Ann Elizabeth Jewelry is my dream coming true. When I started making jewelry in high school, I had no idea I would become a Graduate Jeweler Gemologist and an instructor at the world-renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA), or that I would now have a jewelry design business.
In my first year of college at the University of Iowa, I changed my mind about majors almost five times! What was I going to do with my life? After freshman year my cousin invited me to Brisbane, Australia, to help me figure things out. She had a high-end clothing store with jewelry consigned by a fabulous jeweler. The jeweler invited me to her studio to see what she did, and I could not believe my eyes. Her beautiful studio had floor-to-ceiling windows, and she had her dog, her life, and her passion right there. I knew I had found my calling. I could make jewelry and create a beautiful life doing it.
After my trip to Australia, I moved back to the Chicago area and found my first job at a jewelry store. The following year I moved to San Diego, California, to attend GIA. I had no idea what a special place GIA would be or how it would shape the next stops on my journey. I graduated as a Graduate Jeweler Gemologist and was lucky to apprentice under a jeweler from Idar-Oberstein, a world-famous gemstone town in Germany.
In 2000, after completing my studies at GIA, I began my career in the bridal sector of the industry. How I love the emotion that comes with creating heirloom engagement rings. Designing a piece of jewelry to celebrate a special moment or person is truly an honor. I worked for multiple stores as the gemologist and a jeweler for many years before starting Ann Elizabeth Jewelry in 2006. While building my business I became an instructor at GIA. For eight years I taught students from all over the world to become gemologists. What a wonderful time in my life, and what connections I have made in the jewelry industry.
I was named after my grandmothers, Ann Brockmeier and Elizabeth Bauer. (My maiden name is Bauer.) Each had such different upbringings and qualities, but each was unique and beautiful—inside and out. I love carrying on the names and memories of such beautiful women. Each one passed down very special pieces of jewelry to me. The stones, the metals and the designs symbolize moments and dreams in each of their lives. This is my inspiration and motivation in jewelry design.
The arrow in the logo represents directions in my life. As I grow into a better woman, wife and mother, the arrow symbolizes going after your dreams, living your life, being happy and moving upward and onward. I have loved my husband Mike for twenty years, and we are on an exciting journey raising our two young sons, Owen and Jack. Family is what life is about. It’s short—do what makes you happy.