North Carolina Jeweler Showcases Earrings by Local Designers

Mora, a 7-month-old designer jewelry boutique in Asheville, N.C., is playing up a key item for the holidays: earrings. For the month of December, the store is hosting the Holiday Earring Exhibition, featuring 16 local jewelers showcasing 80 pairs of earrings.

“Our town is completely full of incredibly talented professionals, especially jewelers,” said Marthe Le Van, who owns the store along with jewelry designer Joanna Gollberg. “By inviting 16 of them, I think it will become more apparent to the public at large.” Designers—each of whom have created five pairs of earrings for the event—include Sharon Bailey, Molly Dingledine, Nancy Fleming, Geoffrey Giles, Danielle Miller-Gilliam, Jason Janow, Deb Karash, Stacey Lane, Audrey Muldoon, Caitie Sellers, Matthew Smith, Molly Sharp, Terry Taylor, David Vrooman, Sarah West, and Rhonda and Elijah Wyman.

Mora owners Joanna Gollberg & Marthe Le Van

Molly Dingledine’s silver fancy lotus earrings will hang alongside metalsmith Caitie Sellers’ sterling silver handmade charms on ear wires. Danielle Miller-Gilliam’s streamlined pieces—such as the fold-formed sterling earrings with 18k and 14k gold, pale blue sapphires, diamonds and tsavorite garnets she recently sold—will be shown with Stacey Lane’s work, like gold cage earrings made of 18k gold, rubies, and sapphires.

Earrings on custom stands

“It will be interesting to see all these different styles seen together for the first time,” said Le Van. “It will appeal to different audiences which is really exciting.”

Until the exhibition, most of the store’s inventory had been handmade in-house by Gollberg—necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and rings primarily turned out in recycled precious metals and fairly sourced colorful gemstones. The “drama of a pop of color” or the “witty use of an exaggerated prong,” as Gollberg touts on her website, describes her aesthetic. A primitive-looking tribal sterling silver cuff is highlighted by a bright peridot, for instance, while long, sweeping silver chains on an earring hang from bright blue beads. Price points generally range from $40 to $4,000.

Le Van, who was an author before shifting to jewelry retail, has collaborated with Gollberg for several years publishing books on the art of jewelry making. When the perfect space became available—street-level and below Gollberg’s studio—Le Van decided she was ready to make a change and, while she was at it, change the traditional retail business model.

“We wanted to be much more than a boutique,” she said. “Have a glass of wine and talk about what we want to make.” Or buy some earrings by local artisans. “It’s a very simple purchase for people. Earrings sell more than anything else.”

The exhibition will begin on Dec. 1 and continue until the end of the month. A reception is slated for Dec. 7, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

JCK Magazine Editor