The Gem Behind the Gems
“You know how some people have an aptitude for certain things, things that come easy to them? I’ve always had an aptitude for acquiring gemstones,” Mia explained. It turns out Mia Katrin has an aptitude for more than just “acquiring gemstones.”
From the time she was young, her mother ran a ballet studio out of the basement of their home in Media, Pennsylvania. Mia picked up ballet around the age of four or five, and by the time she was in twelfth grade, she was attending the National Ballet Academic School in Washington, D.C. and joined a semiprofessional dance troupe, Ballet Trianon.
While Mia may have acquired an aptitude for dancing from her mother, she also acquired an inclination for learning from her father, who was a Spanish professor at a local university. Mia graduated from high school at the age of 16 at which point she chose to pursue academics over dancing. She went on to obtain her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in just three years. Mia didn’t stop until she had a Doctorate in Aesthetics from the University of Chicago. For years she worked as a philosophy professor at a state university during which time she discovered her gift for acquiring gems.
Mia’s quest to find the finest gemstones has taken her to Sri Lanka for splendid sapphires, Colombia for exquisite emeralds, and Tahiti for pure pearls. She buys them from local dealers and then has them tested in labs to ensure they are the highest quality. “Once you collect so many, you want to do something with them,” Mia said. She started out designing one-of-a-kind pieces for herself. After studying metalsmithing from master goldsmiths at Penland School of Crafts in western North Carolina, Mia began designing and handcrafting heirloom-quality pieces using precious gemstones and the purest gold.
Mia is known for her elegant style combining classic jewels with contemporary designs. Her extraordinary pieces possess a candlelit glamour with an air of royalty. Famous authors, style setters and celebrities such as Sharon Stone have discovered Jewel Couture, LLC, Mia’s own company based out of Ashe County, North Carolina.
Mia speaks of the creative process in a philosophical manner, whether it’s dancing or creating jewelry, there is a divine spark that can be found in creating. It’s a production of creative energy, a force that she gives into, opening herself up to inspiration. Elizabeth Gilbert describes the process much the same way in her book Big Magic. “I am a child of God, just like anyone else. I am a constituent of this universe. I have a right to collaborate with creativity, because I myself am a product and a consequence of creation.” Mia finds that inspiration in the beauty and serenity of the North Carolina mountains where she now lives.
Mia says the real magic happens when each piece finds its owner, when someone walks in and finds herself completely drawn to a piece of art that she’s created. “That’s my favorite part of the experience.”