belt buckle material types

Western Belt Buckle Material Types: Zinc, Silver, Pewter

In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at stainless steel and brass belt buckles – two of the most common materials out there for rodeo and other belt buckles today. These are just two of many possible materials often used for these products, and making the right selection here is important depending on your needs.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to offer a wide range of custom rodeo belt buckles, fashion buckles and various custom accessories for clients in both Utah and Texas alike. Today’s part two of our series will dig into some other common material types used for Western belt buckles today, plus their benefits and why you might consider them.

Zinc Alloy

This mix of zinc, copper, aluminum and magnesium is known for its great strength and hardiness, and is often used in the creation of belt buckles. It’s also resistant to rust and corrosion, making it a great option if you’re looking for something that will last through heavy use.

The fact that it can be made with complex designs means you still have the ability to create intricate and ornate buckles for those special occasions. It’s also an affordable option, making it a great choice if you’re looking for something that won’t cost too much to produce.


Whether we’re talking about plain silver or sterling silver, this is a great metal for belt buckles due to its durability and attractive finish. It’s also hypoallergenic, which makes it an ideal choice for anyone who is sensitive to certain metals. Silver buckle designs can often be quite intricate, offering up a beautiful aesthetic with every wear.

The cost of silver varies quite a bit depending on the quality and design, but as a general rule it will be much more expensive than zinc alloy or brass. However, if you’re looking for something that will last for years with minimal maintenance, then silver could be the right choice.


For those unfamiliar with is, pewter is a tarnish-resistant silver-toned metal that’s created by mixing tin with either copper or antimony. This mixture adds to the durability of the buckle, making it a great option for those who want something that’s resistant to wear and tear. It also has good malleability, so complex designs can still be created with relative ease.

Pewter is an affordable metal, but it does have some drawbacks: it isn’t as strong as zinc alloy or silver, and it can be prone to scratching or denting if not cared for properly. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank but still offers good durability, then pewter could be a great choice.

For more on the materials used for belt buckles today, or to learn about any of our quality buckles or accessories, speak to our team at A Cut Above Buckles today.

western belt buckle material types

Utah Western Belt Buckle Material Types: Steel, Brass

Many of our favorite items can be made using a few different source materials, and one of the best examples here in Western circles is the belt buckle. Whether for fashion use or use within rodeo and other Western settings, belt buckles can be fashioned from several different high-quality materials – how do they differ, and which is best for you?

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to offer a huge selection of custom rodeo trophy buckles and other Western belt buckles, made from the finest materials. What are some of the top materials used today for these buckles, and which is ideal for your needs? This two-part blog series will take a look.

Stainless Steel

One of the best materials for those looking for an aesthetically-pleasing, easy-to-care-for buckle is stainless steel. This metal is not only durable and strong, but it also does not rust or corrode like many other types of metals. It’s also relatively lightweight, so that means you can easily attach your belt buckle to a variety of different belts without worrying about the weight causing any wear or damage.

Stainless steel buckles are used in a variety of different settings, from fashion to rodeo. They are also often used in awards and trophies due to their attractive sheen and classic look. One of the great things about steel is how easy it is to polish and keep clean; a simple cloth and some metal polish can help keep your stainless steel buckles looking great for years to come.


Another great option here, one that’s known for versatility and strength, is brass. Brass buckles are usually much heavier than stainless steel varieties, but they also have a greater level of detail and can be used for various decorative purposes. Like stainless steel, brass does not corrode or rust over time – it’s incredibly durable and built to last.

Brass buckles often feature intricate designs or engravings, making them perfect for any occasion. They are also incredibly affordable, even when compared to stainless steel buckles; this makes them a great option if you’re on a budget and want a great-looking buckle that won’t break the bank.

If you do decide to go the brass route, be sure you’re aware that over time, brass develops what’s known as a “patina” – a darkening of the metal’s surface. This natural change can be seen as attractive, but some people prefer to keep their buckles looking shiny and new, so this should be taken into consideration when making your selection.

In part two of our series, we’ll look at a few additional materials that are ideal for belt buckles. Stay tuned to learn more about the material best suited for you! For more on this, or to learn about any of our Western or rodeo belt buckles, speak to our team at A Cut Above Buckles today.

rodeo themed holiday gifts

Utah Rodeo-Themed Holiday Gifts to Consider

The holidays are around the corner, and people around Utah are looking for great gift ideas for those close to them. For those who enjoy rodeos and various other Western themes, these are often ideal starting points for gift ideas – and there are numerous area you might consider within this realm.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re happy to offer an unmatched selection of rodeo belt buckles and various other Western accessories for clients around Utah, whether you participate in rodeos yourself or just enjoy the fashion styles they come with. Here are a few of our top gift ideas for this upcoming holiday season for the rodeo lover in your life.

