Leila Tai, acclaimed jewelry designer and former Pratt Institute Fine Arts faculty member, passed away on April 2, 2020. Tai taught design and rendering in the jewelry program at Pratt for close to a decade, from 2006 to 2014. Known for her kind and gentle demeanor, she was loved by students, collectors, curators, gallerists, industry aficionados, and jewelry peers alike.
Tai was an accomplished educator who never stopped teaching and learning. Her greatest creative pleasure and pride were derived from teaching design and rendering, and from working at her bench where she crafted exquisite plique-à-jour silver and gold creations. She designed fine jewelry for Van Cleef & Arpels and for Jean Viteau, and fashion jewelry for Trifari, Monet, and Liz Claiborne. In 2009, having produced several collections of her own, she was acknowledged with an American Jewelry Design Council’s New Talent Award.