Robert and Bernice Leekya – Nugget Jewelry since 1953

Zuni husband and wife Robert and Bernice Leekya are known for their bold turquoise (usually Kingman) nugget jewelry. They have been making it since 1953.

Here I will showcase some examples of their work……….

Zuni Cluster bracelet by Robert and Bernice Leekya

NBT483-634-turq-cluster-leekya-3NBT483-634-turq-cluster-leekya-4 Zuni Cluster bracelet by Robert and Bernice Leekya

Born in 1934, Robert was taught by his father, a master Zuni jeweler Leekya Deyuse.  Here are some examples of Leekya Deyuse’s work – he is often just referred to as Leekya. Born in 1889, he remained active in his craft until his passing in 1966.

Leekya Deyuse 1 Leekya Deyuse 2Bernice Leekya, born in the 1930s, was formerly a maker of cluster work.

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NR472-712-petit-turq-leekya-1NR472-712-petit-turq-leekya-2 Cluster Ring by Robert and Bernice Leekya

After her marriage to Robert, she worked with him on the nugget jewelry also. WL-398-turq-leekya-4

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WL-399-turq-leekya-3

NR508-1114-nugget-turq-leekya-1

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NR509-11-nugget-turq-leekya-1

WM-189-turq-leekya-5

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S421-turq-buckle-bolo-watch-4A-2 Leekya bolo tie detailsS421-turq-buckle-bolo-watch-4B

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Robert shares the RLB stamp with his wife Bernice Leekya. The larger L extends below the B.

Paula

What is the purpose of this piece of jewelry?

May 5, 2014
Hi Paula,
I have a piece of jewelry and am unsure of it’s  purpose  It is circular, 3 inches in diameter, Zuni style inlay on sterling silver. There is a round center piece, surrounded by two outer layers of tear drop shaped turquoise, There are four  loops  at equal distance around the  back perimeter edge.
I do not know if it might be a grandmother’s pin or a bolo, or a pendent. The pawn tag is still attached but simply reads pawn 1969.
Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.
Becky
photo 1 photo 2June 23, 2014
Hi Becky,
To me it looks like it could be either Zuni or Navajo made in a Zuni style.
It is a classic petit point cluster.
I think it is intended to be sewn onto clothing or a costume – perhaps used on a head piece, a wrist band, belt or sash.
NPP420-cluster-turq-stead-1

Maybe other readers have some other ideas as to its use.
Paula
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Zuni Grandmother Pin – Justin Wilson