How the Millicent Rogers Museum Is Preserving Southwest Jewelry with Goldsmith, David Anderson

Episode 97

As a Taos native and skilled goldsmith, David Anderson has a deep connection to Southwestern jewelry. That connection led him to a position on the board at the Millicent Rogers Museum, and a role repairing the famous socialite’s extensive jewelry collection. He joined the Jewelry Journey Podcast to talk about how Millicent became the foremost Southwestern jewelry collector of her time, his process for repairing her historically significant jewelry, and his own work as a goldsmith and mokume-gane expert. Read the episode transcript here.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Who Millicent Rogers was, and how she developed an important collection of Southwestern and Native American jewelry
  • Why Millicent began designing her own jewelry, and why her signature large pieces are an important part of jewelry history
  • How red gold differs from yellow gold, and why much of Millicent’s jewelry was made with this material
  • How David earned a role repairing Millicent’s jewelry, and how he approaches working with significant, one-of-a-kind work
  • Insight into David’s own work as a goldsmith and jeweler, and how he became an expert in mokume-gane

About David Anderson

David Anderson is widely considered the foremost Taos repair expert, especially heirloom and vintage jewelry. He loves turning antique gems and settings into completely new works of art for his clients, and teaches jewelry making classes in his studio by appointment.

David is a native of Taos, New Mexico. His first experiences that led to a lifetime of goldsmithing were at a very early age while tinkering in his father’s workshop on the family ranch. In high school David’s first jewelry experience was with his Navajo friend who instructed him in the process of fixing a turquoise and silver watchband. This interest in intricacy led David to immerse himself in historic and spiritual jewelry styles. His time studying in New Mexico, New York, India, Italy, Egypt and Bali shows itself in dazzling and detailed metalwork.

David utilizes an assortment of fabrication techniques in his designs, which include hydraulic die forming, chasing and repoussé, engraving and lapidary techniques. He makes his own mokume gane mixed metal for his carved “Guri Bori” rings. David’s style continues to evolve, but the underlying theme in his work is mastery of technique.

Additional resources:


David Anderson.

Photo credit: “Taos News photographer” Morgan Timms.

Millicent Rogers “Sunset Straws” Necklace, Designed by Millicent Rogers, Repaired by David Anderson. Photo Credit Carmella Quinto

“3 Nugget Gold Ring” designed by Millicent Rogers reproduced by David Anderson for the Museum Store. Photo Credit David Anderson

“H” Bracelet in sterling silver, Designed by Millicent Rogers, reproduced for the Millicent Rogers Store by David Anderson.
Photo Credit David Anderson

Grouping of Millicent Rogers jewelry designs “Ulu, Spirit, Double Barr, Group” reproduced for the Millicent Rogers Store by David Anderson. Photo Credit David Anderson

“Faceted Mokume Gane Ring”. The metals in this ring are sterling silver and 14K palladium white gold with an 18K palladium white gold ring liner. Photo credit: David Anderson

“Carved Mokume Gane Ring with Chrysoberyl and Diamond”. The mokume is sterling silver and 14K palladium white gold with 18K yellow gold bezels and ring liner. Photo credit: David Anderson.

Front of Millicent Rogers Museum, Photo credit Courtesy of Millicent Rogers Museum.

Sharon Berman