Jewelry show explores color |

Jewelry show explores color

Daily staff report
Fishnet necklace, by jewelry artist Carolyn Tyler.
Special to the Weekly |

If you go ...

What: A special exhibition of Carolyn Tyler’s jewelry collection.

When: Friday through Sunday.

Where: Karats of Vail, next to La Tour in Vail Village.

More information: Call 970-476-4760 or visit

VAIL — Artist Carolyn Tyler believes that human beings are drawn to jewels the same way they are attracted to anything else that reflects light. At one time she stumbled across an article by “Brave New World” author Aldous Huxley that helped her understand the phenomenon.

“Why have people assigned such value to bits of colored rock that just sparkle and glow? Why are people fighting wars and lying and stealing to acquire these bits of colored rock? He ended up saying that the reason people universally respond to gems or similar things like stained glass or twinkle lights, a sunrise, a sunset … is that things that reflect and refract light remind us of our spiritual home — of God, the force … whatever you want to call it,” Tyler said. “Gems and jewelry speak to us on a basic spiritual level.”

Tyler, who resides in Bali in a colorful, multi-level home that has been featured on international television, is the first outside artist whose work Karats of Vail owner Dan Telleen wanted to display in his museum-like gallery. Tyler collects the vibrant gems for her pieces from all over the world. In addition to small galleries across the world, her jewelry collections can be found at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. But it is each individual gem, stone or artifact that inspires the California native’s own inner light and vision, regardless of whether it is an amethyst, diamond, a sparkling piece of Venetian glass, green turquoise or rare red coral.

Tyler’s fascination with color plays a key role in her selection of artifacts for each jewelry piece, which are typically encased in 22-karat gold and range from simple stud earrings to elaborate necklaces resembling something Cleopatra would wear. The designs are playful and whimsical, resembling snowflakes, serpents and sea life, but always containing a stunning element of color.

“When I was in advertising 20 years ago, I studied the effects of color on the psyche and mood, mostly to figure out what kinds of packaging compelled people to purchase one brand over another,” she said. “It’s really true that different hues have different emotional effects on us.”

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For instance, Tyler says the color blue is connected to creativity and has “a restful, contemplative effect” while reds and oranges are “energizing.”

Of stones that come in multiple colors, the ammolite is a standout for Tyler. Ammolites originate from the shells of ammonites — snail-like creatures that occupied North America more than 100 million years ago. Opals are also at the top of Tyler’s list of most cherished stones. Her assortment of opal necklaces and pendants are made from stones discovered in Ethiopia.

In addition to the rainbow of pieces featuring gemstones, coral, rare glass and stones, Tyler has released a solid gold collection of rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants and cufflinks featuring so much intricate detail that each piece holds a fresh discovery upon subsequent examination.

“I make what tickles my fancy and hope someone else falls in love with it enough to take it home with them,” Tyler said. “I never think about what’s going to be marketable or trendy. I want people to feel they have something really unique that they will treasure for a lifetime and pass down to their loves ones.”

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