Belt Buckles are the stuff of American legends. The shiny metal clasp held up cowboy britches, secured saddles and even adorned Madonna in her “Like A Virgin” era.
Dating back to its earliest known use around the 3rd or 2nd century B.C. by a semi-nomadic Xiongnu people, buckles have been a tool for harnessing, fastening and expressing adornment for millennia. Collectors Weekly compared today’s belt buckles to crowns. The bigger and more ornate the buckle, the higher the status of the wearer.
Whether you like your buckles Western-style or sleek, we think it’s important to know the history of the most iconic latches. We’ve rounded up 19 of our favorite belt buckles and a few of the tales that go along with them. And if you’re looking for your own buckles, find classic pieces in brass and pewter or go all-out tacky with retro items like old Nintendo games or gold-dipped cassette tapes. Just remember to wear them with pride!