Home > Artist of the Week > Artist of the Week: Calvin Begay

Artist of the Week: Calvin Begay

Jewelry pendant by Calvin Begay

One way to tell you have achieved success as an artist is if there is an active market for forgeries of your work.  Calvin Begay is a Native American artist well-known for his highly detailed and intricate inlay and silver jewelry.  There are a number of forgeries of his work on the market, so you need to make sure your purchase is authentic and from a reputable seller.

I’ve seen a lot of intarsia stone inlay work from Southwestern and Western tribes, and the level of minute detail and skill in the Calvin Begay pieces were stunning.  He has an amazing sense of color and composition.  If you have ever worked with lapidary arts or any degree of stone cutting, and I have, the way he works the tiniest of pieces of stone is just amazing and wonderful.  The attention to detail on the bail alone is fantastic.  It made me think of Willard Wigan and how some artists can work intricately in small scale and make a big impression on the viewer.

Jewelry pendant by Calvin Begay

Amerinkas Native Art & Jewelry in Chicago is an authorized seller of Begay’s work.  He has a URL in his name here which rolls over to an online seller.  Here is the text from an advertising post card regarding his career:

Calvin Begay is an award-winning Navajo artist, jewelr, designer and master craftsman. He was born in Gallup, New Mexico in 1965 and raised in Tohatchi in northwestern New Mexico.

He designed his first piece of jewelry at age 10, learning from his mother and uncle.  Calvin has won numerous awards for his work and his jewelry has been featured in Arizona Highways and Southwest Art magazines.

Calvin has a unique ability to translate traditional Navajo inlay techniques with an elegant and contemporary flair.  His stunning wearable art reflects his Native American heritage and appeals to those who want a contemporary Southwestern look.  Calvin’s jewelry is prized by collectors in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Categories: Artist of the Week
  1. Kati
    August 15, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    How can one know if the Calvin Begay stamped piece they own is authentic?

    • August 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

      I recommend you write to or email his gallery representation and send a photo or scan of the piece asking for confirmation. Call them and ask for someone to contact. Artists know their own work. That is where I would start and the gallery will be able to contact the artist if they need.

      Here is the contact I found:

      Lantern Dancer | Contemporary Southwestern Jewelry PO Box 3636, 124 East Pagosa Street Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147 | 970-264-6446 |

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