Episode 202 – Anna Balkan – Authenticity is Everything

00:00 / 00:47:21

Anna Balkan / Anna Balkan Designer Jewelry Gallery

Anna Balkan’s uninhibited use of color and bold innovation comes from a lifetime of seeing beyond limits and following the signs of her own life journey. Her story is one of a survival and overcoming odds, about re-inventing herself over and over wile maintaining open and enthusiastic heart. It’s a story of women empowerment, and her jewelry is a true reflection of that, and it is evident in her brave and unique combinations of colors and form of her jewelry. This jewelry is created from the heart and is meant to help bring out a strong beautiful woman in each one of us.

Anna grew up in the Chernobyl area of the Ukraine, when the culture was grey and resourcefulness was a necessity. She learned to knit and crochet, making the things that were needed from whatever was on hand. “I’ve never had any preconceived notions of which colors did or did not go together. Because I lived in a world that was so drab, I thought all color was beautiful.”

Her childhood cultivated in her a strength of spirit and at the age of 16, Anna rose above religious persecution and discriminatory quotas to earn access into a prestigious masters of engineering program. The experience honed Anna’s expertise in three dimensional design now evident in the layered artistry of her jewelry.

At the age of 20, Anna immigrated to the U.S. as a political refugee—alone, unable to speak the language, and with $100 in her hands. “It was an unexpected opportunity, but I knew from within that it was the right thing to do. I had to let myself be vulnerable and trust and then keep trusting, no matter how difficult things were at times.” New York was her first stop. Over time, Anna learned English and soon earned a degree in Economics. Trust, tenacity, and constant renewal enabled Anna to transition from the streets of New York to the halls of a top five consulting firm in just four years

Anna’s leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirit led her into an evolutionary e-commerce company, where she continued to innovate. “Creativity is all around us. Sometimes we just don’t recognize it for what it is. Every moment of life is unique and creative. I am very fortunate that both of the companies that I worked for valued entrepreneurship. I worked in math, science, and economics. They are all very creative fields when you look beyond the expected.”

Delivering the unexpected is still part of Anna’s journey. She returned to her true passion and started Anna Balkan Jewelry shortly after the birth of her daughter, in 2005. Her name is well recognized in the industry, and her jewelry business maintains a steady growth. In 2010, Anna opened Anna Balkan Designer Jewelry Gallery. She is personally committed to hiring locally, making all jewelry locally, and giving back to her local community.

Anna’s jewelry captures all the colors of her history and the natural beauty of a life well lived. Anna Balkan is a woman of renewal, and her journey has just begun.



Lee R. Heisman /Savant, LLC

Ted Jenkin /Oxygen Financial

Anna Balkan / Anna Balkan Designer Jewelry Gallery