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Barbara Anton was a creator. She authored novels, poems, short stories and plays; worked as an actress; was a painter; an award-winning baker; and she created distinctive jewelry. Anton won the distinguished Diamonds International Award in 1963, was commissioned to create jewelry for the 1964 New York World’s Fair and won three awards in the International Pearl Design Contest from the Cultured Pearl Associations of America and Japan in 1966. Graduating from the Gemological Institute of America in 1965, one of the few women to do so in the period, she was a recognized gem specialist.

As an editor and regular columnist for the trade publication National Jeweler from 1966 to 1969, Anton had a ready platform to share her concepts about modern jewelry with other artisans. She advocated that her readers conceive of their creations as works of art. Writing about the principles of good design, Anton encouraged makers to free their minds, exhaust every new possibility, and avoid the fear of being too “far-out.” In 1969 she opened a shop in Englewood, New Jersey, from which she sold her own pieces alongside loose gems and pearls. A jeweler celebrated by the jet set of the 1960s and ‘70s, Anton’s words and work were definitely avant-garde.