Reproduction of Latgallian (Baltic) Late Iron Age Belt from archaeological finds in Latvia

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Reproduction of Latgallian (Baltic) Late Iron Age Belt from archaeological finds in Latvia

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$1,200.00

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Item details

Handmade item

Made to order

Materials

bronze, bronza, pronks, žalvaris, томпак, Messing, laiton, latão, brons, bronse, leather, cuir, Leder

Based on extant leather belts with copper alloy (bronze/brass) plates, rings, buckles and fittings from Priekuļa Ģūģeri burial No. 13, and Ludzas Odukalna burial field in Latvia. Both finds are 11-12th century C.E. Latgallian. The Latgallians (latgaļi) were a Baltic chiefdom, who resided almost entirely within the borders of present-day Latvia, with only minor overlap into what are now Estonia and Russia. The other three Baltic chiefdoms of ancient Latvia, the Couronians (kurši), Semigallians (zemgaļi), and Selonians (sēļi), can also legitimately be claimed as ancestors by the Lithuanians.

These belts are both ornamental and practical. I don't know if the plates had a practical function beyond wowing the ladies, but the rings are useful as attachments for all manner of small tools, often hung from chains. Think of Batman's utility belt, but a millennium earlier. The trousers worn at the time were without pockets. Even without a dagger or purse, these belts will make your inner Latgallian feel fully dressed!

I have cut the belts myself from a very sturdy 3mm (1/8", a.k.a. 8 oz.) thick, top-grain, vegetable-tanned cowhide, which is more practical for me to make and you to wear than the thinner leather wrapped around birchbark, which is reported to have been used in the originals. I have beveled all edges, front and back, stained the leather to resemble traditionally oak-tanned hides, and treated them with mink oil for a long-lasting, buttery, and stain-resistant finish. The default strap width is 40mm (1 and 9/16"), but I can make them narrow or wider, since I make every one to order.

The original belts appear to have been of a fixed length, rather than being adjustable. In order for these to last a lifetime, as would benefit such an investment, I have invented a way to simulate the appearance of a fixed-length belt, while allowing for as many inches of future expanding girth as you would care to order. Instead of passing the end of the strap through the buckle and then leaving it outside the belt, the end passes underneath the buckle plate and is secured with a special fixture that passes through the hole and over the prong, securing the belt just as firmly, but keeping the unsightly strap end from detracting from the copper-alloy ornaments.

I cast the buckles myself from a prototype sculpted to replicate the archaeological sources. At 0.4mm, the plates are slightly thicker than the originals and modified to be more sturdy. I fabricate from C23000 alloy, commonly called red brass, a.k.a "Nugold" and "tombak," which is Cu85/Zn15. This metal not only has a warmer color than yellow brass (typically Cu50-65/Zn35-50), but, according to A. Anteins in "Bronza Latvijā" (1988), it is also very similar in composition to ornamental Late Iron Age/Early Medieval Baltic copper alloys. I cast using silicon bronze, which is a good color match for red brass, but is better suited to casting. My copper alloys contain no lead, cadmium, or nickel, but they may contain minute amounts of silver or tin.

This is an investment to last for a lifetime, so it is important that the fit be correct. Please measure carefully. This is a very labor-intensive piece, and each one is bespoke crafted to fit the customer: if you tell me the wrong size, I cannot easily sell it to someone else. For this reason, non-refundable deposits must be strictly enforced with this item. To measure, please take a belt that fits you well over the tunic with which you intend to wear it. Note which hole fits best, and mark it. Then lay the belt out flat and measure with a taut tape from the bar of the buckle to the chosen hole. That is the measurement I need, whether in cm or inches. Do not tell me your nominal belt length or waistband size, as those can be off by as much as several cm or even inches. I will size the belt with one hole smaller than your stated size, and around six holes larger. That will give you a bit of room to diet,... as well as a few more trips to the smorgasbord in the years ahead. With a proper fit, the plates at both ends of the belt should almost meet at the buckle, as shown in the photos.

Shipping fees are estimates. I will refund the difference if the shipping you paid exceeds actual shipping costs plus $2 for packaging by more than one dollar. If the shipping fee is underestimated, I will cover the difference.
Based on extant leather belts with copper alloy (bronze/brass) plates, rings, buckles and fittings from Priekuļa Ģūģeri burial No. 13, and Ludzas Odukalna burial field in Latvia. Both finds are 11-12th century C.E. Latgallian. The Latgallians (latgaļi) were a Baltic chiefdom, who resided almost entirely within the borders of present-day Latvia, with only minor overlap into what are now Estonia and Russia. The other three Baltic chiefdoms of ancient Latvia, the Couronians (kurši), Semigallians (zemgaļi), and Selonians (sēļi), can also legitimately be claimed as ancestors by the Lithuanians.

