I wish I had taken a picture of the belt and buckle before I mailed it to our cousin for advice. If he remakes it I'll have him take before and after pictures though.
I called my 90 year old Mom to get the story of the belt straight. In the late 1930s her younger brother was sent from Illinois to Albuquerque to live with an aunt and go to high school. He sent my Mom the buckle as a gift. Her stepfather found a harness maker(!!!) to make a custom belt to go with the buckle. Out of curiousity she asked me to measure it to the smallest hole to see how small her waist was in her late teens - 26". I was able to wear it too in my 20s but never on the smallest hole.
She thinks it is a great idea to remake it or make a new belt part. On closer inspection I'm not sure if the buckle is silver or silver plate but it has Navajo designs etched on it. The belt leather is tooled and is cracking in one place. I talked to our cousin who thinks it would be a fun project and mailed it to him. We'll talk about it when I am in LA in a few weeks and see if it makes sense.