Karla Aguirre-Jones has always loved exploring and visiting different cultures. Working in the telecommunications industry for 10 years, she traveled to numerous countries.
Nearly a decade ago, she began to question her life’s purpose. Her career provided a strong financial footing, “but it was not making me happy,” she recalls.
She booked a flight to Peru for a month-long excursion where she felt a call to start something different. On all her journeys she routinely bought items handmade by local artists, and that sparked an idea to open Colors of Etnika in 2012 in Tulsa.
The Tulsa Arts District boutique features jewelry and accessories sourced from those artisans she has encountered on her travels — a mix representing 13 different countries as well as local makers. All items are purchased through fair-trade practices, she adds.
Two to three years after opening the shop, Aguirre-Jones says she and the store underwent some significant changes.
She began taking jewelry classes at nearby ahha. “I found my happiness at the bench,” she says. The Guatemala-born Aguirre-Jones now metalsmiths and designs bold and modern pieces.
“It’s completely intuitive,” she says. She dreams of pieces, draws designs, and lets the stones and customer inspire her creations.
Aguirre-Jones, who has called Tulsa home for 20 years, also works with leather to create handbags, bracelets and cuffs, as well as strings of freshwater pearls. She has learned to gold plate and works with customers to create one-of-a-kind pieces.