These belts are both ornamental and practical. I don't know if the plates had a practical function beyond wowing the ladies, but the rings are useful as attachments for all manner of small tools, often hung from chains. Think of Batman's utility belt, but a millennium earlier. The trousers worn at the time were without pockets. Even without a dagger or purse, these belts will make your inner Latgallian feel fully dressed!

I have cut the belts myself from a very sturdy 3mm (1/8", a.k.a. 8 oz.) thick, top-grain, vegetable-tanned cowhide, which is more practical for me to make and you to wear than the thinner leather wrapped around birchbark, which is reported to have been used in the originals. I have beveled all edges, front and back, stained the leather to resemble traditionally oak-tanned hides, and treated them with mink oil for a long-lasting, buttery, and stain-resistant finish. The default strap width is 40mm (1 and 9/16"), but I can make them narrow or wider, since I make every one to order.

The original belts appear to have been of a fixed length, rather than being adjustable. In order for these to last a lifetime, as would benefit such an investment, I have invented a way to simulate the appearance of a fixed-length belt, while allowing for as many inches of future expanding girth as you would care to order. Instead of passing the end of the strap through the buckle and then leaving it outside the belt, the end passes underneath the buckle plate and is secured with a special fixture that passes through the hole and over the prong, securing the belt just as firmly, but keeping the unsightly strap end from detracting from the copper-alloy ornaments.

I cast the buckles myself from a prototype sculpted to replicate the archaeological sources. At 0.4mm, the plates are slightly thicker than the originals and modified to be more sturdy. I fabricate from C23000 alloy, commonly called red brass, a.k.a "Nugold" and "tombak," which is Cu85/Zn15. This metal not only has a warmer color than yellow brass (typically Cu50-65/Zn35-50), but, according to A. Anteins in "Bronza Latvijā" (1988), it is also very similar in composition to ornamental Late Iron Age/Early Medieval Baltic copper alloys. I cast using silicon bronze, which is a good color match for red brass, but is better suited to casting. My copper alloys contain no lead, cadmium, or nickel, but they may contain minute amounts of silver or tin.

This is an investment to last for a lifetime, so it is important that the fit be correct. Please measure carefully. This is a very labor-intensive piece, and each one is bespoke crafted to fit the customer: if you tell me the wrong size, I cannot easily sell it to someone else. For this reason, non-refundable deposits must be strictly enforced with this item. To measure, please take a belt that fits you well over the tunic with which you intend to wear it. Note which hole fits best, and mark it. Then lay the belt out flat and measure with a taut tape from the bar of the buckle to the chosen hole. That is the measurement I need, whether in cm or inches. Do not tell me your nominal belt length or waistband size, as those can be off by as much as several cm or even inches. I will size the belt with one hole smaller than your stated size, and around six holes larger. That will give you a bit of room to diet,... as well as a few more trips to the smorgasbord in the years ahead. With a proper fit, the plates at both ends of the belt should almost meet at the buckle, as shown in the photos.

Shipping fees are estimates. I will refund the difference if the shipping you paid exceeds actual shipping costs plus $2 for packaging by more than one dollar. If the shipping fee is underestimated, I will cover the difference.

Shipping & returns

Ready to ship in 4–6 weeks
From Kensington, MD
Returns and exchanges accepted
Exceptions may apply. See return policy

Etsy offsets carbon emissions from every delivery


Reviews

5 out of 5 stars (189)

Payments

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Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
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Purchases of in-stock items may be cancelled without penalty for a full refund at any time prior to their being packaged for shipping. A fee of $20 will be charged if a stock order is cancelled after being packed but prior to being shipped.

Made-to-order items must be cancelled within the first 24 hours of purchase for a full refund, otherwise they will be assessed a 20% fee.

Exclusive commissions not made of gold are charged a non-refundable 50% deposit when the order is placed, with the balance due prior to shipping.

Any commissions in 18K gold will also require a 50% deposit, but for those, I will refund 80% (I will keep 20% of the total price, which is 40% of the deposit) if you cancel the order.

In some cases, Etsy will charge and remit applicable taxes directly, such as 6% MD sales tax for orders shipped to addresses in the State of Maryland, and, as of July 1, 2018, a 10% GST on orders of less than or equal to $1,000 AUD shipped to buyers in Australia. Other states are also instituting plans to collect sales tax on online purchases from out-of-state. I am not familiar with the details of every locality, but any taxes collected by Etsy will be remitted directly to the taxing authority. All other online customers are themselves responsible for any applicable taxes.

In-person sales are subject to all applicable national, state, and local taxes, which I will collect and remit to the relevant taxing authorities.

