The Last Word

A blog about Lucchese, our process, our culture and the people and places that inspire us

Silversmithing with soul

Leroy Begay's custom jewelry catches eyes and tells stories

Sterling silver is inlaid with natural stones.

Maker: Leroy Begay Navajo Silver and Goldsmith

Location: Pinon, Arizona

Wares: Custom silver and gold jewelry and accessories

Leroy Begay was born in 1961 at Keams Canyon, Arizona and has been making jewelry since 1975. He studied under Victor Beck.

Now an award-winning craftsman, Begay specializes in traditional, one of a kind jewelry for special Navajo occasions, such as a kinaalda, ceremony or wedding. However, his work transcends the Navajo community and is admired by lovers of art across the country. Bolos and chokers are inlaid with vibrantly eye catching natural stones, and unique stampwork stories are featured on the inside of some bracelets and rings. 

As explained by Begay: “You'll find a corn field, wagon, pinon trees, and a traditional hogan. It's a memory of years past on the Navajo Nation, before the arrival of cars and trucks. Every family had a wagon for transportation, a corn field, and in [my] ancestral land — pinon trees. And then, the Hogan representing the center of each family's universe.”