The “Scrap Buckles” were some of James Stegman’s first truly experimental pieces, and he’s returned to the theme once again after several years. For him, the building process is as fun and freeing as the end result itself. The buckle’s face features an energetic medley of fragments: yellow and rose gold, sterling silver, & yellow and blue diamonds chief among them. James also adorned the back of the buckle with a dark jester motif—hence the buckle’s secondary name, Retreat of the Dark Fool—representing a departure from his recent exploration of some serious, occasionally melancholic themes and a return to his early creative roots in optimism and generative energy.
Handmade sterling silver with 18k round wire edge, interrupted by hope. The top half of the buckle is textured silver, the bottom half is textured 18k gold, as a representation of the “half full” motto of James Christian. The running wire is round platinum, adorned with a diamond progression starting with an unfinished precious stone and ending in two white polished diamonds. A portion of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to the semicolon project, a project designed to recognize the struggle of those with depression and suicide and addiction, people who have chosen to continue their story.
Inspired by the caterpillar of the same name in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Absolem is also a tribute to Alan Rickman, who played the character in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. This is a personal piece, since the silversmith’s family is big fans of the late, great actor. With such inspiration, it’s no wonder this buckle looks like it belongs on the pages of the book. Its curved, sterling silver face is blackened, then adorned with letters of all shapes and sizes. All of them are hand-cut, and made from silver, fourteen-carat and eighteen-carat gold. As a final flourish, Stegman has placed several yellow and blue sapphires over the entire piece. Signed by the artist with “smoke rings” carved into the back of the buckle, this is a one-of-a-kind collectible. Fits all 1.5-inch belt straps.
America’s oldest western silversmiths, Comstock Heritage was founded in 1886. Since then they have been perfecting the art of taking metal from the earth and shaping it into something beautiful. James Christian Stegman is the current owner. The Stegman family has owned the business since the 1920s, making everything from badges for law enforcement to ornamentation for saddles. Using this storied history and expertise, the craftsmen at Comstock now specialize in one-of-a-kind custom silver and gold pieces. Everything Comstock produces is made entirely by hand, reflecting respect for the materials and care for the family legacy of Comstock Heritage.
Part of the James Christian Collection, ”One Moment” features 18k yellow gold characters, jester motifs, and bezels for its two blue and two yellow diamonds. A harlequin-pattern 14k gold border surrounds the darkened and layer-engraved sterling silver face, adding dimensions of depth, movement, and texture to buttress the design’s aesthetic diversity and set off the smooth, bold centerpiece. The Japanese characters ichi-go, ichi-e translate to “one time, one meeting”, a folk idiom referring to the once-in-a-lifetime nature of a moment, especially a social gathering, which can be replicated but never repeated exactly. Appreciation for this “one moment” is shown by mindful presence and sincere participation—a notion resonant with the way James Stegman approaches each one-of-a-kind piece in the James Christian Collection. Handmade to fit all 1.5 inch belt straps.
James Christian belt buckle, handmade with sterling silver, 22k gold, and colored diamonds.
Running in Circles features an array of circles that is at once chaotic and balanced, all contained within the buckle’s sterling silver oval with 18k yellow gold round wire edge. The inner adornments are composed of 14k rose, sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, 14k white gold, and a large 22k circle around a 18k gold James Christian jester. Some circles have are centered with yellow and blue diamonds, while the 14k white gold circles feature off-centered green or cognac diamonds.
James Christian pieces have a particular meaning for creator James Christian Stegman—these are works of unapologetic curiosity and self-exploration, art made for the artist. All James Christian pieces bear the trademark Jester, an image of special significance to James. The jester is a classic literary figure of underestimation, a “wise fool” whose comedy masks incisive commentary and satire. Stegman, whose workshop looks more like a speakeasy than a studio, says he would prefer to be underestimated.