Interview with Denise Betesh

Denise Betesh Banner image

Designer Gold is excited to welcome Denise Betesh to Designer Gold for our upcoming Jewelry By Design event. Meet and greet artist Denise and try on her beautifully ornate handmade jewelry. Working in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Denise is nationally known for her marvelous gold granulation and fusing techniques.

Artist Opening Reception with Refreshments:
Friday, September 30th from 5:00–7:00pm

Jewelry on view both Friday and Saturday, 10:00am–5:30pm
Come and enter to win a $100 Designer Gold Gift Certificate!

Check out our interview with Denise to learn more about her process and inspiration:

Why did you choose to become a jeweler?
I think it really chose me.

When did you discover your passion for making jewelry?
When I was a teenager I loved to macramé. Then I tried it with wire, first silver then moving on to gold. I started making macramé jewelry — bracelets, wedding bands and linked earrings.

Tell us about you process?
I love the process of repetition, it is a form of meditation. In the studio I work with my assistant, Kamala. When starting a new piece we will alloy the gold, mill it, pull it to sheet or wire. For a chain; wrap the wire around a dowel, saw the coil, close and fuse the links. We might fuse them to granules to create different link designs.

What makes you drawn to the granulation technique?
I studied jewelry making at the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. There we were able to access pieces in the museum's ancient jewelry departments. We studied design, technique and engineering. We were actually able to hold these magnificent granulated pieces, and ancient foxtail chains. We were taught to make them the same way. No new tricks, it was so authentic.

Denise Betesh earrings and rings

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Ancient times and cultures definitely speak to me and have been the inspiration and roots of my work. The adornment of jewelry is symbolic in so many different culture's way of life.

Any exciting new projects you are working on?
This chain maille bracelet I just finished, I am mad about! 375 fused links and it feels so fantastic. I hope to do a series of them.

22k Mesh Chain Maille Bracelet

How has your look/collection evolved over time?
I feel my work keeps getting more minimal. I tend to have a “less is more” aesthetic.
Just trying to capture the essence.

What do you do when you are not in the studio?
My husband and I love to travel. A couple of years ago we were in southern India, Tamil Nadu, where gold is revered and cherished. The world's cultures, landscape and palettes resonate in my work.

What do you wish you had more time for?
Sewing, I used to love to make clothing!

What new work can we look forward to seeing at Jewelry by Design?
These new wide bands are Marquez in cross section, so they are very comfortable. And are topped with my iconic graduated granules.

10mm wide bands grandulation, Denise Betesh

Denise's beautiful work is best seen in person and she is a pleasure meet. We hope you can join us on Friday, September 30th from 5:00–7:00pm.

Peggy Sadler