Turquoise and coral bolo tie by southwest silversmith, Oscar Betz. This bolo has a turquoise bear, star and half moon. An arrow head and a peyote bird are coral. These unusual shapes are showcased by elaborate hand stamped silver work measuring 1.25” x 2.25”.
Santa Fe, new Mexico artist Oscar Betz has been a favorite of collectors and celebrities since the 1970’s. He is known for his original one of a kind jewelry with a true feeling of the southwest. He was one of the first southwest artists who used many different stones together in one piece of his artistic jewelry.
About the artist
Oscar Betz moved to Jerome, Arizona sometime between 1967 and 1979. He was among the many hippies, renegades, freethinkers, and artists who relocated to Arizona’s richest copper mining city during those years. Many of his later years were spent in anta Fe, New Mexico. He is now recognized as a renowned Navajo Silversmith. His work has been featured in galleries and movies, and also worn by many celebrities. His work is highly collectible.
Oscar Betz's work was most prominent in the 1970's and 1980's. His pieces were actively sought out and purchased by Hollywood celebrities as well as collectors of fine one-of-a-kind handmade Indian jewelry. He was one of the first southwest artists to use many different stones together in one piece of jewelry. Oscar's work remains in high demand today. Sought after by the likes of Ralph Lauren in the early 90's Oscar crossed over into the fashion world with his remarkable jewelry. Part of the popularity of the Betz earrings was that for their size they are well balanced and easy to wear. Designs are set on 2 part silver frames that are hinged.
Betz’s pieces include earrings, pendants, and pins in sterling silver and turquoise. He is most well-known for a collaborative design he created with Rocki Gorman and made a place for himself in Southwestern culture with his highly sought after chandelier earrings. These are typically sterling silver, set with turquoise, spiny oyster, variscite, amethyst, and agate. Other earring designs of this type incorporate a variety of stones that include coral and black onyx and frequently using rare and other high end stones. Rocki Gorman continues the Betz tradition with her jewelry.
Among his other notable creations are Navajo Sterling Silver cuff bracelets that have a three-dimensional design with excellent engraving.
Oscar Betz is now semi-retired. His son, L’Mont Betz, who learned the jewelry business from his father, has been running his own shop called, ‘Broken Wing Designs’ since 1983 where he sells designs created by Oscar and keeps the family tradition alive.