Olivia Shih ’11

Alyssa Carvara

“The way I think about it is, I make jewelry for soft-spoken people with a backbone,” says jewelry designer Olivia Shih ’11.

Shih approaches her design work with a careful, introspective attitude. Her creative process for her necklaces, rings and earrings draws from real life: “I start with a moment or something visual that really touches me, and then take that inspiration to make it into a reality,” she says, describing her work as being both “calm” and “abstract.” Her jewelry can be found in stores across the country.

Shih graduated from the California College of the Arts in 2014 with a B.F.A. in jewelry and metal arts, and founded her eponymous line the next year. Each collection has a distinct look: “Liquid Gold” focuses on gentle, bulbous shapes made of yellow gold; “Lumen” features hand-carved rock crystal that is polished to a glow; “Murmur” showcases delicately hammered mixed metals.

In October 2020 the Woman’s Jewelry Association awarded Shih the Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship, which she used to take classes in lapidary (the cutting and shaping of precious stones). In 2022, Shih was chosen as one of 13 designers to create a capsule collection featuring diamonds with De Beers’ Code of Origin (a way of tracing diamonds and ensuring they are conflict free) for the Radiance by Couture initiative.

“On the surface, my work might be very quiet, but it has its own point of view,” says Shih. Going forward, she plans to work more with semiprecious stones and minerals while continuing to find the joy in creating pieces that speak to her unique aesthetic.

Anne-Ryan Sirju JRN’09