Kenneth Begay (1913-1977) Biography

Kenneth Begay was an early innovator and leader in modern Native jewelry design.  He studied jewelry making with Fred Peshlakai whose father, Slender Maker of Silver learned from the first generation of Navajo silversmiths in the mid-1800s. 

Begay’s most productive and innovative period, 1950-1968, were spent working at the White Hogan in Scottsdale, AZ, a shop that promoted modern Native design.  After leaving Scottsdale, he taught jewelry making at Navajo community College on the reservation.  Begay’s clean, contemporary designs influenced an entire generation of Native jewelry makers.