In the Workshop


In the Workshop

Creation of the Jewelry
Leroy uses the technique of fabrication to make his designs come to life. With the exception of black onyx, he uses all natural stones in his jewelry. The black onyx that is most commonly used in the jewelry industry is synthetic, meaning that it has the exact molecular composition as naturally occuring black onyx, but is grown in a laboratory. The benefit of using black onyx is that it is very strong for jewelry. On the Mohs scale of hardness, it runs 6.5-7.
Another black stone that Leroy uses in his jewelry is Jet. This naturally occuring stone is related to coal, and is very soft. When polished, it gives a beautiful, warm satin brilliance.

Leroy also uses Lapis Lazuli, Denim Lapis, red, orange, pink and white Coral, Abalone shell, White shell, Malachite, Amber, Variscite, Fire Agates, fossilized dinosaur bone, jaspers, Mexican Opals, green jade from Canada, black jade from California and ofcourse, a wide variety of Turquoise from the American Southwest.

Blossom bracelets with matching tuquoise
Blossom bracelets

Traditional Navajo jewelry for special occasions
If you are a Navajo family looking for a silversmith to make traditional jewelry for a special occasion, such as a wedding, kinaalda, ceremony, etc., Leroy can work with you to create a one-of-kind piece of jewelry that fits your needs. Send an email here, and he will work with you on the design.

second phase concho belt
Second phase concho belt
shadowbox bolo tie with fox turquoise
Shadowbox bolo tie with inlaid tips
rough coral
Rough coral
tray of rough stones
Tray of rough stones ready for inlay
abalone shell
Abalone from California
rough jet
Rough jet
rough lapis lazuli
Rough lapis lazuli
rough turquoise
Rough turquoise
Silverware bracelets

Leroy takes sterling silver spoons, forks and knives and creates bracelets. He uses every part of the silverware, and cuts nothing away. Where ever his imagination takes him, you know the finished piece will be treasured by the wearer. If you have old sets or pieces of silverware that you would like turned into a bracelet, and sometimes rings are possible, just send an email.

sterling silver flatware transformed into jewelry by leroy begay
From spoon to bracelet
detail sterling silver flatware bracelet by leroy begay
Detail on spoon bracelet
detail sterling silver flatware into jewelry by leroy begay
Detail bowl of spoon bracelet
Stampwork Story

On the inside of some of Leroy's bracelets and rings he puts a story in stampwork. 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 Leroy's ancestral land, pinon trees. And then, the Hogan representing the center of each family's universe.

Leroy also puts stampwork on the back of some pendants, and then the smaller reversible pendants.