Bold. Modern. Jewelry. Three words that accurately describe Mora Collection, but not nearly enough to explain the experience and depth of owner, Marthe Le Van. With a unique start as editor and publisher of jewelry related book collections, Marthe became influential in jewelry design without sitting behind a tool bench. She graciously claims that her experiences have been a series of marvelous stumbles shortly following her educational studies in the arts at Sarah Lawrence College. Her passion for jewelry in its art form transpires into Mora Collection, where you can expect to see gallery style presentations of the most unique, handmade and one-of-a-kind jewelry displays from enviable independent jewelry designers. Marthe’s contribution to the originality of the jewelry movement continues to spark attention from the industry, leading to packed events and brilliant designer exhibits.
Here’s a look at the inspired woman who does it all…
How did you get started in the industry?
Through publishing, which seems pretty unusual. In 2000, I became an editor for Lark Books and founded their jewelry list. A dozen years of writing, editing, and curating jewelry books—both design compilations and how-to guides—gave me a deep technical understanding of the art form and introduced me to so many remarkable jewelers and experts in the field. I was hooked and knew jewelry would be my life’s work.
Describe your personal jewelry style in five words or less.
Where do you get your inspiration?
It’s in my DNA—half artist, half entrepreneur.
What do you love most about jewelry?
Its intimacy and expressiveness. Jewelry radiates a profound visceral power that’s unmatched. Objects made for the body and chosen to adorn it as it moves through the world are mighty.
What are you most excited for at JCK Tucson?
This is my first trip to JCK Tucson, so just about everything! Walking shows is such a thrill, and a new-to-me show is especially exciting. I’m on a perpetual quest to find new designers for Mora, so meeting jewelers and seeing their collections is at the top of the list. The opportunity to connect with professionals from every facet of the industry who share a passion for jewelry really can’t be beat.
What type of designers are you looking to meet with at JCK Tucson?
Mora is dedicated to independent jewelry artists and small studios creating one-of-a-kind work by hand. At JCK Tucson, I’m looking to meet designers with an original visual language and distinct point of view. Compelling design and exceptional craftsmanship is key.
What’s the last item you splurged on?
A week at Joshua Tree National Park.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I thought Mardi Gras was a national holiday until I was 19.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
What’s the biggest challenge of your job and the biggest reward?
Navigating a healthy work/life balance is the biggest challenge. I absolutely love what I do and could easily spend every waking hour working on Mora, but I enjoy so many other things, too! Making time for it all is tough! Every single day is filled rewarding moments—seeing that expression on a customer’s face when she looks in the mirror and feels so beautiful, assisting that couple who thought they’d never find the perfect rings until they found us, opening that box and unwrapping the best new collection, being a small creative business that supports 30 more small creative businesses—truly, I could go on and on.