Sonwai is the "stage name" or artist name of Verma Nequatewa, a Native American jeweler who learned from her uncle Charles Loloma before starting her own company in the late 1980s. Born in 1949 she grew up on the Hopi reservation in Arizona. After school she began working for her uncle and spent from the mid 1960s to the late 1980s working alongside him. Her Uncle closed his shop in 1988 and passed away three years later. This is when Nequatewa began creating her own designs. Sonwai is the feminine Hopi word for beauty a name she chose to honor Loloma which is the masculine word for the same meaning.