Jesse Monongya (b. 1952) is a master inlay jeweler, who followed in his father’s footsteps.
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.
He lives in Scottsdale, AZ close to the Hopi and Navajo reservations. He is best known for his night-sky designs he places in bear shape, which symbolizes strength and power, and 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.