Bernadette Eustace is one of thirteen children of a Zuni father and a Cochiti mother. Her parents, Ben and Felicita Eustace, taught her to show strong respect for the materials and time-honored processes of her art. Bernadette says, “My parents told us that if we were going to jewelry at all, we would have to do it their way, the right way. It wasn’t the designs they were talking about, it was the technical aspects of our work: setting stones, welds engravings and so on. They were the ones who would be selling these items for us, so they would make sure that a certain standard of quality was being met.”
The result is a combinations of traditional values, exacting workmanship, and contemporary designs, often reflective of the Zuni style of her father, who was her teacher.
Bernadette makes sterling silver jewelry using channel inlay, shadow box and set stones. She sometimes incorporates her father’s leaf motif. Twisted rope detailing is often a feature of her work. Her pieces range from elaborately detailed inlay work to simple pendants with carefully chosen single stones hung from leather.