Orms started making hand-tooled leather belts while in high school. He sold them to a few cowboy shops but soon decided to make something that would endure. “The belts were just going to wear out and get thrown away,” he says. So Orms went to work for Western sculptor and saddle maker Buck Brumley, who hired Orms and his best friend, Bret Collier. Says Orms, “Brett ended up running Big Bend Saddlery in Alpine, and I’ve got a pretty good business. So I guess Buck should get credit for getting our careers going.” Besides his polishing chores, Orms made a few buckles, which he carried in a jeweler’s briefcase and sold to his teachers and his friends' parents.
While discussing those days, Orms mentions that he grew up competing in rodeo. When I ask him in what event, he says demurely, “I just rode bulls.” Of rodeo, Orms says, “I could never make a living at it.” Instead, he apprenticed with four different silver designers throughout the West. Orms learned the necessary skills, but most of his education came from studying vintage buckles, as well as antique silver teapots, flatware, gambling chips, and Victorian jewelry.
"Being able to grow up in Texas and see a lot of old classic buckles that grandparents were wearing inspired me,” he says. “It was fun to see their grandchildren treat buckles with respect. I’d see grandparents giving their grandchildren cars and buckles, but they treated the buckles with more respect than the car. They never planned on keeping the car, but they weren’t about to trade their grandfather's belt buckle in.”
To the untrained eye, a Clint Orms buckle is at first overwhelming with its detailed engraving with green, yellow, and rose gold. Images of longhorns, flowers with ruby centers, horseshoes, rope edges, symmetrical scrollwork, and stippled backgrounds add to their appeal.
The history of the Western belt buckle dates to the early 1900s. However, with a larger variety of tools and a wealth of talent, Orms can create buckles that surpass his predecessors in quality. His success seems to stem from his pride. “I want people to know that they are getting a part of Texas, a part of a good, hard day’s work,” he says. “If you put your best work into a piece, people are going to feel it forever. They may never own a cow or ranch land, but they will feel the values of the West, an image and heritage that is needed in today’s society.”
“Our main objective is to keep our Western heritage alive,” Clint adds. “We’re not about to turn a fast dollar.” From his simple shop, he concludes in his polite Texas drawl, “Wearing a fine buckle is just part of dressing well.”
We strive every day to create handcrafted belt buckles, jewelry and accessories that embody a carefully preserved Western heritage, a personal touch, and exceptional workmanship. We do this for the pleasure and enjoyment of our customers and the generations that will one day succeed them.
Our team of master silversmiths, designers and engravers is dedicated to keeping Western culture alive by sharing its unique styles, sentimental traditions and old-time values in a tangible, sophisticated and tasteful way. We believe that you have to know where you came from, to know where you’re going.
Our success is defined by the unfailing implementation of ethical practices and a respectful personal demeanor in all interactions with customers, business associates and employees. Our achievements as a company are further determined by our ability to consistently live up to our own and our customers’ standards of quality, service and satisfaction. We embrace these principles wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.
Read about Western culture and you’ll invariably come across these words: integrity…compassion…fairness…passion…pride…and, of course, hard work. Given our strong belief in Western tradition, it’s only logical that these are the very words we live by at Clint Orms Engravers & Silversmiths.
At Clint Orms, we understand that our business begins and ends with you, the customer. Our clients are the greatest ambassadors for the Clint Orms brand, generously carrying word about our craft to all corners of the world through positive word of mouth. For this we are deeply grateful.
With every piece we create, we pledge that your purchase is a stunning masterpiece made of the finest materials, by the world’s most skilled craftsmen. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Thank you for sharing your stories with us. It is a privilege to be part of your journey.