A Custom Belt Buckle

One of the most popular items we offer at A Cut Above Buckles is our custom belt buckles, which are perfect for those who want a unique gift that makes a statement. We work with clients across Utah to design and create one-of-a-kind custom belt buckles that reflect the recipient’s personality and preferences.

Whether you’re looking for an item that can commemorate a special event, or just something to show off your passion for the rodeo, our custom belt buckles are sure to be a hit. They’re ideal not only for those who actively participate in rodeos, but also for those who simply appreciate the fashion or aesthetic.

Western-Style Jewelry

Another great gift idea from A Cut Above Buckles is our selection of Western jewelry, which are perfect for adding a stylish touch to any outfit. From classic rodeo-style bracelets and rings to intricate necklaces and earrings, there’s something for everyone in our selection. We also offer custom jewelry pieces that can be designed to match the recipient’s taste, making it one of the most special gifts you could give.

Many clients love our selection of pendants and necklaces, which offer a timeless Western style with subtle hints of luxury. They’re perfect for adding a dash of rodeo-style flair to any look, and our experienced jewelers can customize them to perfectly match the recipient’s preferences.

Other Accessories

There are a wide range of other accessories a rodeo lover might enjoy. Spurs, for instance, can be great for those who actively participate in rodeos, while Western-style hats can make a fashionable statement. We also offer custom items like belt keepers and buckles, as well as unique leather pieces including wallets, knife sheaths, and more – all of which make for excellent gifts.

No matter what you’re looking for this holiday season, A Cut Above Buckles has something that’s sure to make the perfect gift for any Western-style enthusiast in Utah. Browse our selection of custom and pre-made items today to find the perfect addition to your holiday shopping list!

Western themes mainstream fashion

Western Themes in Mainstream Fashion: Felt, Boots, Turquoise

In part one of this two-part blog series, we looked at some of the most popular items of Western-inspired fashion that have bled over into mainstream fashion as well. Western style is unique and distinctive, and certain of its elements have become so well-known that they’ve influenced major culture in significant ways.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to provide clients with a wide range of Western products, from our rodeo and championship belt buckles to various Western jewelry and other accessories. What are some other Western products that have become infused into popular culture? Here are a few to consider.


While Western culture can’t make any claim to inventing felt material, cowboys and Native Americans alike have long been associated with this unique fabric. Felt is created by compressing and matting fibers together, which is a process that was historically used in order to create clothing and other objects that could better withstand the harsh conditions of the Western frontier.

In recent years, felt has become a popular material for a wide range of fashion accessories, from handbags and purses to hats and even shoes. Felt is often used as a trimming or accenting material, but there are also plenty of garments and accessories that are made entirely out of felt.


A key part of Western culture and history, boots have long been associated with cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws alike. Boots are designed to protect the feet and lower legs from the elements, and they first became popular in the American West during the mid-19th century.

Boots have continued to be popular in Western culture, but they’ve also become a fashion staple in mainstream culture as well. Boots are now available in a wide range of styles, from cowboy boots to work boots to fashion boots, and they’re worn by people of all ages and genders.


Down slightly different lines, a color that’s been historically associated with the American West is turquoise. This blue-green hue has been used in Native American jewelry and art for centuries, and it’s long been considered to be a sacred color.

Turquoise is still popular in Western culture, but it has also become a mainstream fashion trend in recent years. Turquoise can be found in a wide range of clothing and accessories, from jeans and shirts to jewelry and shoes.

For instance, at A Cut Above Buckles, we offer a wide range of turquoise-adorned belt buckles, pendants, earrings, and more.

These are just a few of the ways that Western culture has had a major influence on mainstream fashion trends. For more on this, or to learn about our wide selection of Western belt buckles and other products, speak to the team at A Cut Above Buckles today.

western themes mainstream fashion buckles

Western Themes in Mainstream Utah Fashion: Belt Buckles, Denim, Bolos

The wide world of mainstream fashion regularly pulls from specific fashion sub-categories for inspiration and trends, and a great example here is the American West. Western style has long been distinctive and unique in several ways, and is so popular and well-known in many circles that if often becomes part of the larger fashion culture even outside Western culture itself.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to offer custom belt buckle products to clients throughout Utah and Texas, with needs ranging from rodeo performance to various areas of fashion. What are some of the specific forms of Western fashion that have bled over into mainstream over the years? Here are several to keep in mind.

