Full Circle: Mora Collection

Home to unique jewelry pieces handmade using both traditional metalworking techniques and the latest technologies, Mora Collection offers customers a wide range of one-of-a-kind jewels that lets them express their individuality.

We caught up with the store’s curator, Marthe Le Van, whose mission is to transform how the world adorns itself by bringing fascinating, fashion-forward and wearable modern jewelry to the surface.

See what she has to say about her journey in the jewelry industry, her purchase strategies, what she’s most looking forward to at JCK Tucson 2020 and more.

What is your background in the jewelry industry and how did you get your start?
I was raised by an artist, and my education focused art history and arts administration. In my early career, I used these skills in television production, personal curating, and gallery management. In 2000, I became an editor for Lark Books. Two years in, I identified jewelers as a robust creative community that seemed underserved by book publishers and worked to change this by establishing the Lark Jewelry imprint. Ten years and approximately 60 jewelry books later, it was time for a new challenge. I left book publishing in 2012 to found Mora, which now represents 30 jewelers making one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces.

How would you describe your store using only three words?
Artist-made. Carefully-curated. Design-driven.

Can you give us a glimpse into your process when purchasing pieces to include in your store collection and your decision-making strategies?
There has to be a “wow” factor, and for me, there are many types of “wows”—the sheer beauty of the object, the technical prowess of how it’s made, the absolute originality of its design. These qualities stir up a passion in me that transfers to our customers. I’m afraid my best strategy is to always trust my eye and listen to my heart and gut feelings.

What do you do to make customers’ visits memorable?
Every day there are fresh flowers in vase outside our door. This starts the customer’s experience before they even cross the threshold (and it is amazing how many people stop and take photos of our outdoor arrangements!). Our displays and the environment we’ve created are relaxed and approachable. Our staff is super friendly, and because they are all jewelry-makers, the expertise they can convey makes for an extraordinary and memorable experience.

Do you do any special events? If so, what kind?
We love throwing parties for jewelers and host many types of special events. These can range from a month-long solo exhibition of a jeweler’s work to a one-day pop-up shop. We have also hosted guest-curated group exhibitions, a “Local Jewelry Takeover” for regional jewelers, and a show of student work from Penland School of Crafts.

We love throwing parties for jewelers and host many types of special events. These can range from a month-long solo exhibition of a jeweler’s work to a one-day pop-up shop. We have also hosted guest-curated group exhibitions, a “Local Jewelry Takeover” for regional jewelers, and a show of student work from Penland School of Crafts.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your business?
There is immeasurable personal satisfaction in doing the work you truly love and making others happy.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is just starting out in the industry?
Be authentic—with your colleagues, with jewelers, with customers. Each of our greatest asset is who we are as unique individuals. Respect others but also respect yourself.

What are you most looking forward to for JCK Tucson 2020?
Looking at jewelry, of course! I absolutely love walking the entirety of shows and hardly ever miss a booth. It is so inspiring on so many levels.

Any fun plans in Tucson off the show floor?
An early morning hike through the desert is a lovely way to start the day! And I’m really looking forward to some fine Southwestern meals! 

Learn more about Mora Collection here.
Haven’t registered for JCK Tucson 2020 yet? It’s just a few short months away! Register here today.

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