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Harvey Begay

Born in 1939 in Tuba City, Arizona, Harvey Begay (1939-2009) grew up surrounded by a very talented family and learned from the best silversmiths of his generation.

While his grandmother was a very well-known weaver, his father, Kenneth Begay, was known as the “Father of Contemporary Navajo Jewelry” and was the biggest influence on Harvey’s career.  During high school and college, Harvey worked for his father at his workshop in Scottsdale, Arizona.  With an ambition to fly, he studied aerospace engineering at Arizona State University and joined the US Navy as a flight officer.  He was a member of Fighter Squadron 21 aboard the U.S.S. Midway, and worked as a test pilot under McDonnell Douglas before returning to Arizona in 1970 to re-examine his Navajo heritage and begin creating jewelry again.

Harvey worked hard to expand his creative boundaries by learning new techniques under world-famous jeweler Pierre Touraine.  By utilizing European style gold and diamond in his work, Harvey was able to further develop his design.  Harvey’s distinct hallmark is “HB” and his work has been featured in numerous publications and museum shows nationwide.

"At first I was heavily influenced by my father, but I knew I had to change that. For a while, I struggled to find a style that I felt comfortable with. Now I feel that my pieces are a bridge between the old and the new."