Lovers of tradition and excellence of design and workmanship, this is your buckle!
Very large, the better to show off the flawless silver work, this is a classic example of Navajo jewelry design and execution.
The artist is one of a large, extended family of silversmiths, whose name, Platero, appropriately means “silversmith” in Spanish.
John Platero was active from the 1950’s until the early 1990’s.
This splendid piece was purchased somewhere in the 1970’s or 1980’s.
We are not sure exactly when, but are delighted that it came out of the shadows during our latest move.
The design seems familiar, but when scrutinized, reveals the artistry of the maker: first of all, the size, like a rodeo champion’s buckle.
Then, the variety of techniques used in completing the artist’s vision.
The entire center has bee pushed out – repousse – so that a subtle gleam of the rounded background shows around the applied, hand-cut feather design on the center top.
An intricately stamped, or chiseled, frame of silver surrounds the center of the buckle, while flawless, hand stamped designs echo the scalloped edge of the piece.
Each stamped scallop comprises three different stamps.
This is a vintage piece, as seen on the reverse, where the silver has not been recently polished.
It is a museum-worthy example of classic, traditional, Navajo design, descended from the earliest pieces that were created for horse bridles.
The balance and proportion of the design, and the workmanship involved, are exceptional.
Nineteenth-century design, but twentieth-century refinement.
This is a piece that reflects the history of Navajo jewelry in a spectacular, but very wearable way.