Tomoko Kodera earned an Associate Degree in Japanese Painting at Kyoto University of Art and Design. She then began working as a textile designer, but having her ears pierced motivated her to create something wearable and to pursue a new career in jewellery design.
In 1990, Kodera graduated from Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry and joined Kashikey Co., Ltd. She received the Minister of Labor Prize in the JJA Jewellery Contest for “Skyscrapers of New York” in 1995 and the Platinum Design of the Year for “New York City Map” in 1996. Later on that year, she launched the TOMOKO KODERA Collection in 1996, and in 2000 she established the “5 Concepts”. These concepts aim to create jewellery that fits the curves of the body and flatters the figure, and they continue to be the cornerstone of her work.
Tomoko Kodera has received many awards, including the Grand Prize and DTC (De Beers) prize of the JJA Jewellery Design Awards 2004 for “Shooting Star”, which is considered to be one of her most characteristic works. In 2005, she received the Platinum Guild International Prize and the Chairman of the Japan Jewellery Association Prize of the JJA Jewellery Design Awards for “Haru (Spring)”, a piece comprised of natural color diamonds. In 2010, Kodera launched the “15 DEGREES Ring” bridal line. In 2015, she exhibited two pieces, “Bento” and “Rice Husks”, at the Belgian Pavilion for Expo Milano, the theme of the exposition being “food”, and was awarded first prize for “Rice Husks” at the HRD Awards 2015 International Diamond Jewellery Competition in Antwerp, Belgium.