One to Watch: Shihara

TrendsNov 15, 2016

One to Watch: Shihara

New to the U.S. market, fine jewelry’s most buzzed about designer is rethinking the way jewelry is made.

This month’s One to Watch is Japanese brand Shihara, designed by Yuta Ishihara.

New York--Recently, Shihara has been on the lips of many fashion-forward retailers.

Portland, Oregon jewelry store Twist is an enthusiast, as owner Paul Schneider told National Jeweler, and up-and-coming Brooklyn boutique Quiet Storms is a stockist.

Shihara isn’t new; the Japanese brand, designed by Yuta Ishihara, was founded eight years ago and boasts its own Tokyo flagship, but the company has made a recent push into the U.S. market to much excitement and acclaim.

The buzz is due to the ingenuity of the design. Though Ishihara’s formal education is in jewelry, he approaches his work with the mind of an engineer, dismantling accepted, basic jewelry-making concepts, such as the way an earring closes with a post, and inventing new ways of integrating function with aesthetic.

Here, Ishihara creates forms via the earring's chain, reimagining a chain’s traditional function.

Ishihara’s 3-D square and triangle earrings, from one of his first collections, which have become a sort of signature, utilize one edge of the earring’s structure as its closure, going through the ear and connecting to the rest of the design seamlessly, without any wasted space to accommodate for an earring back.

This ethos is repeated in all Ishihara’s collections, in a process he calls “subtraction.” He takes away unnecessary elements, letting that process inform the overall design concept of each piece.

National Jeweler sat down with fine jewelry’s most innovative new designer to see through the world through the inventive eyes of Shihara.

National Jeweler: Tell me about your professional background. What brought you to jewelry design?

Yuta Ishihara: I’ve always loved fashion. I didn’t really agree with the fast pace and how everything changes so often. With jewelry, you can put it on your body like fashion but it lasts much longer. I like the possibility that when someone buys my jewelry they can hand it down to generations later. Even after I pass away, my creations will keep living with personal feelings attached to the product. There’s not very many things in this world that last for 200 or 300 years. I like the idea that I can create something that would last for that long.

NJ: What is the inspiration behind your collections?

YI: Everybody has to attach the jewelry somehow, there’s a way that you attach it to the body but I design how it can be put onto your body. For example, a lot of jewelry
brands buy a hardware separately from their design and put it together, but jewelry is so small and sometimes half of the jewelry is the pre-made hardware. I wanted to design the whole thing. Instead of adding by design, I subtract. When I keep subtracting only the hardware remains. I rethink and design the way that it’s put on the body and the way that it’s worn because without being worn it’s not really jewelry.

NJ: Where is your jewelry made?

YI: It’s all made in Japan.

NJ: What should retailers focus on, or what story should they tell, when showing your line to customers?

YI: Some stores have only a small selection of what I have overall so I just want retailers to explain the cool concept of the brand. A lot of the times, if you only see one piece of my work, you can’t tell what it is because of the way the hardware is designed and how the piece has been “subtracted.” Without the retailers explaining the piece, it can be difficult to understand what it is or the concept.

NJ: How much inventory must a retailer invest in to carry your brand?

YI: Usually, even within one collection, I have different variations, so I would ask to have at least three variations per collection that a retailer carries and a few collections would help. By putting only a little bit, it can be hard to understand. I often play with size and angles so even if it’s one collection there will be five or six different variations. Maybe the size gets bigger or the angle is different.

NJ: What retailers are currently carrying your line?

YI: In the United States, Dover Street Market, Barneys, Jeffrey, La Garconne, Fivestory, Quiet Storms, Need Supply Co. and Twist.

NJ: What is the price range of your pieces?

YI: The lowest pricing point is about $300 and the highest is around $6,000.

NJ: At which trade shows do you exhibit or are you planning to exhibit?

YI: I haven’t done any trade shows but I show with Rainbowwave, a sales showroom.

NJ: What are your plans for upcoming collections?

YI: I have many collections, but without adding too many I want to figure out a way to give more variety within my existing collections.

NJ: Complete this sentence: “People would be surprised to learn that I …”

YI: That I’m not as rigid or as intense as my jewelry. I have a goofy side and my house isn’t as clean as you might expect.

For more information, visit
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

The Latest

AuctionsNov 23, 2022
This Sapphire Tiara Once Owned by a Danish Princess Is Going to Auction

The Dec. 1 jewelry sale at Bonhams-owned Bruun Rasmussen will have several other pieces of royal jewelry on the block.

