Bits and Spurs with Geometric Designs
Geometric motifs are in some ways the most simple types of designs that can be applied to collectible bits and spurs but in the hands of a master they can also become some of the most elaborate, unique, collectible and valuable bits and spurs. Designs can vary from something as simple as small bars on a heelband or circular buttons on a bit to elaborate interwoven mountings or engravings. Listed below are a few of the most common geometric designs but the variety you may encounter are virtually endless due to the creativity of the master bit and spur makers!
Star Spurs and Bits – Stars are typically associated with collectible vaquero bits and spurs but in the Texas tradition the Lone Star iconography is also popular.
Crescent Moon Spurs and Bits – The Crescent Moon is mainly seen in California style bits and spurs due to it being used primarily in Moorish and Spanish art and then being adopted into the western tradition. Both star and crescent moon icons are frequently present in work by makers like G.S. Garcia.
Greek Key Spurs and Bits – The Greek Key design is commonly used in the California and Mexican styles as a border element and is typically done in inlay into a heel band of a spur or the cheek of a bit. This is commonly seen on imported spurs from the Azomoc region of Mexico.
Rolling Log (Swastika) Spurs and Bits – The rolling log motif is an ancient design that typically symbolizes good luck or well-being but also represents the perpetual cycle of life in some Native American cultures. It was appropriated by many western settlers and used on bits and spurs as well, though it became much less commonly used after World War II and the Nazi use of it.
Stripes and Lines Spurs and Bits – Basic linear designs like repeated chevrons, bars, or cross hatches are commonly used as a simple way to enhance the design of a plain spur. These designs can be as simple as small mountings in Texas style bits and spurs or can be much more elaborately shaped and engraved as on some very valuable California style spurs.
Geometric Shapes Spurs and Bits – Simple shapes such as diamonds, squares, triangles and other simple shapes are usually combined to form larger compositions that can range from simple to very intricate. There is a great pattern by Mike Morales that has a shaped Diamond heel band that is very popular with collectors.
Circles and Buttons Spurs and Bits – Circular designs and silver buttons are common features on many Texas and California style antique bits and spurs, the designs are often quite simple in terms of composition but can be more elaborate with extra engraving, extra elements, and the use of multiple decorative metals. P.M. Kelly has some great spurs which feature circular elements like his Hollywood Special Pattern.