Navajo Sterling Silver Bear Belt Buckle
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Valentino - Navajo
What is Overlay?
Overlay pieces are made of two sterling silver layers. The bottom layer is a piece of solid sterling silver. The top sterling silver layer has a cutout design. The cutout is placed over the bottom layer and the two pieces are "sweated" together, that is heated so that they become one. The bottom layer (background to the cutout) is usually accented. The Navajo silversmiths oxidize the bottom layer which darkens it. Hopi silversmiths oxidize and etch the background (texturize it) with hash marks.
Bear is considered the most powerful of all of the animals and is one of the most popular subjects of fetish carvers. Bear is a spiritual guide and represents strength and self-knowledge. He has supernatural powers, great healing powers. Bear is a symbol deliberate action, introspection, soul and insight for the past and the future. The Bear is the guardian of the West an is one of the animals of the Six Directions. The most powerful medicine bear is White Bear.