FinancialsNov 23, 2022
Movado Lowers Guidance Amid ‘Uncertain’ Retail Environment

Its Q3 sales dipped as inflation took its toll on shoppers in the U.S. and Europe.

MajorsNov 23, 2022
De Beers Jewellers Is Popping Up in Connecticut

The temporary store is the result of a collaboration with Betteridge.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

CollectionsNov 23, 2022
Piece of the Week: Rembrandt’s Turkey Charm

Charm fans will gobble up this festive “Piece of the Week” pick.

Weekly QuizNov 18, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
AuctionsNov 22, 2022
Jewelry Recovered from Sunken ‘Ship of Gold’ Heads to Auction

The S.S. Central America sank in 1857 off the coast of South Carolina, carrying tons of gold from the California Gold Rush.

IndependentsNov 22, 2022
See the Greek Jewels Going to Auction for Charity

Several Greek jewelry designers have donated pieces to the annual Hellenic Initiative silent auction.

Brought to you by
Diamond Shoppers’ 2022 Holiday Wish List

Give your customers the best diamond buying experience this holiday season.

Events & AwardsNov 22, 2022
Hodinkee to Receive Gem Award for Watch Excellence

Plus, see this year’s list of nominees for the Jewelry Design, Media Excellence, and Retail Excellence awards.

SourcingNov 22, 2022
Head of Australian Miner Burgundy Diamond Resigns

The company announced the resignation of Peter Ravenscroft late last week, effective immediately.

SourcingNov 21, 2022
Provenance Proof Launches Online Marketplace for Traceable Gems

Debuting today, it is open to Provenance Proof blockchain users.

TechnologyNov 21, 2022
Version 2.0 of the NDC’s ‘Assure’ Directory Is Now Live

Assure is the program the Natural Diamond Council launched in 2019 to test lab-grown diamond screening devices.

MajorsNov 21, 2022
JK Findings Acquires Intercept Silver & Jewelry Care

Intercept Silver & Jewelry Care distributes anti-corrosion and anti-tarnish products.

MajorsNov 21, 2022
David Yurman Just Opened a Palm Beach Outpost

It’s located on famed shopping street Worth Avenue.

EditorsNov 18, 2022
9 of My Favorite Pieces from the AGTA Spectrum Awards Editors’ Day

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator’s highlights include a chrome tourmaline ring, a giant opal necklace, and an American mined stone.

CrimeNov 18, 2022
Jewelry Store Security Guard Killed in Armed Robbery

Police in Calumet City, Illinois are looking for several suspects involved in the robbery of a jewelry store in the River Oaks Mall.

MajorsNov 18, 2022
AGS Adds Sumit Dangi to Board of Directors

Dangi is global chief financial officer and treasurer at Jewelers Mutual Group.

CollectionsNov 18, 2022
Piece of the Week: Tabayer’s ‘Oera’ Pendant

The brand’s signature shape is rendered in an autumn-appropriate color palette.

GradingNov 17, 2022
GIA Labs Report Receiving 2 Moissanites Submitted as Diamonds

The discoveries were outlined in the Lab Notes section of the fall 2022 issue of Gems & Gemology.

MajorsNov 17, 2022
Boucheron’s Magical Holiday Campaign Has Landed

“Boucheron Wonderland” showcases best-selling styles, high jewelry, and some familiar faces.

MajorsNov 17, 2022
At eBay’s New Pop-Up, Pre-Owned Luxury Goods Are Currency

The temporary space in New York’s Diamond District lets shoppers trade in one authenticated luxury item for another.

SourcingNov 17, 2022
De Beers’ Oct/Nov Rough Sales Total $450M

As in September, the company’s sales were up slightly year-over-year but down month-to-month.

GradingNov 17, 2022
Professor of Artificial Intelligence Among Additions to GIA Board of Governors

Lake Dai, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon University, joins the board alongside Rosy Blue Managing Director Russell Mehta.

AuctionsNov 16, 2022
One More Big Pink Diamond Heads to Auction, With $35M Price Tag

It follows a few other notable fancy color diamonds at auction this fall, with mixed results.

CollectionsNov 16, 2022
There’s a New Jewelry Destination in Greenwich, Conn.

Serpentine Jewels has branched out from its private jeweler beginnings to a ready-to-wear collection and a Connecticut townhouse.

WatchesNov 16, 2022
Rolex Names New Group President

A filing made in Switzerland shows Nicolas Brünschwig now holds the top position at one of the most popular brands in the world.

Events & AwardsNov 16, 2022
These Pearl Jewels Won the 2022 CPAA Design Competition

The Cultured Pearl Association of America held its 13th annual International Pearl Design Competition this fall.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy