Denise Betesh, originally from Brooklyn, moved to Santa Fe in 1989 and began to design and produce her signature jewelry collection featuring matte 22K recycled gold, conflict-free diamonds, cascading sapphires and bold garnets. Working from her Santa Fe studio, mused by the high desert landscape, Denise takes painstaking measures to create amazingly intricate and detailed pieces that are all truly one of a kind.

As a teenager in the 60’s, Denise created woven gold wire macramé wedding bands. Her creations were seen by Cartier jeweler Aldo Cippullo, creator of the “screw bracelet” and the signature “love” bracelet, who then commissioned work from Denise and encouraged her career. Bolstered by this support, she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, specializing in ancient jewelry techniques and went on to study in New York at the Jewelry Arts Institute, specializing in granulation and chain making.

When starting a new piece, Denise mills and draws the gold, then fuses individual tiny granules of gold onto the surface of the metal without solder. This delicate and detailed process, called granulation, was refined by the Etruscans and has been used since the third millennium BC by goldsmiths of the eastern Mediterranean regions. Denise uses a hand turned rolling mill to make the wire that becomes the individual links in the chains. The making of these chains are a true labor of love, taking 15-30 hours to complete because each link is fused rather than soldered.

The simple design elements and flawless gems reference the best of contemporary jewelry. Classical yet modern, her pieces are subtle, intricate and elegant, each reflecting the dreamy and enchanting desert of New Mexico.