Artists hold show at Karats in Vail |

Artists hold show at Karats in Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Necklace 01 TS 09-03-08

VAIL, Colorado ” Elizabeth Stiber was a teenager when she discovered she’s part native American. Even though it is just a small percentage of her heritage ” she thinks about 1/16 ” knowing she had Native American blood prompted the artist to take an interest in beading and making dream catchers.

Stiber created her first piece of jewelry from beads she bought in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where she vacationed with her family.

It featured a sterling silver fish charm (“I’m a Pisces,” Stiber explained) paired with earth-tone colored beads.

Today, Stiber, 34, makes a living selling her jewelry in the Vail Valley. She holds her first jewelry show this weekend at Karats gallery in Vail Village.

When she was in her 20s, Stiber began attending bead shows while she was majoring in environmental studies at Baylor University in Texas.

“I have always been fascinated by beads and gemstones because they come from the Earth, and that means a lot to me,” she said.

Originally from Texas, she moved about four years ago to Vail, where her jewelry-making hobby has blossomed into a career.

Stiber’s work appears in the Golden Bear’s spring catalogue. A number of boutiques also sell her jewelry, including Blitz in Vail and Asian Village in Edwards.

Visitors to Stiber’s show this weekend at Karats will get a taste of her “statement pieces.”

Bold and colorful, a statement piece tempts the wearer to plan her whole outfit around the jewelry, Stiber said.

One of the necklaces strings together fossilized shells, red jasper baubles and jade carved into a tribal design. Stiber found the necklace’s two crinoid stem fossils on her family’s Texas ranch.

Another necklace features discs of ancient Roman glass that were excavated in Afghanistan.

Prices of the jewelry will range from $300 to $1,600.

Stiber will join two artists who have been displaying their work at Karats for years.

Denver artist Sharon Schaffner returns to the gallery with a set of silver pins and pendants inspired by Northwest coast Indian hunting masks. Her work is known for incorporating faces. The faces became her signature 15 years ago, when inspiration struck as she toured the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, Canada.

Colorado Springs goldsmith Elizabeth McDevitt returns with several new pieces, including a necklace with a gold lizard on a leather chord. She uses a relief hammering technique called chasing and repousse to make her jewelry. Each piece takes 10 to 60 hours to create.

For Stiber, interacting with other artists will be a highlight of the show.

“I’m just hoping to get some exposure and be around other artists and be able to share my passion with anyone who’s interested,” Stiber said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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