Karats hosts Bali-based jewelry artist Carolyn Tyler through New Year’s Day | VailDaily.com

Karats hosts Bali-based jewelry artist Carolyn Tyler through New Year’s Day

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VAIL — It's no wonder the jewelry creations of renowned designer Carolyn Tyler are perfect for wearing on the world's most celebrated occasion — New Year's Eve — with its emphasis on romance, indulgence and sparkle.

"I believe that things that glitter and gleam strike a deep and familiar reverence in people," Tyler said. "Gold, gems and jewels reflect light — this is why wearing them feels so good."

A 'special' present

Tyler is showcasing her latest creations today through Sunday at Karats, a gallery in Vail Village. She said one of her most celebrated works is a necklace commissioned by actor Kurt Russell for actress Goldie Hawn in 1999.

"A girlfriend wore my jewels to a party in Aspen, and Goldie gushed over them," Tyler said. "Kurt pulled my friend aside and asked if a signature piece could be made for Goldie with an Indian-Asian flavor as a gift for the new millennium."

It was the perfect commission for Tyler, who has based her operations in Bali, Indonesia, since 1993. The resulting design is a 22-karat gold, bib-style choker of white pearls and moonstones linked together and ending in a long point. Tyler made the sides of the necklace detachable, so the triangular front could double as an Indian-inspired "handlet" that attaches to a pearl ring.

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"Goldie was thrilled and became a collector. I was happy to see her wearing it on her hand when she accepted a lifetime achievement award," Tyler said. "I love it when clients tell me how many compliments they get. Knowing they are getting a positive reward from wearing my designs is very satisfying."

'Ancient Treasures'

For her personal appearance at Karats, Tyler is bringing a collar necklace she calls "Ancient Treasures," which took four months to complete.

"It's one of my favorite collaborations with my craftsmen. I consider it a masterpiece," she said. "It's unique in that it contains fragments of 100 million-year-old fossilized ammonite shell displaying rainbow colors and resembling fine opal. The material comes from Canada, where the native people consider it sacred and use it in ceremony. I incorporated interesting shapes with multi-colored gemstones, diamonds and black pearls."

The real treasure in Tyler's work, she said, is the Balinese handcraftsmanship, which is at risk of extinction because many master goldsmiths' children are eschewing this age-old tradition in favor of tourist-related careers.

"I am petitioning the Indonesian Minister of Culture to create a trade school in Bali to keep this unique art alive," Tyler said. "There's no other country on earth with artisans this talented. Discerning buyers understand the value in the workmanship, so there will always be a market."

Tyler has the distinction of being the first artist Karats owner Dan Telleen chose to represent alongside his own bespoke designs in his working studio and gallery.

"Carolyn travels the world to find unique materials, and her background in archeology inspires her homage to ancient cultures and traditional techniques," Telleen said. "Carolyn's jewelry is a way to appreciate the grandeur of the past with a glamorous modern twist. Meet Carolyn at Karats and find the perfect ornament for the New Year."

If you go …

What: Jewelry designer Carolyn Tyler.

When: Thursday, Dec. 29, through New Year’s Day; gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Karats Vail, 122 E. Meadow Drive, Vail Village.

Cost: Admission is free; jewelry available for purchase.

More information: Visit http://www.karatsvail.com.