VAIL — Like many of us in Vail, surrounded as we are by the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, Mauro Felter is inspired by nature. Hailing from Val Cominica, the valley in northern Italy where petroglyphs (primitive rock etchings) were initially discovered from an ancient civilization of people called the Camuni, Felter is drawn to stones and gems that evoke the power of the earth.
He designs jewelry around a centerpiece reminiscent of the pristine beauty of water, the rolling energy of landscapes, the ferocity of fire. He travels the world in search of such centerpieces — brilliant and unusual gems and stones — and will make a special trip to Karats of Vail Friday through Sunday to display the masterpieces he has derived from his latest findings.
“During one of my trips looking for new gems to bring home, my eyes were captured by a set of magnificent blue boulder opals from Australia,” Felter said. “They were all together in a little transparent box. The owner told me I could choose among them and if I wished, I could take only one of them. ‘No,’ I thought, ‘I don’t want to separate them. All of them must come with me.’”
Felter took the opals and carefully forged a new home for each – in earrings and rings resembling landscapes, shimmering with color and texture.
“I particularly love their blue-green color and all of their iridescence,” he said. “When I look at them I can see the universe, the ocean, a mountain lake, the blue sky with stars, all at the same time. How generous Mother Nature is and how amazing are the things she can create. I have tried to create the best new house for each of my opals, surrounding them with the most brilliant stone I could — white diamonds.”
The opal collection will be unveiled for the first time at Karats, although Felter’s previous works can be found in galleries throughout Italy and also adorning some of the country’s prominent actors, singers and fashion designers.
In addition to his work inspired by nature, Felter is also of course, captivated by the creative expressions of human kind. He designs many pieces to commemorate the ancient etchings of the Camuni people.
“Since the real beginning of my career I have been always been attracted by petroglyphs.” Felter said. “They are one of the few possibilities we have to know something about man’s life on earth from the origin. Every one of us takes his roots from prehistoric men. It is a line that joins all of us. That’s why I’ve decided to evoke them on my jewels.”
Like the original ancient etchings, Felter’s miniature versions depict primitive figures bearing spears, gathering food and dancing.
As one would guess of someone inspired by nature, the colors of Felter’s work spans the entire spectrum, representing all the warm hues of Earth, the blues and greens of W\water, the golds and reds of fire, the white and lavender of air and the white gold clock faces of his watch collection entitled “Time.” The symbolic beauty of each piece — from flecks of gems resembling autumn leaves in a pond to rugged white gold strips resembling mountain tops is dazzling. There are new details to be discovered in each tiny masterpiece upon every fresh glance.
Felter’s goal with all of his jewelry is to not only inspire an appreciation for nature and its many forms of intricate beauty, but to also instill within the person who wears it a sense of that nature’s power and humanity’s purest form of creativity.
“I hope to be able to transmit the significance of my pieces to the person who wears them,” he said. “I hope to cast the same spell on people as the gems did for me.”
Shauna Farnell is a freelance writer, contracted by Karats of Vail.