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Hayes Silver and Goldsmithing Biography
When you have a Hayes Aspen Leaf, you know that you belong; to Aspen, to Skiing, to Colorado, to the Rocky Mountains,
to our Eclectic Community, and to our Local History.
Jim Hayes arrived in Aspen in 1949 and set up his first jewelry shop on the corner of Mill and Cooper Streets. An early ski pioneer, he tested skiis for Head and broke a pair a week. Eventually he gave up skiing, but he continued making Aspen leaf jewelry, and today his belt buckles are a hallmark of local pride;
Everybody who is anybody in Aspen wears a sterling Hayes Aspen leaf belt buckle.
Born in 1920 and originally from Texas, Jim married Mary Eshbaugh in 1953. They had five children. In 1982 Jim accepted his youngest daughter, Jess Bates, as an apprentice and she trained with him for six years at the Bleeker Street studio before establishing a workshop in Basalt, where for twelve years she produced the Aspen leaf line. During that time she established an additional career in oil painting and raised her son, Tamas Bates. Like her father, Bates is a passionate and enthusiastic local character sharing Jim’s love of skiing, dancing, and painting. She is an avid mountain biker and outdoorsman. Jess Bates moved to Seattle and Maui for several years to pursue other interests until 2008 when she returned to run full operations of the Hayes’ studio production in Aspen.
Our business has by turns survived and thrived, and is today embedded in the history of Aspen itself. Our jewelry has gone to World Cup ski racers, Winterskol Queens, Fire Department heroes, Roche Cup winners, and thousands of local and international personalities.
Well made and exceptionally durable, you can wear your Hayes piece daily and someday pass it on to the next generation.