“Tracks” style Silversmiths: Johnny Mike Begay & Francis Jones

“Tracks” style

Navajo Bolo Tie by

Johnny Mike Begay,

Concho Belt by Francis Jones.

Johnny Mike Begay was a silversmith who worked for the White Hogan in Scottsdale, Arizona. In this shop, run by John and Virginia Bonnell beginning in the 1930’s, many creative silversmiths learned and advanced their craft.
Johnny Mike’s brother, Kenneth Begay, who died in 1977, is often referred to as “the founder of modern Navajo silversmithing”. His son, Harvey, is a legend among contemporary Native American jewelers.

Johnny Mike Begay worked in other places besides the White Hogan, but he always had a home there. His work, although not as famous as his brother Kenneth’s, was cutting edge at the time. He is credited with creating the “tracks” design which is the style of this bolo tie from the 1960’s. It is an unusual and difficult style of work.

This bolo is also special because of the hand made silver tips and the silver decorations that are found on the leather cords. The bolo measures 2 1/8” tall, 1 5/8” across the top and 1 1/4” across the bottom. The center silver pieces are 1 1/4″ long and 1/4″ wide, and the tips are 1 3/4″ long with a 1/2″ wide silver spheres  at the end. It is priced at $360.

This bolo is a great example of early contemporary Navajo silversmithing. It was collected by a woman who owned an Indian arts store in Raton, New Mexico. She was a frequent visitor to Scottsdale and probably purchased it at the White Hogan.

 Francis Jones of Gallup, New Mexico, is a contemporary silversmith who creates jewelry using the “tracks” style. We are pleased to be able to offer one of her belts. The 15 “conchos” and the belt buckle all measure 1″ x 1 1/2″. It is priced at $1,250.

The Johnny Mike Begay bolo tie and the Francis Jones belt make a stunning pair!

To find out more about the White Hogan, visit this interesting page that is put up by silversmith Anthony Kee: http://anthonykeejewelry.homestead.com/the-White-Hogan.html

Wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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  1. says

    Your posts are always interesting. This one prompted me to take a look at the ladies watchband i purchased in 1973 at Navajo National Monument. I knew it was made by Johnny Begay. Sure enough, it had the correct stamp. Thanks for reminding me of a lovely piece of jewelry. Sadly, I never found a watch that seemed to go with the band.

  2. Olga O. Pina says

    I have a watch band made by John M. Begay. I have tried to look for the hallmark and have not been able to do so. My e-mail is: olgaoolivia@yahoo.com. I would like to see your hallmark on these pieces, if you don’t mind. Thank you.

  3. Ryan Mike Begay says

    I always admire my late paternal grandfather’s jewelry. He passed away a year before I was born. I’m trying to track down some of his work. If you have any photos you would like to share please feel free to email me photos. Thanks!