Denise Betesh

Denise Betesh

About The Artist

Santa Fe, NM

Born and raised in Brooklyn, as a teenager in the 60’s I was making macramé jewelry in silver and gold. I continued my studies at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. I moved to Santa Fe, N.M. in 1989. I have been fortunate to have my own company and work as a jeweler full time. My work is hand fabricated, a blend of the ancient techniques of granulation, fusion and chain making with classic and contemporary designs.

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New Mexico


Tell us how your work is made.

When beginning a piece, I start with pure 24k gold, alloy it to the perfect hue and texture of 22k. I use a hand turned rolling mill to make sheet metal. I use assorted draw plates to make wire. For a chain, I might wrap the wire around a drill bit, cut the coil, fuse each link closed, connect them and repeat. It is a very meditative process. Fusing and granulation is a seamless connector for high karat gold, a process without the addition of solder. For a ring, I might start by making a bezel to accommodate a gemstone and making a border for granules to lay. When making granules, I cut wire into exact measurements, lay the pieces on a charcoal block and melt them. High Karat gold will naturally melt into a sphere. The tiny granules of gold are then placed onto the surface to create a design. They are fused to the metal without solder. This delicate and detailed process is called 'granulation'

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Through my travels, I have witnessed how gold is revered by so many different cultures. It is a symbol of wealth, wisdom and success. It enlightens, inspires and uplifts. I love being a part of that. High Karat gold is very pure, warm and soothing. I use recycled gold in all of my work. I use only conflict-free and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

I am actually a minimalist. Always looking to pare down my designs to just what is essential. It seems odd as we are talking about decorative pieces. I believe my jewelry is to be an accessory, but not to surpass the woman who is wearing it.