

Collection #7721421

The first Southwest American Indian concha belt was attributed to a Navajo named Arsidi Chon (Ugly Smith). It was hammered from Mexican silver pesos in 1868 or 1869. The earliest conchas were round, light silver with diamond-shaped slots and a center bar where the leather belt was laced through. This was because Navajos had not yet learned soldering techniques at that time. The edges were scalloped with round decorative holes punched inside the scalloped edge. This style became known as First PhaseConcha Belts and lasted from the late 1860s to 1880. Beginning in the 1880s through the 1890s, trade increased for improved tools and stamps, allowing for conchas to become more elaborate. They used cold chisels, files, punches, stamps, and repouss√© techniques.