Help identify this matching pair of Bear Claw Belt Buckle and Bolo Tie


Any help would be appreciated!

I’m assuming that these two were made as a matching set as the composition and materials are so similar. The one is marked with the AT of Atkinson Trading, but the other has what looks like a backwards ‘E’. From what I understand, many famous artisans crafted pieces for Atkinson Trading and that sometimes they would mark them in addition to the AT.

So, I guess my questions are… Are these a matching set? Does the backwards ‘E’ represent the artist that made these for Atkinson Trading? Any idea as to who that artist is?



I am going to guess these are two separate artists. Most likely the individual had the bolo and commissioned to have the bolo made. A few clues, the turquoise matches very well but it is different, the border stamp is not the same. You will notice on the bolo the size of the stamp allows you to see the full curve, on the buckle it is bigger and doesn’t make the full curve. The curve of the wires on the buckle have several wraps, the bolo not as many. The outside claw has that extra wire holding it down on buckle, not on bolo. Also, notice that stamp on the end of the wire and border on the bolo side claw, very different from the buckle. I don’t know about the E hallmark.

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Thanks for the excellent analysis Jason! Much appreciated.

Back when Pete Schultz owned Running Bear in the early-mid 70’s, they produced a lot of high quality Bear Claw jewelry. Practically every silversmith who iived in or around Gallup back then was making Bear Claw bolas, buckles, bracelets, pendants, rings, lighter cases, you name it, for Pete.

This was a major fad in the mid - late 70’s. You can’t imagine how much bear claw jewelry was going out the door!!! I don’t know how many bear claw pendants, rings, and lighter cases and all of the above, Jana Mitchell, Bobby McGee (his real name), and I made between 1973 and 1976. Must have been thousands… I used to wonder how the species survived!

Pete would send bear claws over by the bagfull to make jewelry out of, with big chunks of dried flesh still on them, and we’d have to grind all that off on lapidary wheels, and shape them for silver caps. Let me tell you, grinding bear claws down on a lapidary wheel with or without water, stinks like hell. Somewhere between teeth being drilled in a dental office, and burning hair. Really, really, really bad… I don’t even know if respirators existed back then, but I wish I’d had one.

Anyway. The jewelry in the photos looks like Running Bear production from that period.

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Ew. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


“Ew” is is just about right! :joy:

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Remind me not to sign up for bear claw processing duty. :persevere:

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Sounds pretty nasty but they sure turn out nice :slight_smile:


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You can add to the “smell” description “wet dog”. I can’t un-remember it :rofl: