Ray Lovato is known for using natural turquoise in his necklaces and jaclas. He began making jewelry at the age of eleven, learning from his parents, Ike and Tonita Lovato. Ike was a trader and traveled to the Navajo Reservationto sell Santo Domingo jewelry and helped create a market for natural turquoise jewelry.
His four boys, three girls, and Peggy his wife, all live in Santo Domingo.Most of his children take an active part in helping Ray with his jewelry, learning the trade as they go.
Ray is recognized for his corn necklaces, in which the turquoise “tabs” are roughly shaped like the corn kernels they symbolize. Corn - ofparamount significance to all the Southwestern cultures as a food product - symbolizes life and is central to many ceremonies.He is pictured with his daughter Melissa.