Triple Cab Belt Buckle
Triple Cab Belt Buckle made with Morenci turquoise set in sterling silver by Robert and Bernice Leekya. This handsome buckle measures 3-3/4″ L x 2-3/4″ tall and fits a 1-1/2″ belt.
Morenci Turquoise is mined in southeastern Arizona, in Greenlee County. It is light blue to high blue in color. Morenci has an unusual matrix of irregular black pyrite, or fool’s gold; when polished, the pyrite often looks like silver. It also is sometimes webbed in a darker shade of blue, called water webbed. Morenci turquoise is well known because it was one of the first American turquoises to come on the modern market, and is often difficult to obtain because the mine is now depleted, making it an exceedingly collectible turquoise. Material coming out in the 1960’s seems to be harder, tending more to the blue-greens, usually with the pyrite. In the 1970’s, the material was a much brighter blue, often with quartz along with the pyrite.
Trade Roots Artist: Robert and Bernice Leekya
Robert and Bernice Leekya have been making traditional jewelry at Zuni Pueblo for five decades. Characterized by hand-cut stones, their work consists of bracelets, bolo ties, belt buckles and more. Robert Leekya’s jewelry is always adorned with natural, gem quality turquoise and this bolo tie is no exception. Born in 1934, Robert was taught by his father, a master Zuni jeweler Leekya Deyuse. He is often just referred to as Leekya. Born in 1889, Robert’s father remained active in his craft until his passing in 1966. Robert too has recently passed, making this buckle a prized piece of Zuni jewelry.
Vintage Native American Jewelry
Vintage Native American jewelry typically features traditional styles, a dark silver patina and often, rare types of turquoise from mines which are now depleted. Our vintage jewelry usually ranges from the 1930s to 1970s and the artists are often unknown because prior to the 1960s, artists rarely signed their jewelry. Most of our vintage jewelry is acquired from private collections and we feel honored to pass on these treasured pieces to new owners. We recommend leaving the patina on old jewelry, as polishing can diminish the value. When you collect vintage jewelry, you own a small piece of history.