Jewelry designed by an artist with a painters eye and a poet’s sensitivity!


A rt permeates the life and work of jeweler Marianne Hunter of Rancho Palos Verdes, California. It imbues her one-of-a-kind creations with a depth that transcends mere ornamentation. Throughout her acclaimed career, Hunter has brought a painter’s eye and a poet’s sensitivity to jewelry as resonant and meaningful as music.

Each piece of Hunter’s jewelry is a unique assemblage of enamel, gems and precious metals, an object of surpassing beauty and the product of her life-long fascination with jewelry, stones and color.

Hunter creates twenty pieces a year, and accepts a small number of private commissions. A Marianne Hunter is truly a rare objet d’art, an investment in beauty and a future heirloom.  Hunter’s work can be seen in numerous museum exhibitions in the US and abroad, and her jewelry is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina; the Oakland Museum of California; the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, California; and, the American Art Museum Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

In her early teens, Hunter discovered her métier and medium: “A friend of mine asked me, ‘Have you ever tried enameling?’  We bought a $12.50 toy kiln with six colors to work with. I was instantly fascinated.” Prior to that, Hunter was already a young protégé having painted with oils at the young age of ten and having taken courses at Otis Art Institute and UCLA at the age of 12 and 13.

She remains fascinated decades later. Discovering the art of enamelwork opened up a new realm of expression and creativity that she is still exploring today. It is the cornerstone of Marianne’s art.

Experimenting, developing her own techniques, she devised methods for thinly layering enamel to achieve finer detail. Her early grisaille wove images from nature, fantasy and history, rendered in shades of black, white and grey. A fellow jeweler advised her to learn fine metal work as well. “Setting my enamels in sterling silver let people perceive them as serious pieces, “Marianne recalls.  From that point on, she has never repeated a design.

Teaching herself the techniques of silver- and later goldsmithing, which at first she found tedious. It seemed mechanical. Still, she persisted, experimenting to find her own methods, and her artistic breakthrough came. “In the beginning, enamel was all I cared about; the metal work was a chore,” she recalls. “When I learned to be playful and painterly with metals, when it became part of the creativity, I fell in love with it.”

Today, Hunter’s mastery of metal work rivals her creativity with enamel. She sets her pieces in richly textured 14 and 24 karat gold, and platinum-silver, fabricated, engraved or sculpted with a fluidity that transforms the precious metals into magical textiles.

Her enamel work has evolved as well. “My husband {wood sculptor William Hunter} convinced me to add color,” says Marianne.  “It was truly joyous revelation.”  Now, color dances through her designs.

Exotic gemstones complete the effect.  She prefers unexpected gems, inclusions and phenomenal iridescence. She loves the intense green complexity of demantoid garnets, the mysterious indigo of tanzanite, fancy colored diamonds and baroque pearls. Opal, the queen of gems, is Marianne’s favorite. “I love the fabulous flashing, bold and patterned varieties such as boulder, koroit, yowah, fossil, crystal and black opal,” explains Marianne. “I select each stone for the story I see in it. I never grow bored with them. “

Hunter also finds inspiration in antique and estate jewelry to incorporate into new designs or reclaim the gold and diamonds. “It makes me smile to be a recycler of diamonds,” she explains.

Hunter is well-versed in the uses of enchantment. She draws ideas and images from nature, fairy tales, astronomy tribal arts, history and mythology, delving deep into the collective unconscious to create jewelry that is beyond beautiful: it is mystical and powerful.

To add another layer of meaning, Hunter composes and engraves a one-of-a-kind poem on the reverse of each piece. “Some people share

the poetry,” she says. “Others like to keep it to themselves.”

A Marianne Hunter creation becomes a personal emblem, a private talisman, an ecstatic celebration of all that is feminine: life-giving and protective, emanating beauty, strength, peacefulness and the sheer joy of being human. She is not just a jewelry designer: she is an artist, working with jewelry as her medium.

“When someone wears it (one-of-a-kind-creation), that completes the sculpture,” says Hunter.


Marianne’s eclectic collection of jewelry could easily mistaken for that of a famous artist you see in museums around the world. Each piece is one of a kind and she designs a limited amount per year.

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