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First Phase concha belts are among the earliest types of Navajo silver jewelry. These early conchas are recognized by their oval shapes, scalloped edges and diamond cutout opening. Another characteristic of First Phase conchas is the emphasis on the natural luster of the undecorated silver surface rather than engraved or repousse designs or turquoise inlay. The silver was obtained by melting American coins or Mexican pesos. Both Navajo men and women wore these large, heavy belts as an important part of their dress. At the turn of the 20th century tourist demand for a lightweight form of Navajo jewelry popularized the use of concha belts among non-Natives.
height 3.75 in ; length 48.25 in