Identifying belt buckle

Anyone have any idea of the maker or age of this buckle? Or turquoise type? The back is stamped VJD Navajo. I couldn’t find it in Hougarts.

I’m also kind of curious as to how it was made. It has a sandcast appearance, but inside the rectangular area is a different texture, which I can’t quite picture how you would achieve with sand casting.


tufa cast, there are some utube videos out there demonstrating techniques

I’m familiar with tufa casting and the technique. What I’m wondering is how a seemingly single cast peice could have two very different textures on it? If the whole buckle were cast in rough tufa stone then how are the “arms” of the design smoother than the rough center?

I’m sure there are learned techniques, years of experience and lots of labor. The back shows tufa texture throughout. The tufa can be worked very smooth or left rougher, a pattern can be created in the negative, if you can imagine that vision.

What an Amazing Buckle! i found this pic w/o hallmark / no tufa inside square tho.
/also no plate on back…I’m curious as to who VJD would be also…hmmm

Very pretty. I like the ketoh style buckles.

I couldn’t find the piece that goes with the tufa stone, but you will notice how one half has lines roughing up the surface. The two pieces are good examples of work with multiple textures. Hope that helps you visualize how it is done.


Thanks Jason. Any ideas on the maker, age, or turquoise type?

If the piece doesn’t have a hallmark it is difficult, especially since sandcast patterns can be used by multiple artist. Looks like a piece of Kingman.

Does that mean sandcast and tufa are the same? Or tufa as a mold is a type of sandcast?

Here is a useful (although slightly long) video that shows the difference between tufa and sandcasting. They are different.

I think though, that there is some confusion because in the world of NA jewelry we sometimes also use the word “sandcast” to refer to casting in sandstone. This is essentially the same thing as tufa casting, except done with sandstone instead of tufa stone. Here is a video that shows the difference between tufa (which is compressed volcanic ash) and sandstone.

Anyone please correct me if I am wrong

Here is another reference that supports what I was saying above:

“An alternate method of forming the silver was to cast it in a flat mold carved into fine-grained sandstone or ash-rock (tuff or tufa), or even a piece of dense wood. Now incorrectly called “sand-casting,” this technique was less frequently used because carving and heating the mold and pouring the silver required great skill and experience. Moreover, the molds produced only one or two casts before they became to degraded to reuse.”

Actually, this whole article is a useful summary of NA jewelry for anyone interested.

@Jason, I have trouble though differentiating tufa/sandstone cast pieces from actual sand casting (where a negative mold is made from a positive existing piece and then copies are made). Any tips?