1861-R Adirondack II
Hand Engraved 4-Piece Ranger Belt Buckle Set
The sterling silver 4-piece 1861-R is engraved on a version of the Adirondack II buckle blank with two narrower keepers instead of one wide.
The Adirondack II belt buckle is assembled from 5 pieces of silver and gold using tiny jeweler's screws. The oval centerpiece is sandwiched between the body of the buckle and the backplate. The layers of metals on this set, as well as the engraved design, gives it a 3-dimensional, sculptural look. In addition to the obvious running leaf-patterns, it has a great variety of border-patterns. Not the least of which is the double border on the tip, each with a rose and two rosebuds.
Ever pursuing new limits and perspectives on buckle-making, Neil's new Americana Collection is the height of craftsmanship and artistry. These belt buckles are inspired by ornamentation on 19th century American guns, which were mostly engraved by German and Austrian immigrant craftsmen. Among them, engraving by German immigrant LD Nimschke is the most well-known and well-documented, and as such, Neil has found much inspiration perusing the book of "smoke-prints" of Nimschke's work. Pieces in the Americana Collection are simply numbered from 1851 - to as close to 1900 as Neil gets before his body gives out. His goal is to engrave 50 pieces for this collection.
The 1861-R Adirondack II 1" (25mm) ranger set looks very handsome on any color strap.
About Gun-Style Engraving
In the 1800s the American West was settled by Europeans, who were also the first to wear silver buckle tip sets. These buckle sets came to be known as Ranger Sets, after the legendary Texas Rangers. At that time engraving was directly from, or inspired by, European traditions in design and technique. Engraving in silver and engraving on guns were diverging into distinctly different styles. This distinction, as well as the popularity of ranger sets, was accentuated when Hollywood defined the “cowboy look” in the 1920s and -30s. This Western, or Bright-Cut, engraving became the standard for buckle engraving and has been the de facto method and look… until now.
Neil’s buckle sets are engraved in the Gun-Style (single point) rather than the Western style (bright cut), and are finding popularity for their sophisticated look and attractive designs. His hand engraved original buckles are highly valued by afficionados. These traditional ranger buckle sets with old world gun-style engraving remind us that the New West is still firmly rooted in the Old West.
The essence of tradition in the arts can be seen in 2,000 years of continually evolving Acanthus decoration, from Greek columns, to English shotguns, and now to American belt buckles.