IO Collective—a company that is all about using ethically-sourced precious and semi-precious gemstones and refined metals to handcraft whimsical and uniquely-designed fine jewelry. Jenifer Thai, owner and artist at IO Collective, designs each piece to tell a story—be it for an engagement, anniversary, the redesign of a family heirloom or something else equally engaging—and hopes that every handcrafted piece created shows the passion and creativity that goes into it.
When Jenifer was a little girl, she used to be mesmerized by the fine jewelry her dad used to buy and sell in Vietnam, but she had no idea it would one day lead her into the jewelry industry. It wasn’t until Jenifer started making jewelry as a hobby (back when she was working in New York City’s finance industry), that Jenifer discovered the way the creative process lit her up inside and fueled a passion she did not even know she had. Jenifer soon left Finance to venture into the world of goldsmithing and apprenticed in California, her home state, which ultimately led to the birth of IO Collective. Jenifer finished her apprenticeship and went on to get her Associate Jewelry Professional Certificate from the Gemological Institute of America and is currently finishing a Graduate Gemologist degree. Now Jenifer spends her days immersed in metals and stones, creating beautiful, meaningful, timeless pieces that she hope will be worn for decades and passed down by generations.
Jenifer spends a lot of time fundraising for nonprofits and charities using her jewelry-making skills to teach others to make jewelry. She recently traveled to Siem Reap, Cambodia with Senhoa, a 501 c3 nonprofit, where Jenifer taught jewelry-making classes as part of the organization’s program to support victims of human trafficking. Jenifer also use her jewelry to raise money and awareness for the VNAM Foundation, an organization that supports social missions related to child poverty and hunger in Vietnam.
Jenifer is passionate about creating and designing jewelry, but also equally passionate about ensuring women in this business continue to flourish and be supported and ethical mining practices are encouraged throughout the world, so she also belongs to the Women’s Jewelry Association, American Gem Trade Association, The Metal Arts Society of Southern California, Mercury-Free Mining and was a 2017 Metal & Smith ambassador.
When Jenifer is not making all the pretty things and volunteering with charities, she is hanging in Southern California with her husband, June, and their three pups, Mayhem, Lucky and Toby.
“There’s something incredible about creating a piece of jewelry that has so much meaning behind it. I love knowing that my designs are associated with some of the greatest moments and memories in a person’s life.” - Jenifer Thai