Belt Buckles

While we’re obviously a bit biased given the products we produce, we believe belt buckles are some of the most defining aspects of Western fashion. Belt buckles come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, with many bearing intricate designs that reflect the unique heritage of the American West.

And in many cases, these products have become mainstream fashion accessories in their own right. Celebrities and everyday people alike often sport distinctly Western-style belt buckles as a way to add a bit of personality and flair to their overall look. It’s very common to see these buckles around, even on people who aren’t wearing other elements of Western fashion.


Another of the most popular Western fashion staples that has made its way into mainstream culture is denim. Denim jeans were once seen as distinctly Western garb, but they’ve now become a wardrobe staple for people all around the world.

There are few items of clothing more versatile than a good pair of jeans, and they can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. They’re also very comfortable, which helps to explain their widespread appeal.

When it comes to denim, Western fashion often features a more relaxed and rugged look. This can include items like distressed jeans or those with unique stitching or embellishments. But no matter the specific style, denim is a popular fabric that continues to have a strong presence in mainstream fashion.

Bolos and Other Accessories

Another way that Western fashion has made its way into the mainstream is through the use of unique accessories. Bolos, for example, are a type of necktie that originated in the American West.

They’re typically made from braided leather or cord, and feature an ornamental clasp in the front. Bolos are often worn as part of a more formal Western outfit, but they’ve also become popular fashion accessories in recent years.

You’ll often see people wearing bolos with more modern clothing items, as a way to add a bit of Western flair. This trend is particularly common among celebrities and other trendsetters.

For more on the major ways Western themes have impacted mainstream fashion, or to learn about any of our custom belt buckles for clients in Utah, Texas or any other area, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles today.

history custom belt buckles

The History Behind Today’s Custom Belt Buckles

The custom belt buckle is a vital part of many rodeo, equestrian and other Western events, but it’s a product with a history that dates back much longer than these pursuits. Belts and buckles have been around in some form for hundreds or even thousands of years, though opinions differ slightly on when custom belt buckles truly became part of our culture.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to offer a wide range of custom belt buckles for any purpose, and we’re also cognizant of the long history behind our products — both in the Western US and throughout the world. For our clients who are interested, here’s a brief history of belts and custom belt buckles so you can trace the origins of these products in our society.

Ancient Introduction

Technically speaking, the first buckles of any kind in known human history were created by the Greeks during the period of the Roman Empire. These buckles were made of either metal or bone, at least in most cases, and were used to secure clothing (a strange concept by today’s standards, of course). There are also tools created specifically for the purposes of creating these buckles, including the first rivet-making tools.

Belt Buckles

However, most agree that when it comes to buckles specifically for belts, it would be several hundred more years before the first such products were seen. Most accounts trace this back to the 16th century in Italy, where people began using ornately designed belts with metal buckles to secure their pants or other forms of lower-body clothing.

Of course, these buckles weren’t intended for personalization or much other decoration — the buckle was simply meant to serve its purpose. However, people were creative by nature, and soon they began adding embroidery or enamel work on top of these belt buckles.

Western US and Cowboys

Belt buckles were largely a functional item for several hundred years after this point, up to a vital piece of history for our company: When cowboys began using them for several purposes, including within rodeos and other Western events in the late 1800s.

Custom buckles really became a thing in the Western US, and it didn’t take long before just about every cowboy owned one. One way to tell a real cowboy from a pretender was which buckle they wore — that is, until other people started using them just for decoration or even fashion purposes.

And over the last several decades, custom belt buckles have served both these purposes well. They’re both must-have items for rodeos and equestrian events plus quality style options for many people, even those who don’t regularly compete in such events.

For more on the history of custom belt buckles, or to learn about any of our custom buckle options, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles today.

men’s belt buckle style templates

Men’s Belt Buckle Style Templates Found Today

While many who wear them are well aware that custom belt buckles provide aesthetic advantages that can’t be matched by more traditional styles, there’s a lesser-known benefit here as well: Versatility. Custom belt buckles are available in several different style templates, serving different needs or desires in both the practical and aesthetic realms simultaneously.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re happy to provide a huge range of custom belt buckles, from our Signature Series designed specifically for rodeo or equestrian events through three-piece buckles and numerous other options, meeting every practical and stylistic need you may have. What are a few of these different styles you might consider for your belt buckle? Here’s a primer.

