Book Look: Who’s Who in Zuni Jewelry by Gordon Levy

This 1980 hard bound book is full color, 64 pages and 11 3/4″ x 8 3/4″

My copy of this book had no author on the binding, no title page, no copyright page, nothing to indicate who wrote this book and when it was published. But with a little digging, I found it was written by Gordon Levy and published in 1980 by Western Arts Publishing Co.

It doesn’t have an ISBN but it does have an ASIN –  B001LQQM8Q

There are ample quantities available new and used if you search by the title.

Now to the book itself. Here is the the copyright page that was not in my book but I found on line.

Copyright page from “Who’s Who in Zuni Jewelry”

On the copyright page (above) and in the Introduction (below), there is mention of future volumes but I am only aware of this one volume. If anyone knows of subsequent volumes, please leave a comment at the end of the article.

Introduction from “Who’s Who in Zuni Jewelry”

The front matter contains:


  • Jewelry Designs
  • Jewelry Pricing
  • The Stamping or Signing of a Piece of Jewelry
  • Availability
  • The Meaning Behind the Making of Zuni Jewelry


  • Sociocultural
  • Political System
  • Economic Base
  • The Art and Craft of Silversmithing
  • Tribal Heritage and Goals



  • Natural Turquoise and How to Care for It
  • Stabilized Turquoise
  • Reconstitute Turquoise

Following the front matter are full color pages about the artists. Here are the artists that are covered in this book.

Following are some sample pages

Sample interior pages

Sample interior page


Necklace Extenders

What a difference a necklace extender makes.  Each necklace has its own perfect resting spot and for each person and shirt and/or neckline, the perfect spot will be different.

First I put on this necklace with the original length provided by its chain.

Inlay pendant hallmarked JM

But this results in a distracting shirt button plus the wonderful sterling silver feathers on the side were hidden under the collar.

By adding about 2″ with a necklace extender, I was able to drop the necklace into its ideal position.

Necklace with extender

Sterling Silver Necklace Extenders



Nancy and Ruddell Laconsello – Zuni Inlay artists

Nancy and Ruddell Laconsello are known for their beautiful Zuni inlay jewelry predominately birds.

Nancy Haloo, born in 1952, learned jewelry making from her father Jake Haloo. She began making her own style of inlay in 1972.

Nancy Haloo

Nancy Haloo Laconsello

She married Ruddell Laconsello and they began making jewelry together in 1976.

Nancy and Ruddell Laconsello

Nancy and Ruddell Laconsello

They are a successful husband and wife team who follow the tradition of Nancy’s parents, Jake Haloo and Lola Pinto Haloo, in their division of duties. Ruddell does the stone cutting, grinding, carving and polishing while Nancy does the inlay work.

Nancy and Ruddell Laconsello

Nancy and Ruddell Laconsello

Nancy and Ruddell’s work is characterized by birds in natural settings, such as on trees or with flowers or leaves.

Blue Jay pendant necklace by Ruddell and Nancy Laconsello

Blue Jay pendant necklace by Ruddell and Nancy Laconsello



They also are known for the engraving they add to their mosaics which gives rich texture and detail to the image.

Engraved detail on vintage Laconsello eagle ring

Engraved detail on vintage Laconsello eagle ring

Nancy’s family is full of noted jewelers including Dolly Banteah, Rolanda Haloo, Lolita Natachu, Jake Livingston and others.

Ruddell and Nancy use variations of their hallmark RNL ZUNI on their pieces.

RNL ZUNI hallmark of Ruddell and Nancy Laconsello

RNL ZUNI hallmark of Ruddell and Nancy Laconsello

Vintage Laconsello ring

Vintage Laconsello ring





Inlay Tadpole Bracelets by Larry Castillo

In two separate estate lots, we received two unique Larry Castillo bracelets.

Larry Castillo Inlay Bracelet

Larry Castillo Inlay Bracelet


Larry Castillo Bracelet

Both of them are made in what I have heard is a “Tadpole” design. That refers to the shape of the bracelet.

Tadpole Design

Tadpole Design


A tadpole is the tailed aquatic larva of an amphibian (frog, toad, newt, or salamander) in the stage where the legs haven’t developed yet.

