Two of the nicest and most pleasant people in Zuni, Lee and Mary have 30 years experience and still really enjoy making jewelry.Husband-and-wife team Lee and Mary Weebothee have garnered much acclaim for their fine jewelry. In the 1970s, they were recognized as having won "more Grand Prize Awards than any Zuni artisans in history" (Scottsdale Weekly, February 13, 1970). They started working together in the late 1940s, he doing the silverwork, she cutting the stones, and both setting the domed and meticulously matched stones that make their work distinctive. They sign their work with ZUNI LEE/MARY.
Lee and Mary Weebothee were among the most accomplished silversmiths in the history of Zuni arts and crafts. But even that bold statement seems inadequate for when you examine Weebothee jewelry its fine quality matches or exceeds what is being made by today's best artists.
The silver in their jewelry is polished so finely it feels more like silk then metal. Their lapidary is magical. Every Coral and turquoise gemstone in a setting perfectly matches the one next to it. Not only does that take great skill and patience, but it is also very costly and time consuming to polish away blemishes in expensive stone.
Much of Weebothee's jewelry was completely handmade using hand tools. Electricity did not appear in Zuni until the 1960's. Even after the arrival of electricity most silversmiths preferred working with the precision Swiss watchmaker files supplied by CG Wallace. Electric tools of the period (that were available in Zuni) were crude, cumbersome and simply not up to the task of producing the incredible detail that Zuni silversmiths were noted for.
Lee and Mary Weebothee took great pride in their work and did not sell jewelry that did not meet their high standards.