The American artist jeweller Barbara Miller Anton (1926-2007) was a woman of many talents, an actress, writer and artist as well as a jewellery designer.
She studied engineering at college before going on to Columbia University where she pursued courses in acting as well as art, specialising in oil painting. After a career in acting, she turned to playwriting and had many of her plays staged in Florida and New York.
Her passion for jewellery led her to gain a gemmological qualification from the Gemological Institute of America and to study jewellery design at The Museum of Modern Art. She began to design her own pieces and established her eponymous business, opening a shop in New Jersey which encompassed its own design and manufacturing workshop.
Characterised by their artistic sometimes sculptural flair, use of colourful gems, raw, organic textures and abstract forms, her jewels epitomise the artistic aesthetic that went from strength to strength during the 1960s and 70s. Irregular forms and shapes abound and her pieces have a carefree feel to them, many of them embodying a disregard for the rules of traditional ‘fine jewellery’ in favour of something more expressive and individual.
She received many awards for jewellery design including the prestigious Diamonds International Award and had her work featured in museums and exhibitions in America and Europe. Her jewellery was shown at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and for several years she worked as a fashion and design editor for the National Jeweler Magazine.
Later in life she returned to writing and published articles, short stories, poetry and a novel. However, it is as an artist jewellery designer that she is best known today and her jewels are sought after by dedicated connoisseurs and collectors around the world.