A wonderful feature of the tadpole design is that the curve fits around the prominent wrist bone so is very comfortable to wear.

Tadpole bracelet fit

Tadpole bracelet fit


Larry Castillo is one of the top contemporary Navajo inlay artists – his designs are a combination of traditional and abstract elements. Other than that, I do not know much about him. If anyone has any other biographical information on Larry Castillo, I would appreciate knowing it.

Hallmark of Larry Castillo

Hallmark of Larry Castillo


tadpole 2





Zuni artist Charlotte Dishta makes beautiful blanket pattern inlay

Charlotte Dishta has been making jewelry since the 1980s and is known for her mosaic rug pattern inlays.

Here is a beautiful example of a rug pattern on a vintage NOS (New Old Stock) belt buckle.

She uses the traditional four color materials of Acoma Jet, Turquoise, Mother of Pearl and Coral.

BU126-BG-inlay-dishta-1 BU126-BG-inlay-dishta-5Paula

Can I wear this inlay ring to do dishes and shower without worry?

Hi Paula,

Can I wear this ring to do dishes and shower with out worry
Thanks Daniel

NR448-AB-inlay-masonic-concho-A3-400w NR448-AB-inlay-masonic-concho-B3-400w

Dear Daniel,


PR708-WB-owl-kallestewa-1No, you would have to worry big time. Inlay items are made of many small pieces of stone and shell that are affixed to a backing and to each other. Getting inlay wet such as in a dishpan or shower would allow water to get under the inlay and loosen it. It is NOT a good idea.

Inlay, properly cared for, will last decades as shown by the many wonderful pawn and estate lot pieces we receive. But any inlay, old or new, should be treated with respect and common sense.


To view our full list of article or to ask a jewelry question, follow the instructions here

If you are selling your jewelry, read this

Visit our pawn shop for your research and shopping


Navajo, Zuni, Hopi Silversmithing Styles

Silversmithing Styles

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright InformationSterling Silver Navajo Beads

Navajo – The Navajo were the first silversmiths. They commonly design jewelry around a stone’s natural shape. When they do inlay, it is bolder than Zuni inlay and usually has silver between the inlaid stone pieces (called “channel inlay“).

Zuni – The Zuni are known as stonesmiths that cut stones to fit into a precise geometric pattern or design. They tend to use four traditional colors:

Sterling Silver Navajo BeadsBlue – turquoise
Red – Coral
Black – Jet or Onyx
White – Opal or Mother of Pearl

Zuni inlay tends to be more complex than Navajo, with more cuts and patterns. They usually don’t use silver between the inlaid pieces but produce “stone on stone” inlays. The Zuni also produce meticulous Needlepoint (narrow stones pointed on both ends) and Petit Point (any other small cut stone shape such as oval, teardrop etc.) pieces, often in clusters. Most snake designs are done by the Zuni.

Sterling Silver Navajo BeadsHopi – The Hopi are known as master silversmiths and who design overlay pieces mostly of solid silver with a cutout design on top of the main piece. The two pieces are “sweated” together, that is heated so that they become one. The background piece is usually oxidized (darkened) and etched (texturized) with hashmarks. Two characteristics of Hopi work are overlay and minimal use of stones.

Manufacturing Methods

Handmade: As the name implies, metal manipulation is done by hand, from cutting to polishing and engraving. Labor always increases cost, so this is the most expensive manufacturing method and also the most desired by consumers. Handmade accessories will always typically  have slight yet charming variations in shape and finish.

Benchmade: This is a term that refers to an item that is partially handmade and partially machine-made. For example, some silver Navajo beads have machine cut pieces that then are soldered and hand strung by a Navajo Indian craftsman. These are considered benchmade.

Machine-made: Metal is machine-manipulated for cost savings and uniformity. Industrial presses cookie-cut shapes, which are then embossed by hydraulic machines. For modestly priced goods, machine-made pieces are often stamped from nickel or a proprietary alloy, then plated with sterling silver or other metal for a shiny finish.

Sterling Silver Navajo BeadsMost modern Indian jewelry is stamped “Sterling” and is signed or is stamped with a hallmark by the artist. However a lack of hallmarks, initials, or signatures doesn’t mean it is not authentic. In the past, most reservation-made Indian jewelry was not signed and had no hallmark.