Temple St. Clair
Temple St. Clair (Est. 1986) On her official website, Temple St. Clair, who has been described as, the ‘epitome of fine jewelry and artistic design,’ writes, “I fell into the jewelry world completely by chance.”
“I could have been a sculptor or a painter,” she told Architectural Digest in 2017. Early on, while living in Florence, Italy, she was introduced to master goldsmiths and artisans who continue to work with her today. “I see myself very much as a storyteller, but my materials happen to be precious ones—gold and gemstones and very fine Italian craftwork.”
St. Clair was a student in Florence, Italy, when her mother came to visit from their hometown of Roanoke, Virginia and asked to have an ancient coin set in a necklace. St. Clair, set out on a mission to find the perfect craftsman for the job by exploring the Florentine streets. She tracked down a goldsmith who was her first introduction into the jewelry world.
Before long, she was selling pieces to acquaintances and made her mark in 1986, after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Italian Studies and a Master’s in Italian Renaissance Literature. St. Clair was living in Florence when her quest to find a talented craftsman led to a collaboration with the centuries-old Florentine goldsmiths’ guild whose members are among the world’s finest goldsmiths.
“As a young American woman, it was difficult to break into the world of the Florentine artisans even though I spoke their language,” she’s said, “but once accepted, they’ve become family.” It was also in 1986 that Barney’s New York took notice of her jewelry: She became the first fine jeweler to be represented and carried in the famous New York department store.
In 2011, St. Clair received the Hall of Fame Award for design by the Accessories Council.
That St. Clair has been working with the same goldsmiths in Florence for over 30 years is remarkable in itself because, as she laments, “they are a dying breed.”
Even as The New York Times chronicled the story of “The Last Jeweler on the Ponte Vicchio,” St. Clair doubled down on Florence and opened her first boutique in the city where it began for her. Consequently, she became the first American jeweler to open a branded shop there.
Temple’s Fine Jewelry collection is recognized for iconic rock crystal amulets, triple granulation and archer’s granule. All are signature brand elements and a nod to the designer’s classical foundations.
In her High Jewelry collection, St. Clair celebrates a connoisseur level of gemstones in one-of-a-kind pieces fashioned from her ongoing quest to find the rarest stones in the world. These include the richly patterned Lightening Ridge Australian Black Opal, electric blue Brazilian Paraiba Tourmaline, fiery African Tsavorite, and St. Clair’s iconic Royal Blue Moonstone.
St. Clair’s Haute Couture Jewelry collection represents artistry at its most collectible. Uncompromising in her choice of materials and execution, St. Clair explores themes that are meaningful to her through a lens of whimsy and discovery.
St. Clair’s repertoire includes the iconic amulet, bracelets, chains, earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings, and leather jewelry cases. Her collections are identified as The Iconic Amulet, Angels, Royal Blue Moonstone, Tree of Life, Lion Cub, Celestial, Zodiac, Classic Gold, Classic Trio, Silk Road, Golden Menagerie, and Earthly Delights
St. Clair’s critically acclaimed nine-piece collection of Haute Couture, Mythical Creatures from the Golden Menagerie, made its début at the Louvre Museum in Paris in January 2015. The second installment of books that comprise her Golden Menagerie trilogy, Wings of Desire, was presented at the Salon: Art + Design at New York’s Park Avenue Armory in November 2015. The final chapter, The Big Game, was exhibited in December 2016 at the prestigious DeLorenzo Gallery in New York City.
Temple St. Clair’s jewels are treasured by devoted collectors. Her collections are sold throughout North America, Europe and Japan.
In one notable example of her creations, she used Burmese Star Sapphires for a piece in the Golden Menagerie collection, which she obtained from a small mining family in Burma and run by the family’s matriarch.
Some of the gems she uses have been passed down from one generation to another. “It’s like you’re dealing with Indiana Jones. Things like this aren’t coming out of the ground anymore,” she says.
St. Clair’s pieces have prices to match. Of her different lines, her fine jewelry collection ranges from $850 to $25,000, her high jewelry collection is priced from $25,000 to $650,000, and haute couture prices top out at $75,000 to $850,000.
Exceptional examples of St. Clair’s creations include an 18K Vine Amulet on 18K Classic Oval Chain, 18K Tolomeo Pendant on 18K Arno Chain, 18K Zodiac Pendants on 18K Extra Small Oval Chain, 18K Lunar Phases Amulet, 18K Classic Amulet on 18K Leather Cord, 18K Classic Color Rings, 18K Serpent Ring, 18K Bella Bangle, and an 18K Vine Ring.
Temple St. Clair has also earned a reputation as a philanthropist. Portions of her sales have found their way to Lion Guardians, a non-profit organization in Kenya whose work is based on acquiring a deep understanding of the traditional Maasai culture and encouraging behavioral changes within that culture to save lions instead of killing them.
Temple St. Clair has been a proud supporter of the performing arts for close to 30 years. She partnered with the New York City Ballet for the 2015-16 season. St. Clair also supports various local and national charities including Services and Food for the Homeless (SAFH) that has provided food and assistance to the homeless for more than 20 years. To aid their fundraising efforts, Temple St. Clair created a special edition pendant in yellow and white gold. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each sale goes to SAFH.
St. Clair also supports the International Marine Mammal Project, an organization that has led the fight to protect dolphins, whales, and the ocean environment and has been an advocate for Seaweb’s Too Precious to Wear campaign; an effort to raise awareness about the threats facing corals and reefs and gain greater protection for precious corals worldwide.
Jewelers of America’s 14th annual GEM Awards cast a spotlight on Temple St. Clair when she received the 2016 GEM Award for Jewelry Design, the industry’s most prestigious award. St. Clair’s design achievements in 2015 included the launch of her Wings of Desire collection and the debut of Mythical Creatures at Les Art Décoratifs at The Louvre.
From her signature rock crystal amulets and San Raphael angels to her one-of-a-kind cocktail rings, Temple St. Clair is known for modern classic jewelry style and an impeccable use of fine colored gemstones and distinctive gold work. The philosophy of the company is to offer the highest quality jewelry and help collectors both understand and appreciate the exquisite colored gemstones and gold craftsmanship for which the artist is known. Temple’s followers share her passion for art, culture and history.