Exquisite cook, prolific painter, constantly evolving jewelry designer
–Ingrid Antoni is a source of boundless creativity and abundant
energy. Now sole proprietor of her Aspen storefront, Ingrid Antoni Designs,
her designs within reflect her deep communion with the splendors of nature.
Ingrid is first and foremost a naturalist, with Mother Nature as her
muse. Born of Italian and German ancestry, she grew up on a farm in New
Braunfels, Texas. Her father was a farmer and a sausage maker, while
her mother turned the fresh crops into sumptuous meals for the family.
Antoni soon developed her own exceptional style in the kitchen and cultivated
her lifelong connection to the natural world.
Her artistic talents were a surprising discovery made by an insightful
professor. While studying Botany and German Literature, at the University
of Texas at Austin, she treated herself to a study break. In the summer
of her junior year, she enrolled in a “just- for-fun” class:
Art for Elementary Education majors. She explored paper mache and batik
– after just a few classes, the professor took her aside to ask
why exactly was she there? Her work displayed a true talent, and he told
her to go out and take as many art classes as possible.
Antoni took more art classes, but she also stayed on course, eventually
traveling to Germany for her Master’s in German Literature. She
enrolled in another “just- for- fun” class, this time in jewelry
design, only to discover a true passion. She returned to the US, just
a few courses shy of her master’s, to follow her instincts and become
Her first port of call was Santa Fe. She made pottery, crafts, and jewelry,
and sold her wares at various art fairs throughout the west. She consigned
jewelry at a shop in Denver, about a ring a week, and prepared for a most
receptive audience at the Laguna Gloria Fair in Austin. She earned $5000
in two days. Finally, she was able to open her first store on Canyon Road
in Santa Fe, for $40 a month rent. It was 1970.
While the summers were booming in Santa Fe, winters were another story.
Seeking a busier seasonal market, Antoni found herself in Aspen. She felt
an immediate affinity to the town and its people, and set up both home
and shop. Her business, Ingrid Antoni Designs, is Aspen’s longest continually
operating jewelry store.
The designs of I. Antoni have an unmistakably organic quality. Rounded
edges, natural stones, watermarked collars and caste pieces, individually
shaped – as in nature, many pieces are one of a kind. She incorporates
significant mementos of other women’s lives into her signature piece,
the Peko Collar. Clients bring in bits of jewelry, family heirlooms and
old charms, while Antoni transforms them into slides, or Pekos, to be
added or subtracted to the collar for an ever-changing look. Antoni’s
artistry results in a very personalized piece of jewelry, a keepsake to
cherish for all time
The collaboration between jeweler and client, between artist and nature,
makes for constant creativity in motion. Such is the life and work of