Jeanne Miller

Jeanne Miller was the origin of the Miller's passion for gemology, watches, jewelry, and antiques. Jeanne, who lived in Arlington VA, was a gemologist and Fellow of the Gemological association of Great Britain. She was one of the first female fellows in the United States. She educated herself though distance education and traveled the world building her collection of over 1,000 amazing pieces of jewelry. From exotic precious stones to Victorian era costume jewelry, Jeanne collected everything she liked. Jeanne, Brent L. Miller's mother, built her collection from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, selling her treasures at antique shows and later with private showings in her home.

jeanne miller
300 clocks continue

She founded "Miller Antiques" in 1956, a female owned and operated company, and destination for jewelry and antique collectors of the Washington DC metro area for 30 years.  

In 1961, the Miller household held nearly 300 clocks, many dating back to the early 1800’s. Nearly every single one kept time. Mr. Miller kept the clocks looking good as new by keeping them repaired, locating parts, and refurbishing them. Unique clocks from all over the world fill the collection. The clocks in the collection range from grandfather clocks to lapel watches. Mrs. Miller mentions they don’t keep all watches running at once, but the ones that do “are likely to disagree.” Many of the time pieces at the time were moved from the home to be put on display at the eighth annual Antiques Bazaar of St. Mark’s Evangelical United Brethren Church in Arlington. 

The Miller boys “initiated the family’s interest in clocks several years ago when they came upon a pocket watch in an antique shop…The whole family spouts facts on the history of clock and watchmaking.”

May to October 1962

In May 1962, the Lion’s Antique Show displayed jewelry from the mid 1800’s. Many of the Victorian Era pieces held sentimental value to Jeanne. One of the most sentimental pieces was one of widowhood. Victorian women would spend three years in mourning, the only acceptable jewelry during this time was black.

In September 1962, Jeanne was one of fifteen dealers at the seventh annual antique show sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church of Olney. Jeanne’s collection included more than 200 pieces.

In October 1962, Jeanne had been an antique collector of twenty years. Jeanne mentioned her “antique collection sort of just mushroomed like the atomic bomb” after her first purchased piece in her collection. To Jeanne, “it [didn’t] matter if it’s not gold or silver. In fact [she was] more fascinated by the materials and craftsmanship used in a piece of antique jewelry…And the stories behind the jewelry are as interesting as the pieces themselves…There are hundreds of stories connected with the various styles and periods of jewelry.”

September 1965

In October 1963, her collection was reputed to be the largest displayed in the Virginia Beach area, was one of the features at the fifth annual antique show sponsored by the Princess Anne Women’s Club. She received various letters thanking her for the experience her collection provided.

In 1963, Jeanne opened her home to collectors on an appointment basis. Having added an interesting selection of estate items, she was ready to share her new collection with collectors. In December 1963, she received a letter thanking her for sharing part of her collection and notifying her that more people wished to experience it.

In September 1965, Jeanne displayed her collection at the eighth annual Women’s Club of Falls Church antique show. She displayed Victorian Era jewelry. She also displayed watches in operating condition of the late 1700’s.


In November 1965, Jeanne displayed her collection at the Virginia Beach Antique Show.

In September 1966, Jeanne qualified as a Fellow of the Gemological Association of Great Britain. On October 24th 1966, she received her diploma as a certified Fellow. She flew to London to accept her Fellowship. At the time, she was one of only two gemologists designated in the D.C. area. She was the first person to qualify as a fellow since 1954.

At the end of October 1966, Jeanne took part in the eighth annual Princess Anne Woman’s club antique show. “Antique jewelry of all kinds and all eras was the most popular item at the show… each piece of it is hand-made and one-of-a-kind.” Mr. Miller also displayed at the show. He displayed “the workings of an apprentice clock made in England in 1809. The clock was completely open so all the springs and workings were visible.” He deemed it a ‘Skeleton Clock.’

In November 1966, Jeanne received fan mail letters after she took part in a TV program.

In January 1967, Jeanne took part in the Woman’s Club of Bethesda antique show. Her booth attracted an audience of all ages.


In October 1967,  Jeanne was one of thirteen exhibitors that took part in the annual antique show in Onley.

In March 1968, Jeanne gave a lecture on synthetic, imitative, and treated  stones used in antique and contemporary jewelry.

In June 1968, Jeanne took part in the International Gem and Mineral Show.

In August of 1968, she received a letter for taking part in a show. She was asked to return the following year.

In April 1969, Jeanne was officially invited to exhibit at the International Gem and Mineral show of 1969 in D.C. She was notified that the committee wished to honor her with a presentation in recognition and appreciation of her exhibit.

In May 1970, she took part in the NAWCC Convention(National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors). With her Fellowship, she had spent six years studying her field. She found developments in the field of heat-treatment, radiation, and synthetic stones. At the NAWCC she gave a presentation “to provide an additional interest for the ladies.”


In October 1970, Jeanne was a speaker at a Woman’s Club of Bethesda luncheon. Her speech was about the “History and Lore of Jewelry.” She received a letter and was thanked for speaking at a meeting. The letter also offered condolences for the passing of her husband.

In April 1971, Jeanne took part in the Potomac Antique Show. She displayed her noteworthy collection.

In August 1972, Jeanne received a letter boasting about her collection. She was also offered condolences for the loss of her husband.

In October 1972, Jeanne safaried to Africa. On this trip she learned about the gems and minerals found here up close.


In November 1973, Jeanne took part in an annual antique show in Virginia Beach. She has been exhibiting at the show for fourteen years at the time. “The history of personal adornment is to Jeanne, one of the most consuming hobbies one can have.” Her FGA certificate that would hang in her booth prompted many conversations with those at the show. Other conversations included that of hair work items, jewelry made from hair. She mentioned she did not start seriously collecting until 1943. She mentioned how her children helped to fuel her ambition.

In April 1974, Jeanne provided a speech for the Woman’s Auxiliary about Gemological Adornment and Mystique—with a dash of time.

In September 1974, Jeanne gave a presentation on “Gemological Adornment and mystique—with a dash of time.” The presentation featured slides of antique jewelry dating from 400 B.C. through Victorian time.

In October 1974, she received a letter thanking her display collection and the experience it provides.


In October 1981, Jeanne attended the 50th Anniversary celebration for the Gemological Association of Great Britain.

In 1982 Jeanne was invited to become a charter member of the GIA Alumni Association.

In November 1982 Jeanne received a letter thanking for her kindness and the gift she presented.

In December 1983, Lady Bird Johnson was photographed wearing a pin she purchased from Jeanne.

In October 1984, after twenty five years in antique shows, Jeanne decided to cease participating in them. She decided to remain selling from her home.


In January 1985, Jeanne received a letter thanking her for the 1984 letter. The letter also gave concern for the health problems mentioned. The letter also mentions a memorable presentation Jeanne gave several years prior.

In September 1985, Jeanne was invited to a Presentation of Awards dinner.

In July 1986, a three-day antique jewelry course at the University of main at Orono took place. “Maine is a storehouse for certain kinds of antique jewelry.” Names like Karl Faberge and Lalique were displayed during the three-day course. during the course one was able to learn how to tell the difference between “good and bad” jewelry.


Jeanne Miller passed away in 2001.


In November 2020, Jeanne's jewelry collection was in storage over 20 years. Brent Miller Jewelers was very excited to offer a selection of her estate collection in a special estate sale.