WJA Announces Cindy Edelstein Scholarship Winner

The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has awarded Olivia Shih (pictured) the 2020 Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship.

The award honors Cindy Edelstein, former JCK editor and head of the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau, who died in 2016.

The $5,000 scholarship targets emerging fine jewelry designers or artisans. It launched in 2017 in honor of Edelstein’s efforts to mentor and coach young talent.

The recipient, who must be a WJA member, can pursue jewelry design, metalsmithing, or business courses, provided she is focused on improving her artistry and/or her designer jewelry business.

Shih is a Taiwanese American jewelry designer based in Oakland, Calif. She graduated from the California College of the Arts with a bachelor of fine arts in jewelry/metalsmithing.

She honed her skills by working with designers and makers in the San Francisco Bay area, filling other gaps in her metalsmithing education with workshops in enameling, wax carving, and stone setting.

Shih said in a statement that she designs jewelry for “thoughtful, introverted women…[who] might be seen as quiet or serious on the surface.”

“As an introvert myself, I want my jewelry to give voice to soft-spoken people who are often ignored,” she said, adding she hopes her pieces provide them “the confidence to give a boardroom presentation or walk into a room full of strangers.”

She plans to use her WJA grant to further develop her business skills, learn more about responsible sourcing and ethical metalsmithing, and take classes on online marketing and sales.

“Because WJA emphasizes gender equality, mentorship, and education, Olivia Shih is the ideal winner for the Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship,” said WJA Foundation president Brandee Dallow in the WJA statement. “Cindy was a very close, personal friend and mentor of mine and I know she would be so pleased that these funds are going into such inspiring hands.”

(Image courtesy of the Women’s Jewelry Association)

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