Among jewelers Barclay lived an interesting, though somewhat short life. His jewelry was informed by the times, with Arts and Crafts principles, introducing affordable items with the modern decorative style of natural subjects and asymmetrical composition that was known elsewhere as Art Nouveau, il Liberte, Jugenstil and other variations on the theme of a new approach. Taking a page from Georg Jensen’s style and working approach, his silver jewelry frequently revolved around nature, with workshops using high-relief repousse dies to produce stamped serial units for matching sets of bracelets, necklaces, brooches and earrings. He also created rhinestone pieces that bore a striking similarity to Cartier’s famous art deco emerald works.
He was industrious – the graduate from the Art Institute of Chicago branched into jewelry and decorative home items after success with his pin-up art, especially in commercial art. The war interrupted his jewelry when he was appointed by the Navy to develop maritime camoflauge schemes in the pacific theatre, and shortly after Pearl Harbor he began to paint recruiting posters. At the age of 52, on assignment near the Solomon Islands, his boat was torpedoed.