Painter, sculptor, author, and jewelry designer Anna Ruth Henriques was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, daughter of a Jamaican mother and an Afro-Caribbean Jewish father. Inspired by the tension between her cultures and by the natural beauty of her surroundings, she began developing her technique in sculpture and painting as a young child and turned to jewelry making later in life.
“I fell into the industry accidentally after taking a wax-carving class,” she says. “A friend of mine, who is a model in her 50s, said she was going to become a jeweler and that she wanted me to take this class with her. Now, as a painter and writer I was not interested at all, but we figured that if nothing else we’d have three hours together to play catch-up, and I could approach it as a sculpture project. It was easy in a way because I’ve always used my hands in a creative way, so jewelry has ended up being a perfect fit.”
Wanderlust took her to France and Japan, California and Massachusetts, and New York City, and she drew on those travel experiences for her paintings and sculptures—but not necessarily her jewelry. “I was making both my jewelry and my art as two very separate entities and then decided that I needed to merge the two in terms of form and design, which is how I started making the amulets,” she says.
Henriques’s Amulets collection references her childhood in Jamaica and the nature that surrounded her there. The amulets feature hand-painted images of insects on mother-of-pearl that’s sealed in faceted quartz crystal and encased in 18k yellow gold. The D’Vine collection features vine-texture 18k yellow gold earrings, cuff bracelets, necklaces, and cocktail rings, which showcase rock crystal and milky moonstone with diamond accents. The Insects and Spider Web collection features scorpions and other insects that are frequent themes in Henriques’s art creations. Items in the Mandala collection have geometric or pictorial designs enclosed in a circle representing the universe. The pieces, set in 18k gold, feature textured patterns and mirrored images captured in rock crystal.
Henriques believes in aiding organizations that help preserve wildlife. All proceeds from her jewelry sales go toward the nonprofit foundation Sustainable Harvest International. “All the amulets are based on insect life at the moment, and I love how SHI teaches people how they can renew things rather than simply planting more,” she says.