Plate Style

Originally popularized by military belts and related items, the plate style belt buckle is one that’s ideal for those customizing a specific design onto their buckle. They’re very easy to design, with nearly limitless possibilities for color and design schemes, whether your tastes lie in the realm of pop culture, sports teams or classic western.

They’re also detachable, making them ideal for switching up looks if needed. They’re often worn in casual settings, but can also be utilized for rodeos, equestrian and other events.

Frame Style

For more formal, traditional belts, frame-style buckles are the most popular option. Easily customizable as well, this style buckle comes with a detachable center drape, allowing for greater design possibilities on the foil of your choice. They’re also highly durable and resistant to scratches or other damage from daily use, making them perfect for various riding events if you choose to go this route.

Frame style belt buckles tend to be square or D-shaped, but can also be round in some cases.

Box Frame

The style that many of our custom belt buckles come in is the box frame alignment, which involves a larger design up front and a strap that presses against the inside. This belt type does not require holes, and fits right inside the hollow box that contains the outward design. For the largest and most prominent custom belt buckle designs, the box frame is typically the way to go.

O-Ring and D-Ring

These styles refer to belt buckles where the belt is fastened by threading it through the buckle. These options often can’t be customized quite as much, but they’re extremely durable and long-lasting. They also tend to be more traditional in overall design, especially when it comes to classic western belts.

For more on the general belt buckle style templates out there, or to learn about any of our custom Western or rodeo belt buckles, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles today.

How to Clean Your Rodeo Belt Buckle in Utah

How to Clean and Maintain Your Rodeo Belt Buckle in Utah

When you receive a custom belt buckle in Utah from A Cut Above Buckles, you’re not just getting a stylish accessory — you’re getting a lasting memory of an achievement. Many of our clients buy our buckles as gifts, but intend to keep them in the family as heirlooms. But whether you plan on sharing your rodeo belt buckle in Utah with future generations or not, you’ll need to know how to keep it in its best condition. From your favorite custom belt buckle maker, here is a guide on how to maintain your buckle.

Understanding Rodeo Belt Buckles in Utah

There are several different methods of making rodeo belt buckles. One of our most used techniques starts with casting a buckle using a non-precious metal and a mold. Using non-precious metal for the base of the buckle maximizes the product’s durability, and using a mold allows us to work tiny, intricate details into the buckle.

Next, we plate the cast buckle with a precious metal, such as silver, gold, bronze, brass, or copper. This creates the elaborate shine and color you usually see in a trophy buckle.

Knowing how your buckle was made and what materials it’s made from will help you better understand how to clean and maintain it. Using the wrong tools and materials to clean your plated buckle could cause some of the plating to be damaged.

How to Clean Your Belt Buckle

Although we recommend finding out what type of metals your buckle is made of before cleaning, if you’re unsure you can always use a 100% cotton polishing cloth. This can be used safely on all metals. Start by simply wiping the buckle with the cloth. However, you can add some mild soap as needed. Be sure to always remove all excess soap and water when you’re done cleaning.

If your belt buckle has many tiny relief details, a cloth may not be able to reach all of the nooks and crannies of the design. For buckles like these, you can use a soft bristled toothbrush to gently remove tarnish and dirt from your buckle.

You may be tempted to use silver polish or jewelry cleaner on your belt, but it’s better to avoid these items. Abrasive silver polish pastes, aerosol silver cleaners, and other jewelry cleaners can be far too harsh on your belt buckle. Using the wrong products on a rodeo belt buckle in Utah can actually cause the buckle to become more tarnished.

Whatever materials you end up using, be sure to clean the buckle slowly and gently, and never soak your trophy buckle in water.

Maintaining Custom Western Belt Buckles in Utah

You can make cleaning your belt buckle easier on yourself by doing some routine maintenance on your buckle.

Storing your belt buckle in cloth bags designed for silver, or even in an old tube sock, can help to prevent scratches and tarnishing. Buffing your buckle with a cotton cloth once a week will also help keep the tarnish away. And finally, avoid getting lotions, perfumes, hand sanitizers, and other harsh products on the buckle.

At A Cut Above Buckles, our products are made to last. If you take these steps to clean your rodeo belt buckle in Utah, it’ll look good as new for years to come.

Why Custom Belt Buckles Make Great Gifts and Prizes

Why Custom Belt Buckles in Utah Make Great Gifts, Prizes and More

A custom made rodeo belt buckle is the ultimate prize to show off to Utah friends and neighbors. Why stop at the lavishness of a pre-made rodeo belt buckle when you can make it one-of-a-kind too? At A Cut Above Buckles, we offer custom rodeo belt buckles in Utah because we know it’s what our customers love. Our designers work tirelessly to come up with only the best ideas for our custom belt buckle orders, and our silversmiths then carefully and expertly execute the designs.

