Belt Buckle Bling

Master artisan Pam Ward of Houston, Texas, custom makes these one-of-a-kind, jewel-spangled belt buckles for the Western chic.
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Master artisan Pam Ward of Houston, Texas, custom makes these one-of-a-kind, jewel-spangled belt buckles for the Western chic.

Just in case you missed it, we ran a blurb about Pam Ward and her oh-so-fab buckle masterpieces in the December 2009 issue of Horse & Rider on our "Fun" page (Your Horse Your Life). Pam custom-creates each buckle for longtime and new customers using a veritable treasure chest of Swarovski crystals, costume jewelry, semi-precious stones and unique trinkets. Using a special type of glue, Pam arranges the gems, crystals, trinkets and other unique elements directly onto the buckles, and then spends hours cleaning out excessive glue so the buckles are 100-percent pure sparkle.

Master buckle artisan Pam Ward (right) and a friend pose at the 2009 All American Quarter Horse Congress to show off Pam

Master buckle artisan Pam Ward (right) and a friend pose at the 2009 All American Quarter Horse Congress to show off Pam

And don't expect to see the same buckle twice (that is, unless it's very specifically requested). Pam will heed her customers' requests, but mostly enjoys letting her creative juices flow. Horse & Rider's Managing Editor, Alana Harrison, spotted Pam's booth at the 2009 All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.

"I promise, you could not walk by Pam's booth and not stop," Alana says. "All I could say was 'Wow, I wanted every single one of them.'"

The stash: gemmed flowers in scores of colors; spicy hot-pink crystal crowns; bejeweled peace signs and angel wings; a turquoise- and-silver guitar, mini-candy-colored cowboy boots, a sterling-silver steer head, splashed with luscious chunks of turquoise and Swarovski crystals; and one of our faves: a stunningly sinister black-and-white jeweled leopard face. Talk about craftsmanship! And this year's signature buckle? The Vegas $$$ jeweled-jackpot buckle, splashed with ruby-edged playing cards, jeweled slot machines, crystal dollar signs and dice with flare.

"I have a kind of cult following," Pam admits. "My past customers always seem to be my best customers at shows. I guess my buckles sort of become 'addictive.' I have one customer from New York who owns more than 50 of them!"

Pam says her average customers buy five to 10 buckles. "They buy one, wear it and see how fun they are to wear; plus, they're great conversation pieces. Then they start ordering more buckles to match their different show outfits," she says. "Ladies wear them just to go out in, too. They're so versatile, you can wear them with a T-shirt and jeans, a black-tie ensemble or in the show ring."

To view Pam's collection, go to www.parwbuckles.com. To read the original blurb on Pam's buckles, see Horse & Rider's December 2009 issue; you can order this issue or other back issues by calling 877-717-8928.

Take a peek at a few beauty buckles Horse & Rider spied at 2009's Quarter Horse Congress...

Spicy hot-pink crystal crown buckle |

Spicy hot-pink crystal crown buckle |

Mini-candy-colored cowboy boots buckle |

Mini-candy-colored cowboy boots buckle |

The Vegas $$$ jeweled-jackpot buckle |

The Vegas $$$ jeweled-jackpot buckle |

Color wheel of gemmed flowers buckle |

Color wheel of gemmed flowers buckle |

Sterling silver steer head, splashed with luscious chunks of turquoise and Swarovski crystals buckle |

Sterling silver steer head, splashed with luscious chunks of turquoise and Swarovski crystals buckle |

Close-up of Pam and pal

Close-up of Pam and pal