Why are they so expensive?
Both of these answers relate to our high standards of craftsmanship and commitment to quality. Our belt buckles and other items are not cast metal, they are hand wrought and work-hardened; a process which makes them exceptionally durable (but time consuming to create).
Gold and silver have the wonderful property of being malleable; the ability to deform under compressive stress. As the metal is compressed, it undergoes changes in it's molecular shape (see explanation to the right) which make it more durable and resistant to wear.
We start our belt buckles from 1.5mm rolled sheet and wire which is
already tempered and tensioned from the rolling process under huge
presses at the metal refinery. This gives us a very dense metal to begin
The buckle shapes are cut and filed by hand
Then the plates are hammered into a beautiful curve. This further
compresses and tensions the metal.
The Aspen leaves are each created individually and hand engraved with
steel chisels and a pneumatic hammer which leaves a hardened, compressed
groove on the surface, resistant to wear.
All our Aspen Leaf jewelry is unconditionally lifetime guaranteed. Our belt buckles have survived house fires, motorcycle crashes, and multiple generations of daily wear. They are treasures and heirlooms, and over time will bear all the marks of your life.
Durability; how it works:
Gold and silver in a raw, un-worked state (such as cast or plated metal) has a rounded molecular structure. Consequently, the contact points with other molecules is slight, and individual molecules are easily picked off by abrasion and lost (wear).
Un-worked metal is also somewhat porous; there are gaps between the uncompressed molecules. This makes the metal brittle and prone to breaking. It lacks tensile strength.
When malleable metal is compressed (hammered, rolled, etc) the molecules flatten and elongate, and several things happen:
Finally, the buckle is boiled in acid to clean it and hand-buffed for another 30 minutes to achieve a deep polish. But the truth is; our Aspen Leaves become MORE beautiful with daily use and abuse. They are the most durable belt buckles that you will find.