Custom belt buckles from A Cut Above Buckles feature intricately carved images, such as cowboys roping calves, feathers, wild pony racing, flowers, bucking bulls, and more. We use a non-precious metal base with gold and silver overlay so that you come away with a belt that is shiny and showy on the outside and sturdy and durable on the inside.

When it comes to customization, the options are endless. Here are a few of our favorite ways customers use our custom belt buckles.


A one-of-a-kind, personalized belt buckle makes a great gift for friends, family, and other loved ones. Whether it’s dad’s 75th birthday, your son’s graduation, or a milestone anniversary for you and your spouse, a custom belt buckle is a gift they’ll cherish forever. In fact, some families commission custom belt buckles for the purpose of passing them down to their descendents as a family heirloom.

Custom belt buckles can be engraved with the recipient’s initials to make the gift all the more special. When you get a loved one a custom belt buckle, you’re showing them that they’re one of a kind too.


Before he was a successful businessman, the founder of A Cut Above Buckles was a rodeo competitor. At A Cut Above Buckles, we know how meaningful it is for winners of rodeo contests to display the spoils of their skills and bravery. That makes us the perfect people to design and execute custom trophy buckles as prizes for your next rodeo contest. When the rodeo contest winner walks around town with our custom trophy buckle, everyone will know he’s a winner.

For Businesses

Belt buckles emblazoned with your brand logo or company name make great merchandise for your business. You can resell them as company swag, or you can give them away as gifts to employees and clients as a way to promote your business. However you decide you want to use custom belt buckles for your business, A Cut Above Buckles can help. We even offer discounts for bulk orders.

Your Custom Belt Buckle Maker

When you get a custom belt buckle in Utah from A Cut Above Buckles, you know you’re getting a high-quality, handmade, artisan product. After over two decades of being in the business, we know a thing or two about trophy buckles in Utah.

A cut above buckle

The Origins of Rodeo Belt Buckles in Utah

In 2021, most of us associate trophy buckles in Utah with cowboys, rodeo champions, and the wild west. Today, those immersed in the culture surrounding country music and rodeos don these ornate, oversized belt buckles to make a statement. But where do trophy belt buckles come from? Your custom belt buckle maker, A Cut Above Buckles, is here to answer that question.

The Military Origins of Cowboy Belt Buckles

Before cowboys ever wore belts, they wore suspenders. In fact, in the 1800s, most men wore suspenders, not belts. The only time belts were worn in the United States before the 1920s was by military personnel, who wore them not for function, but for decoration. In Europe, it was custom for soldiers to go into battle looking their best by wearing large, engraved belt buckles. While soldiers wore buckles made of brass, higher military officials had buckles made of gold.

This tradition made its way into the United States. Revolutionary War veterans would don such belt buckles, as well as those who were fighting in the Civil War. At first, belt buckles mostly were decorated with engravings of military symbols, but soon symbols of western culture began to be incorporated into belt buckle designs as well.

When Did Cowboys Start Wearing Belts?

In the 1920s, Levi Strauss started producing jeans with belt loops. This was the first ever American brand to mass produce these types of pants, and consumers — including cowboys — began making the switch from suspenders to belts, as they were much more convenient and functional. Around the same time period, rodeos began awarding winners with rodeo belt buckles.

What was Hollywood’s Role in Popularizing Trophy Buckles in Utah?

Around the same time as the belt renaissance of the 1920s, Hollywood was producing a number of films that romanticized the lives of cowboys — think Tumbleweeds (1925), the Virginian (1929), The Big Trail (1930). Filmmakers would turn up the cowboy aesthetic to make their films more appealing, and soon real cowboys started dressing more like movie cowboys.

Hollywood was also responsible for popularizing shiny belt buckles. Edward H. Bohlin, a Swedish immigrant and leather crafter, worked closely with the moviestar Tom Mix, making him custom saddles and belts. Mix was primarily known for his roles in cowboy movies, where he would sport Bohlin’s custom belts, which featured silver trim and accents. Bohlin’s belts were some of the first to have the luster we see on belt buckles today.

A Cut Above Buckles is your trusted custom belt buckle maker honoring the history of western aesthetics in the United States. Our founder and president Andy Andrews is a real cowboy, so you can be sure that your trophy belt will be expertly crafted. Whether you’re a cowboy, a veteran, a rodeo champion, or a fan of western culture, A Cut Above Buckles has something for you.