Adam Mahr opened A Mano (which means “made by hand” in Italian and Spanish) in Georgetown in 1994, then expanded in Naples in 2000. Initially, the shop focused mostly on handcrafted pottery from Europe, where Mahr studied and traveled extensively, and now includes women’s jewelry, accessories, home furnishings, and other unique gifts. “Real luxury is taking the time to search for a present that makes a personal connection. It’s not the price tag or the designer label,” Mahr says. “What are their interests? What places have you gone together? It should represent a meaningful bond between the one who purchased it and the one who gets it. That’s a luxurious gift.” Handmade gifts tell a story. Here are three picks from A Mano and the stories behind them.
3 Storied Gifts
Verres de Biot
The French hand-blown tableware is made of bubble glass, a technique that incorporates small bubbles into each decorative shape. The talented artisans, a father and son in Biot, France, design each piece exclusively to Mahr’s specifications. The tinted molten glass is blown into goblets, bowls, pitchers, plates, and other tableware items in a variety of beautiful hues.
The Impossible Collection of Wine
This exquisite hand-bound opus is ideal for the wine connoisseur who has everything. The Impossible Collection of Wine: The 100 Most Exceptional Vintages of the Twentieth Century (Assouline Publishing, 2016) is a limited edition and it’s as spectacular as it is enormous, weighing in at more than 10 pounds. Compiled by Enrico Bernardo, one of the world’s most notable sommeliers, the book highlights vintages from around the world and contains pieces of history, such as an image of Jackie Kennedy setting a table and a scribbled-on menu from a White House lunch with exquisite wine and Champagne pairings.
The Palio Collection
The colorful tableware, handmade and hand-painted in Italy, serves as a nod to Palio di Siena, the fiercely competitive and oldest ongoing horse race on the planet. Districts compete in the legendary race twice a year in Siena, Italy, and it was the focus of a 2015 British documentary, Palio, which received wide acclaim. The tableware illustrates the 17 competing districts in the race; for example, the porcupine refers to Istrice and the giraffe represents Giraffa.