VAIL — Whether it’s the under-the-sea realm she explores while scuba-diving around the world or the Chakra-inspired rainbow array of her seven-floor residence in Bali, Carolyn Tyler has a thing for color.
For this season’s holiday show at Karats of Vail, the California-born jewelry designer is putting some of her most vibrant pieces crafted in her adopted country of Bali on display. Each piece is hand-crafted using precious gems that Tyler has collected from around the world, from champagne diamonds to Buddhist-influenced jade to 100-million-year-old ammonite. Although her lines are sold at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, no one necklace or pair of earrings is alike, and Tyler herself equates her work to “buried treasure.”
“I like to think of my designs as jewels that pirates would hide away or that royalty would wear,” she said. “But besides the ‘wow factor’ statement pieces, I also make pieces that are wearable for every day.”
Even Tyler’s “everyday” pieces are guaranteed to prompt a double take. What may from a distance look like a simple, classy red pendant on an ornate gold chain actually bears the stamp of an ancient Greek coin. A turquoise bracelet is comprised of hundreds of tiny stones, ranging from olive greens and yellows to almost neon blues. These hypnotizing shades are contrasted and magically complimented by the opposite spectrum of coral pieces in tropical pinks and oranges.
Power of color
Whether it’s artifacts from ancient civilizations or nature’s own homegrown history, color is the element that first draws Tyler to a particular item and she works it into a design that enhances the power of that color … even multiplies it.
“I’m definitely inspired by the unique qualities of the gems I encounter,” she said. “When I’m searching for stones at international gem fairs, I find one that grabs my attention. I get instant inspiration for the design. It’s like the stone tells me what it wants to be.”
In addition to having been discovered by high-end department stores, Tyler’s work has found its way onto the Oprah Winfrey show on the neck of collector Goldie Hawn. Tyler has also been commissioned to do custom work for Kate Hudson, Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson and author Caroline Myss. Her colorful monument of a home in the middle of the rice fields of Bali has landed her a certain celebrity mystique among passers-by and visitors and has even been featured on television’s “Extreme Homes.” Along with the likes of Tiffany and Bulgari, Asian publication Jewelrista named her among the “Top 10 Jewelers in America.”
Regardless of her rising status, Tyler possesses a strong spiritual draw to the beauty of color and above all seeks to pass the power of that beauty along to each individual who ends up wearing one of her designs.
“I believe that the brilliance of stones and the gleam of precious metals strikes something very deep and familiar in people,” she said. “This is why jewels make them feel so good.”
Shauna Farnell is a marketing consultant for Karats of Vail.