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January 21, 2024 3 min read 1 Comment

Our favorite earring artisan, Oscar Betz, the candy man as Cheryl calls him, was in the Stockyards this weekend for the second installment of our Rodeo Roundup events, but some of you ladies didn’t have a chance to meet him. Before Oscar returned to his candy shop in Santa Fe, ready to craft more amazing ear artwork, we sat with him for a Q&A.

DDR: When did you create your first jewelry piece and were you self-taught?
Oscar Betz:
Yes, self-taught and Sedona was the first place where I made my first ring there, and that was the first stuff that I started making. And that must've been 1969, somewhere right in there. Boy, that was a piece back.

DDR: What inspired you to create your original chandelier dangle earring?
Oscar Betz:That's a hard thing to say, but I believe it was an assimilation of all the Indian influences that were coming around me in Sedona. Moving from Hollywood, California to Sedona at age 14 or something like that, 14 or 15. It was a big change. It was a big shift. And I just fell in love because the desert, the colors and turquoise really grabbed me. I had an affinity for it, kind of like a big bowl of candy. And some of the people around me were good, good, good jewelers, and I imposed on them, and they taught me a little bit, give you clues. And so the inspiration came from the land, I'd say, itself. I'd say Sedona had a big part to play in that.

DDR: How does your heritage impact your work?
Oscar Betz: It works through you and with you. Mesoamerican influence has been large for me because there's a lot of that in the family.

DDR: What's your favorite piece that you've ever created?
Oscar Betz:That is the most difficult question. Because you know you love all your children and I call my jewelry my children. And you know what I'm going to say. I'm going to say that I honestly couldn't pick one because each of them had such an impact on people, that each one's an individual and I love them all.

DDR: How does your heritage impact your work?
Oscar Betz: It works through you and with you. Mesoamerican influence has been large for me because there's a lot of that in the family.

DDR: What's your favorite piece that you've ever created?
Oscar Betz:That is the most difficult question. Because you know you love all your children and I call my jewelry my children. And you know what I'm going to say. I'm going to say that I honestly couldn't pick one because each of them had such an impact on people, that each one's an individual and I love them all.

DDR: So many famous gals have worn your pieces. Who is your favorite celebrity client?
Oscar Betz: I think it was Joni Mitchell, if I'm not mistaken. I'm glad that Elizabeth Taylor got some of my stuff. But, Joni Mitchell was a music influence also in my life because I play a lot of music.

DDR: Who would you like to see wearing your jewelry who hasn't yet?
Oscar Betz:Some of the people who have passed on I wish could have worn my jewelry. Like my mother passed on and never really had an opportunity to wear much of my stuff. Probably my mom.

DDR: Any advice for someone trying to decide on their first Oscar Betz piece?
Oscar Betz: Oh, yes. The advice I'd give would be to gravitate towards whatever pulls you in, whatever strikes that chord in you. The addendum to that is that it won't be your last piece because they're infectious.

DDR: We love working with you. What do you like most about working with DDR?
Oscar Betz: Oh Lord, it's a wonderful organization. I think most, if I was to be totally honest, was the fact that Audrey and Cheryl really love my work first and foremost. They've been fans for a long time, a real long time. And that kind of love draws you in and pulls you in.

1 Response

Carol Stoneburner
Carol Stoneburner

February 14, 2024

This article was great and the question/ answer was so interesting. I could not be there and do not own a piece but his work is fantastic and such a talent. My goal will be to own some earrings!!!

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