Returns & exchanges

I gladly accept returns, exchanges, and cancellations

Contact me within: 7 days of delivery
Ship items back within: 14 days of delivery
Request a cancellation within: 24 hours of purchase

The following items can't be returned or exchanged

Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
  • Custom or personalized orders
  • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
  • Digital downloads
  • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)

Returns and exchange details

I have made every effort to accurately describe my merchandise, including detailed photographs and approximate measurements. I make my work by hand, so sizes may occasionally vary by as much as ±10%.

If a stock product turns out not to be what you expected, you may return it within 14 days of receipt with all accessories in as-new condition for a 100% refund of the item price. Made-to-order standard items will be refunded at 80%. Bespoke commissioned works are non-refundable. In either case, insured shipping in both directions will remain your responsibility.

If have inadvertently misrepresented an item, I will reimburse the cost of insured shipping in both directions.

No claims for lost or damaged return shipments will be considered if they were not insured by you.

I carefully pack every shipment myself using multiple layers when appropriate; I even take care to wipe fingerprints off book covers before shipment. Each listing of used merchandise (books) discloses wear and damage in detail, and it is priced accordingly. Occasionally new hardcover books may have slightly bent corners due to the stresses of overseas shipping to me from the publisher. I am working to eliminate this problem, and I will ensure that any book reaches you in the same condition that I received it. All shipments are fully insured and will be adjusted, replaced, or refunded if damaged in transit from me to you.

Any claims for damaged merchandise will be considered only after return of merchandise along with all original shipping supplies. Damage to the merchandise must be consistent with damage to the packaging. I have had only two cases of damage out of hundreds of shipments, and that was before recently upgrading to sturdier mailers.

I stand behind both my merchandise and my service: I will promptly honor any legitimate claim meeting all the criteria above by your choice of replacement, credit, full or partial refund, or other reasonable remedy.

Questions about your order?

Please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

Shipping policies

I regularly adjust processing times based on my access to my studio and inventory. Shipping will be delayed if I am traveling.

Despite my efforts to ship within the indicated time and to keep my inventory up-to-date on Etsy, an item may be mistakenly listed as in stock when I have sold it in person. In the event of such an oversight, I will notify you immediately and offer you the choice of waiting until I can make or procure more, alternative products, or immediate refund. If an item is not available to be shipped immediately, I will make it for you, which may delay it 1-2 weeks or longer.

If rapid shipping is essential for you, please contact me via convo. or e-mail at Andris[at]balticsmith.com prior to placing your order to get an estimated shipping date. I don't want to disappoint you! I promise to deliver by the agreed time for all hard deadlines such as weddings, etc.

All domestic (U.S.) orders are shipped insured for their full value. International orders are either insured for their full value up to the limit (currently USD 200, I believe) or registered, which will require a signature at delivery. I will attempt to contact you to authorize signature on receipt if appropriate. If in doubt, and I have not received a timely reply, I may choose to err on the side of caution and indicate signature required. While this slightly increases shipping costs, you are assured that if any shipment fails to reach your door intact, you will be fully compensated. This is important; I once lost several hundred dollars when a seller promised to insure a shipment but failed to do so. I will never subject you to that risk.

I ship to U.S. addresses via your choice of USPS first class, priority, or express mail, and media mail when applicable. I will ship to destinations abroad using the most economical and practical means available (usually USPS first class mail international).

I charge a modest handling fee of $4 to cover insurance and careful packaging in high quality shipping supplies. Overcharges for multiple items shipped together or items (books) that I am able to ship directly from Latvia to destinations outside the U.S. will be refunded promptly; If you don't see the refund within a few days, please ask.

Buyer will be responsible for all brokerage and customs fees for international shipments. Some countries have been known to charge customs duty of as much as 100% of merchandise value plus fees. I declare every shipment at its full value; please don't ask me to do otherwise. If you reside outside the U.S., please familiarize yourself with your local customs policies prior to placing your order.
I regularly adjust processing times based on my access to my studio and inventory. Shipping will be delayed if I am traveling.

Despite my efforts to ship within the indicated time and to keep my inventory up-to-date on Etsy, an item may be mistakenly listed as in stock when I have sold it in person. In the event of such an oversight, I will notify you immediately and offer you the choice of waiting until I can make or procure more, alternative products, or immediate refund. If an item is not available to be shipped immediately, I will make it for you, which may delay it 1-2 weeks or longer.

If rapid shipping is essential for you, please contact me via convo. or e-mail at Andris[at]balticsmith.com prior to placing your order to get an estimated shipping date. I don't want to disappoint you! I promise to deliver by the agreed time for all hard deadlines such as weddings, etc.

All domestic (U.S.) orders are shipped insured for their full value. International orders are either insured for their full value up to the limit (currently USD 200, I believe) or registered, which will require a signature at delivery. I will attempt to contact you to authorize signature on receipt if appropriate. If in doubt, and I have not received a timely reply, I may choose to err on the side of caution and indicate signature required. While this slightly increases shipping costs, you are assured that if any shipment fails to reach your door intact, you will be fully compensated. This is important; I once lost several hundred dollars when a seller promised to insure a shipment but failed to do so. I will never subject you to that risk.

