By Douglas Tate
Photograph Courtesy of Ferrum & Hide
Male jewelry with a fine-gun connection is trending right now. Proprietary wristwatches can be found in lots of gunmakers’ catalogs, I own cufflinks in the shape of Scottish round-action safeties by silversmith Malcolm Appleby, and now come belt buckles in the house style of famous makers with color-case-hardened finishes.
The talented gun-engraving family of Dave, Brad and Wesley Tallett have buckled into the idea of making belts of hide with ferrous fasteners. For those unfamiliar with British gun engraving, Brad and Wes are sons of Dave. Wes trained with Holland & Holland, while Dave and Brad have engraved extensively for James Purdey & Sons. According to Brad: “A couple of years back my father had decided to retire from full-time gun engraving and as a sort of hobby project started making belt buckles using and inspired by gunmaking techniques, finishes and, of course, engraving. He designed, manually machined, filed, polished, engraved and finished a belt buckle inspired by the fine-quality guns he had worked with.”
Decades of experience go into creating these buckles, so they are not cheap. “The signature that is the simple hand-inlaid gold line is £1,200, the classic standard fine is £2,100 and the classic large scroll is £2,500. With personalized and specially designed projects, the sky is the limit. We could do gold, carving, diamonds—whatever the customer fancies.”
Because all are available on a bespoke basis, French-gray, blue and coin finishes are all offered, as are acanthus scroll, game scenes and precious-metal inlays.