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Betty Cooke – Modernist Artisan

betty cooke

I have been collecting Betty Cooke jewelry since the early 1980s and have always been attracted to the elegance and simplicity of her designs, which gives her jewelry a timeless quality.

Betty has been designing jewelry since she graduated from the Maryland Institute in 1946.  Back then she and her husband, Bill Steinmetz, renovated a house on Tyson Street in Baltimore, Maryland and built a studio for the selling of her designs.  Her first important recognition came when the Walker Art Center included some of her pieces in their “Good Design” show in the mid 40’s.

I was lucky enough to meet Betty Cooke in the early 1990s.  She was full of energy and very much on top of her game.  I  purchased many pieces from her over the next 20 years.

In June of 1995, there was a major restrospective show of Betty’s work at the Meyerhoff Gallery of the Maryland Institute, College of the Arts.  It was a stunning exhibition.

I went to the opening night of the show by myself.  Upon entering the show, Betty came over to me, took my arm and we walked the show talking about her pieces, while she introduced me to many of the patrons who attended the event.  I had only known Betty, for maybe a year at that point, and felt very honored.

I still collect Betty’s work.  A few pieces from my collection are shown below.  I especially love her earlier jewelry, the concepts and construction are incredible, the soldering, seamless.

Betty has won many awards over her career and is considered one of America’s top leading designers of modernist jewelry for the past almost 65 years.

An excellent source for vintage Betty Cooke can be found at Auerbachmaffia.com

Here are some examples of her work.

3 thoughts on “Betty Cooke – Modernist Artisan

  1. My 94 year old mother, who spent most of her life in Baltimore, just died and left a number of pieces of jewelry made by Betty Cooke. She was a friend of my parents and my dad would give my mom piece of her jewelry almost yearly back in the 60s. Are you still collecting her work? If so I could send photos of the pieces I have.

  2. I am a avid collector of Betty Cooke’s jewelry. I have been collecting her work since the 1980s. I am always looking to purchase more so if you have any pieces for sale PLEASE let me know. Thank-you, R

  3. I would be interested in purchasing some pieces if you have any for sale or are contacted and would pass on my information so I could be connected with future vintage Betty Cooke pieces.

    Thank you

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