I didn’t know my dad, Preston Monongye, until after I came home from the Marines and Vietnam. Then I looked for him and found him. I’d watch him work, doing his silversmithing but at first I didn’t really have any interest in it…then I had a dream…and I looked at my dad’s work again, and it seemed like I knew what I was doing already, right off the bat.Jesse Monongya
Jesse Monongya (b. 1952) is a master Navajo/Hopi jeweler, living in Scottdale, AZ. Monongya is best known for his night-sky designs inlaid into a bear shape, which symbolizes strength and power, as well as other forms. His bracelets, necklaces, pendants, bolo ties, and earrings inlaid with Acoma jet, sugilite, coral, turquoise, lapis, and ivory among others are complemented by the dramatic southwestern landscapes that inspired him.
Monongya’s jewelry has been featured in a number of group and solo exhibitions and he has won many awards at major American Indian art shows throughout the Southwest. His work is included in major museum collections, including the Heard Museum, Northern Arizona Museum, U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Museum of Man, Denver Art Museum, The James Museum, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.