indian jewelry


                Native Jewelry Maker- Harvey Begay, Navajo















                Begay learned silvermaking from his father, well-known and respected silversmith Kenneth Begay (1913-1977). For
                much of his career, the elder Begay worked at the White Hogan, a Scottsdale shop. The younger Begay worked
                there with him, while attending Arizona State University in Tempe in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although
                Harvey Begay graduated with a degree in aeronautics, served in the U.S. Navy and worked in the private sector for
                a number of years, he returned to jewelrymaking.












                Begay was among those jewelers eager to experiment with nontraditional forms and techniques, and move beyond the
                silvermaking techniques widely used by his contemporaries. To do so Begay, along with a few other young Native
                American jewelers, studied with French jeweler Pierre Touraine. In the process, he learned new skills, including
                diamond setting and lost wax casting. Today Begay uses techniques learned from both his father and Touraine,
                never losing sight of his culture and heritage. Excelling in casting techniques, he substituted gold for silver in the
                century-old method of tufa stone casting, and selected coral, an important item of trade in the prehistoric
                Southwest, as the single setting for a bracelet he made in 1997. Copyright 2012

                References
                Bassman,  T. Beauty of Hopi Jewelry. 1999.
                Dubin, L.S. North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment. 1999.
                Foxx, J.J. Turquoise Trail: Native American Jewelry and Culture of the Southwest. 1993.
                Frank, L. Indian Silver Jewelry of the Southwest, 1868-1930. 1997.
                Schaaf, G. American Indian Jewelry I: 1200 Artist Biographies. 2003.
                Schiffer, N. Jewelry by Southwest American Indians: Evolving Designs. 1991.
                Simpson, G. A Guide to Indian Jewelry of the Southwest. 1999.
                Wright, B. Hallmarks of the Southwest. 2000.
                  Native jewelry maker Harvey Begay, is
                  expert in silver and gold casting
                  techniques and in setting precious and
                  semiprecious stones. Begay also reflects
                  elements from his Navajo heritage and the
                  Southwest in his jewelry.

                  Taking triangular patterns from
                  prehistoric southwest pottery, he adapts
                  them to a gold bracelet accentuated with
                  inset lapis lazuli and diamonds. He
                  interprets an abstract feather pattern
                  from prehistoric Mimbres pottery in a
                  silver concha belt; other jewelry reflects
                  Navajo spiritual figures called Yeis.
                  Harvey Begay