Creativity Taking Shape
Text and Photos by Alvina Shih
Since she was a child, Alvina Shih has always enjoyed immersing herself in creative activities. Chinese calligraphy, origami, knitting, and her love for learning new crafts were some of the things she was passionate about in her childhood. Her path to jewelry making came after realizing that the world of finance was not for her. A trip to a gem market in the Philippines with its labyrinth of aisles and colorful dripping strands of gemstones gave her the initial inspiration for what would later on become her field of expertise. Not long after that, Shih started designing necklaces with select semi-precious stones and selling them to colleagues and friends in New York. Having found her passion, she eventually left the banking world and trained at the Jewelry Arts Institute in New York City. There she learned classical metalsmithing techniques and developing skills to incorporate into her evolving design aesthetic.
Today, her line Vina Shih Jewelry, speaks of her abundance in creativity, through modern designs with an organic touch. She takes inspiration from the clean, flowing lines found in nature and in modern architecture. Being born a Gemini gives her designs duality, which results in unique but very wearable pieces.
Her jewelry studio is located in the Mission District of San Francisco. As of the moment, her favorite thing is forming metal, be it silver, copper, or brass. She lets the process of annealing, folding, and hammering the metal guide her to the final design. Shih also loves experimenting with geometric shapes and combining them, resulting in pieces that are truly unique and equally stunning.