Jesse Monongya (b. 1952) Biography
Monongya is known for precise and intricate stone-to-stone inlay. He is the son of the famous Hopi jewelry maker, Preston Monongye, but was raised by a Navajo family at Two Grey Hills, NM. He met his father for the first time at age 21 but did not take up jewelry until he had a dream that his mother came to him with tools and told him he would become a famous artist. He then apprenticed and worked with his father for four years before opening his own business.
His finely detailed designs owe much more to his Navajo upbringing than to his Hopi father. He cites the traditional Navajo teachings of discipline and beauty and his fascination with the night sky and natural world growing up on the isolated reservation. Monongya uses lapis, coral, turquoise and other stones to create unusual designs such as landscapes with starry skies, bear pendants with yeis, and multi-hued abstractions usually set in 18 karat gold. His jewelry is in the collections of many museums throughout the United States.
(Jesse Monongya changed the spelling of his last name from "Monongye" to "Monongya.")