This bracelet's design became very popular for the White Hogan as well as for Kenneth Begay. It happens to be one of the earliest concept pieces. Beginning with the cuff, this design was expanded to include a necklace, earrings and rings.
The very first overlays were carved and rounded from thick mill-rolled sheeting for greater depth. As this design "took off", there wasn't the time to round the cut out (which is a tricky process). It also wasn't essential to begin with as heavy a top sheet. The design was patterned in copper, so that other White Hogan artists could make the items to order. The resulting spiral overlay remained thick with file-finished edges, but the design flattened out by the late 1950's.
After Mr. Begay died, Jon Bonnell made molds of the template "concept" pieces the shop kept. These were also cast and hand finished by Navajo artists for Jon's customers until Bonnell closed the White Hogan in 2006.
To find one of Kenneth Begay's early designs in such treasured condition is remarkable. We are delighted to be to present such a rare offering.
(1913-1977) Silversmith, jeweler and teacher, Kenneth Begay has been called the “father of modern Navajo jewelry”. In the early years his bold, modern designs were considered so radical that he was excluded from a 1949 exhibition of Native American art. Today his clean, elegant creations are seen in numerous museum collections including The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the American Museum of Natural History, as well as the Heard Museum.
Begay spent his most productive years (1948-1962) as a smith at the White Hogan in Scottsdale. His son, Harvey Begay became another highly regarded jeweler and silversmith.