Obituary: Anna M. Miller, G.G., 69, appraiser and author

Anna Miller, Graduate Gemologist, gems and jewelry appraisal authority and author, and developer/international director of The Master Valuer Program, passed away on Tuesday, April 29, two months before her 70th birthday. She was 69.

Miller was a jewelry historian, lecturer, and instructor. Her involvement in the industry included being a Senior Member of the American Society of Appraisers, a past Regional Governor of the Accredited Gemologist Association, co-founder and International Director of the Association of Women Gemologists, a Senior Member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, and a Master Gemologist Appraiser. Other professional affiliations include membership in AGTA, GIA Alumni Association, AGA, American Society of Jewelry Historians, the International Society of Appraisers, and the Society of Jewellery Historians, in both the United States and Great Britain. She was also an honorary Curator of Gems at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

“Her knowledge and her expertise covered a broad spectrum,” noted GIA jewelry historian Elise Misiorowski. Miller worked in many different areas of the gem and jewelry industry, lectured all over the world, wrote books, and seemed to handle them all with ease. “I admired her for that,” she said.

Gail Brett Levine, publisher of Auction Market Resource, points out that Miller had strong views. She was a female gemologist in a sea of male gemologists, and fighting the current. “Anna Miller was one of our important women pioneers in gemology, having co-founded the Association of Women in Gemology in the early 1990s. This association was one of the first to honor Eunice Miles’s accumulated lifetime contributions to gemology. As an independent thinker and staunch feminist, Anna was known to espouse viewpoints that were not generally accepted or appreciated. Her success can be measured by the opposition of her peers to her questioning of existing protocols. Most of her viewpoints added to the overall knowledge of her vocation and have benefited all of us.”

Many in the industry had known Miller was ill, and her absence was noted at this year’s Tucson gem shows in February. Miller also had cancelled her on-site appraisal class scheduled for May in La Antigua, Guatemala, but was still planning to hold class sometime in the fall.

Up until this past weekend, she was still quite energetic and in good spirits. Only last week, she had been in contact with JCK’s gemstone editor, Gary Roskin, regarding an update on Guatemalan jade scheduled for the June issue.

Tireless and dedicated, Miller was always working on two or three things at once, and gave her time to many appraisal organizations. “She was one of the innovators in the business,” said Howard Rubin of GemDialogue Systems. “The industry was lucky to have had someone like that. She raised the bar.”

Miller created the first home study course for gem and jewelry appraisers, called The Master Valuer Program. She also authored four gem and jewelry books, including The Illustrated Guide to Jewelry Appraising, Gems and Jewelry Appraising: Techniques of Professional Practice, The Buyer’s Guide to Affordable Antique Jewelry, and Cameos Old and New. At the time of her death, she was completing a new book on Guatemalan jade as well as revising two of her previous works.

“Anna was an active member of the Lone Star GIA alumni chapter,” notes Daniel Banks, Banks International, Houston, who serves as vice president of the chapter. “She was an excellent appraiser—always fair, accurate, and ethical in anything she did in the world of gemology. She was respected and liked by her colleagues in the gem and jewelry industry. Anna was a good friend to many people and will be missed by myself and the Lone Star Chapter.”

“Anna Miller was a wonderful friend, mentor, author, and great person,” writes Richard Drucker, Gemworld International. “I have known Anna for probably close to 20 years. In 1990, she agreed to become active with my publication, The Guide, as an advisor. Over the years, I had the pleasure of lecturing beside her in many cities in the U.S. and Canada. Her teaching took her to much farther places around the world, offering her Master Valuer program to appraisers. She spent much time teaching in China and became very familiar with their business environment. I asked Anna to author an article about China, which she did for the May/June issue of my publication. Unfortunately, Anna passed away only days before she was to see her article in print. Since her death, I have received many phone calls and e-mails, all offering kind words about her. This gentle lady will surely be missed by everyone in the jewelry industry.”

Miller is survived by her husband of 51 years, John E. Miller; a son, Eric Miller, and wife Bonnie; a daughter, Kay M. Miller; grandchildren Matthew Williams, Cody Williams, Andrew Miller, and Austen Miller; a brother, Herbert Shibley; and an aunt,. Lucretia Davidson.