I ship to U.S. addresses via your choice of USPS first class, priority, or express mail, and media mail when applicable. I will ship to destinations abroad using the most economical and practical means available (usually USPS first class mail international).

I charge a modest handling fee of $4 to cover insurance and careful packaging in high quality shipping supplies. Overcharges for multiple items shipped together or items (books) that I am able to ship directly from Latvia to destinations outside the U.S. will be refunded promptly; If you don't see the refund within a few days, please ask.

Buyer will be responsible for all brokerage and customs fees for international shipments. Some countries have been known to charge customs duty of as much as 100% of merchandise value plus fees. I declare every shipment at its full value; please don't ask me to do otherwise. If you reside outside the U.S., please familiarize yourself with your local customs policies prior to placing your order.

Additional policies

I would love to do custom research, design, and smithing for your special project! If you allow me to add duplicates of your custom product to my line, and I choose to do so, I will charge you only the regular retail price, as if it had already been in my store before I made it for you. Exclusive custom orders as well as those that would not be appropriate to my product line will incur research, development, prototyping (and for multiple units also mold-making) charges. Custom orders may take as little as two weeks or long as several months. I will estimate a completion date upon agreeing to take on the project, and I will commit to firm deadlines such as weddings.

I warrant all items made by my own hand to be free of structural defects for as long as I am in business and able to repair or replace them. They should never break under normal use. Please contact me if you have any problem with a product at any time. I will repair or replace any defective item free of charge.

Determining "normal use" shall be at my sole discretion. I will quote a reasonable charge for re-sizing finger rings more than 14 days after purchase and for repairs of damage due to daily wear or accident. Minor sub-surface casting defects (typically small cavities) that were not apparent when sold, but which have become visible due to wear are considered merely cosmetic defects and will be repaired for a modest fee. An example of a fully warranted structural defect would be a bubble within a ring shank or pendant bail that causes the shank or bail to break open.

Chains, beads, and findings not manufactured by me are subject to limited warranty at my discretion. You simply can't expect to buy everlasting chains and mechanical findings (clasps, etc.) for a few dollars.

If you meet me at a fair or show, I do not have the merchandise you want on hand, and you pay in advance, I will ship as soon as possible at no charge.

Please contact me via convo or Andris[at]balticsmith.com to discuss wholesale or consignment prices and terms.

I take commissions for custom work that involve casting in 18K yellow gold, but not 14K. If necessary, I can contract out casting in any karat or color such as white gold, but that may be more costly. I have found 18K to be not only more attractive, but also more durable, and I am equipped to work with it. I would need to re-tool to avoid contamination in order to cast in 14K. I will fabricate (saw, solder, forge, file, etc.) in any karat or color of gold you desire.
I would love to do custom research, design, and smithing for your special project! If you allow me to add duplicates of your custom product to my line, and I choose to do so, I will charge you only the regular retail price, as if it had already been in my store before I made it for you. Exclusive custom orders as well as those that would not be appropriate to my product line will incur research, development, prototyping (and for multiple units also mold-making) charges. Custom orders may take as little as two weeks or long as several months. I will estimate a completion date upon agreeing to take on the project, and I will commit to firm deadlines such as weddings.

I warrant all items made by my own hand to be free of structural defects for as long as I am in business and able to repair or replace them. They should never break under normal use. Please contact me if you have any problem with a product at any time. I will repair or replace any defective item free of charge.

Determining "normal use" shall be at my sole discretion. I will quote a reasonable charge for re-sizing finger rings more than 14 days after purchase and for repairs of damage due to daily wear or accident. Minor sub-surface casting defects (typically small cavities) that were not apparent when sold, but which have become visible due to wear are considered merely cosmetic defects and will be repaired for a modest fee. An example of a fully warranted structural defect would be a bubble within a ring shank or pendant bail that causes the shank or bail to break open.

Chains, beads, and findings not manufactured by me are subject to limited warranty at my discretion. You simply can't expect to buy everlasting chains and mechanical findings (clasps, etc.) for a few dollars.

If you meet me at a fair or show, I do not have the merchandise you want on hand, and you pay in advance, I will ship as soon as possible at no charge.

Please contact me via convo or Andris[at]balticsmith.com to discuss wholesale or consignment prices and terms.

I take commissions for custom work that involve casting in 18K yellow gold, but not 14K. If necessary, I can contract out casting in any karat or color such as white gold, but that may be more costly. I have found 18K to be not only more attractive, but also more durable, and I am equipped to work with it. I would need to re-tool to avoid contamination in order to cast in 14K. I will fabricate (saw, solder, forge, file, etc.) in any karat or color of gold you desire.