Teton Belt Buckle Step-by-Step

The Teton Range is the featured horizon line on this belt buckle. I made this for a customer who wanted a very special graduation present for her Wyoming son. It is all sterling silver with elk ivory highlights.

To get a nice an accurate mountain range line I printed out some photos of the teton range, chose my favorite and sized it to the ballpark size I needed for the buckle. I used this line as a guide to trace a good ridgeline onto silver sheet. Instead of making a straight bottom line I decided to make a curving line to mirror the feel of the winding Snake River that flows beneath the Grand Teton Range.

My customer had requested a rope-like border on the buckle so I twisted together two lengths of silver wire, shaped those into an oval and slightly hammered that flat. I soldered the mountains and border to another sheet of silver. Meanwhile I cut and polished two elk ivories that she had provided and built the settings for them.

Once I had soldered the mountains and border on the buckle I flipped it over and set that into warm "pitch" so that I could hammer the back and dome out the front. I think belt buckles in this style look nice if there is a slight dome to them.

Once that was finished I flipped the buckle over and added texture around the mountains and river so that the main part of the image would visually pop out. Then I sawed away the extra silver on the edges, soldered the ivory settings to the front and a hook and loop to the back, and set the stones into place.