Tony Aguilar was born in 1919 at Santo Domingo. From a family of jewelers including his father and his uncle, Vidal Aragon, Tony Aguilar learned silversmithing from a Navajo jeweler while he attended the Santa Fe Indian School and was the president of his class. Tony then entered the United States Army during World War II. For 2 1/2 years, Tony Aguilar was stationed in Iran, and while there he admired the heavy, ornate jewelry designs of Middle Eastern jewelry. Tony would return to the United States highly influenced by those jewelry designs. The resulting jewelry that Tony Aguilar created post World War II was often bold, big and brass with intricate stampwork and large natural turquoise stones. He worked until he passed away in 2002.