Information about silver buckle (artist or meaning)?

My late grandfather’s belt buckle, which be may have been purchased in Arizona or New Mexico in the early 1970’s. It is stamped with a character I cannot make out and “Gay” (short for Begay?). I recognize the Thunderbird on the left and the butte on the right, but any information about the symbol/design in the middle would be great!


The art-amerindien site shows that is a stamp of a bee to the left of GAY indicating “Begay” but has a question mark. A similar buckle I found indicates nickel or German silver.

Thanks! Yes I found that on the site afterwards as well.

It is unidentified but listed under the Indian Native American Jewelry & Southwest hallmarks, letter: G section; does this mean it is native made and not fake?

The symbol in the middle is a teepee. The bird on the left is not a thunderbird, it is a peyote bird, symbols used with the Native American church.

I also have a cuff with the peyote bird and the teepee. You may know, but this is called chip inlay, and was popularized by the deceased Navajo artist Tommy Singer.


German silver was also used by NA craftsman.

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Indeed! Because it is chip inlay, is it likely Navajo? (if the hallmark belongs to a native artist, currently unidentified)

I don’t know for sure, but I would guess that it is. Especially if he bought it in the '70s, and if the last name is Begay that is a common Navajo name.

I couldn’t find any sterling stamp, so it very well may be a copper and nickel alloy

Here is a link with a bit of info on the peyote bird. Native American Symbol – Peyote (Water) Bird Colors | Native American Jewelry Tips

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BTW, welcome to the site!

Thank you! Glad there is a community for native turquoise art!

I actually just linked this, Talking about chip inlay: If you’re thinking of buying a piece to another thread, but thought you might find it interesting.

Oh I read that article the other day, extremely informative!

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Is it possible that the hallmark is a bee with the letters GAY, so together read “Begay”?

It’s Navajo peyote religion bird imagery, I believe. The bluff at right surely is one of the famous Mittens in Monument Valley.

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I don’t think there’s any question it is the same hallmark as pictured but that doesn’t mean it’s legit or it would have been attributed to someone. Even if that is an M in front of it I couldn’t locate it through any of my resources.