Raymond Betsoi makes a series of single and multi-row needlepoint bracelets set with beautifully hand-cut stones of natural Kingman turquoise. When we first began buying these from Raymond in the summer of 2005, he made them only with round stones. Since then he has added square stones in this style. The workmanship is impeccable and these bracelets look fifty or seventy-five years old because Raymond makes them exactly how they would have been made in an earlier era.
This is a stunning piece of work set with 45 squares of natural, untreated Kingman turquoise set in three perfectly symmetrical rows. One might, at first glance, take this for a Zuni bracelet because of the multitude of small stones. But this is heavier, solid Navajo work with all the skill of Zuni stone-setting made with a heavier Navajo cuff for real durability through the years.
The stones are natural, untreated Kingman turquoise and hand-cut (not calibrated or machine-cut stones). Each of the rows holds fifteen stones set in smooth bezels. There is variation in the color of the stones and over the years, this untreated turquoise will continue to evolve in color and different stones will change color at different rates and in different ways. If you've seen dead pawn versions of such a bracelet (because this is an old, traditional style) you've noticed that they have all shades of blue throughout the stones and some stones will eventually tend towards green.
The cuff consists of three Sterling bands; each band 3/16" wide. In the center portion where all the stones are set, a length of twist wire was soldered between each of the bands to preserve spacing between the horizontal rows. You can clearly see in the photos that this oxidized twist wire forms the backdrop for the stones and adds rich texture behind the stones. Along the edges of the cuff, Raymond added a series of raindrops flattened to "nailheads" to correspond to each stone along the edge (fifteen along each edge). Past the stone sets, the individual bands of the cuff gradually taper towards the terminals and are fused together for a distance of one-half inch before ending at the terminals. Raymond added a nice patina to the cuff to finish off this classic masterpiece. This is a wonderfully authentic rendition of a very old-style bracelet and is masterfully crafted.
Hallmarked R BETSOI and stamped Sterling inside. This is a new hallmark, replacing his old one of RTB.
Stones: (45) squares 5/32" x 5/32"--4 mm. x 4.mm.
Width in front: 15/16"
Width at terminals: 9/16"
Terminal to terminal: 5 1/4"
Total inside circumference (including gap): 6 1/4"