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Johnson & Held

Every buckle is crafted in our Rocky Mountain foothills workshop. Our work begins with a base of sterling silver, nickel silver, gold, or bronze. Added materials are sourced from all over the U.S., including turquoise mined in the Southwest, ironwood from Arizona, and abalone from Florida. Each item can be customized, yielding a unique piece of art.

A Craft Born of Passion, Outlaws, Love and the Spirit of the Wild West

Johnson and Held Buckles | Buckle Worker | Handcrafted | F.M. Light and Sons | Steamboat Springs, CO | Shopping | Western Clothing for Over 100 YearsLong before our handcrafted belt buckles adorned the waists of rodeo champions, rock stars and heads of state, the company’s hazy beginnings were first forged in the crooked dreams of Wild West outlaws. The original owners of the business, con artists and thieves by many accounts, promised bountiful riches to unsuspecting investors, based on a business scheme surrounding the hand workmanship of fine western gear.

Eventually, the unsavory owners got what they deserved by way of the law, but one of the savvier and more knowledgeable investors, Ted Allsup, refused to let the buckle business die. Instead, he sought the support of two local investors who were eager to purchase a business for a very unique reason – love.

Prior to investing in a burgeoning buckle company, Mr. Johnson and Miss Held were simply a young couple looking to get hitched.

Unfortunately, Chris Johnson, a young, penniless kid from the Bahamas drawn to the west by adventure, did not meet the requirements of Held’s wealthy banker father.

He dictated that she could not marry anyone less than a businessman; something Johnson definitely was not. So with the independent spirit and determination embodied by the Wild West, and a goal of meeting her father’s marital requirements, Held simply bought him a business, made him a businessman and the wedding was on.

Together with Johnson and Held’s funding, Ted’s cultivated expertise, and the combined determination of the new partners, the real foundation of the company was built.

Many years have now gone by with little word from Johnson and Held. Shortly after establishing their namesake, in true Old West fashion, the couple married and disappeared into the sunset. Rumor has it that they are living a life of leisure and tequila in remote Mexico. But over the next couple of years and under the care of partial owner, and now full-time buckle maker Ted, the company thrived. Eventually, more than filling the void left by Johnson and Held, Ron Heller took the reigns as CEO. Over the past 27 years, among many accomplishments, he expanded sales to international markets and firmly established J&H as the premier manufacturer of 100% handcrafted, custom designed belt buckles.

Today, Johnson and Held buckles are worn by motorcycle clubs, firefighters, U.S. presidents, rock stars, ranchers, rodeo riders, small business owners, war heroes, ski champions, cyclists, and branches of the U.S. military. Each of our handmade pieces is forged with the passion, determination, and history of a company founded upon the irrepressible Wild West spirit.

View our tour at the Johnson and Held Company:

American Flag - Made in the USAWe work hard to offer you unique, quality products that are made in the United States. Companies that do so are few and far between.

We found Johnson and Held at the Denver Merchandise Mart while looking for new vendors. We were pulled in immediately by the process in which they made their belt buckles. They had a series of buckles, each in different stages of the process, which including sand painting – an incredibly unique art. We realize that we would never be content to keep such beautiful pieces to ourselves, so we toured the factory, and now offer these fine pieces of art to you.