Temple St. Clair's Studio.

Creative Mind: Temple St. Clair

Fusing a Florentine iconography with her distinctive artistic vision, Temple St. Clair is flexing her creative spirit with the art of high jewelry


The Renaissance city of Florence is at the heart of all that Temple St. Clair does. Deeply passionate about traditional craftsmanship and materials, Temple St. Clair is one of the last remaining jewelers to work directly with the master artisans of the centuries-old Florentine goldsmiths’ guild. Founding her namesake company in 1986, St. Clair’s bold, eclectic, and elegant jewelry features a masterful mix of 18k yellow gold with colored precious gemstones. “My approach is that of an impassioned researcher and explorer,” St. Clair says from her light-filled atelier in SoHo, New York, which is filled with art history tomes, marble and leather-bound notebooks, and watercolor sketches. “The present and future depend on the past, and so do I.”

Fusing a Florentine iconography with her distinctive artistic vision, her signature pieces range from chunky gold bracelets to polished rock crystal amulets. “There is a combination of desire and feeling for an independent, personal style that I encourage and champion in my collectors,” she says. Most recently, St. Clair has been flexing her creativity with the art of high jewelry, creating extraordinary one-of-a-kind jewels that take years to complete. “It is the most liberating, impassioned, and painstaking part of my work; I love it,” St. Clair. “For me, it is a creative curation of remarkable rare gemstones; a meditation on history, myth, personal experience, passions, and the desire to know more.”

Each high-jewelry creation begins with an idea, before St. Clair embarks on a process of research and sketches in watercolor and pencil. Next comes the selection of the gemstones. “The process depends on the complexities of sourcing the exact gems that I want, the placement of those gems, the creation of details, along with problem-solving of construction and setting,” St. Clair explains. “Haute couture has an additional rich layer of storytelling that always guides the process. These pieces can take one to three years to complete.”


18K Octopus Bracelet. Photo: COURTESY OF TEMPLE ST. CLAIR

Favorite Jewel: “My Tolomeo ring set with a rare Australian Black Opal surrounded by multi-color orbits of Paraiba tourmaline, tsavorite, and sapphires. One of my favorite haute couture pieces is an articulated octopus bracelet. It’s based on the idea that octopuses love to collect beautiful objects. Octopuses can consciously change coloration according to a situation or emotion.  I’m completing a series of 3 individual octopuses, each expressing itself in a unique range of gemmy hues.” 

Artistic Spirit: St. Clair regularly collaborates with creatives such as Nancy Lorenz, who made opulent boxes for the jeweler’s Mythical Creatures from the Golden Menagerie series, buzzworthy emerging photographers Camila Falquez and Sharif Hamza, or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers, who were featured in one of St. Clair’s campaigns. “Merging disparate art forms, visions, and storytelling is an act of intimacy that creates a powerful result and is incredibly satisfying.”



Her Athena Owl ring in 18K gold. Photo: COURTESY OF TEMPLE ST. CLAIR

“My approach is that of an impassioned researcher and explorer”

temple st. clair

Black Opal Halo earrings in 18K gold by Temple St. Clair. Photo: COURTESY OF TEMPLE ST. CLAIR

Up Next: Temple St. Clair is opening the first New York boutique in New York’s Meatpacking district this spring. “The Temple St. Clair mission is informed by a desire to bring profound beauty, quality, meaning, and connectivity to the world—a muse for living life beautifully,” St. Clair says. “We hope to provide an intriguing, inspirational experience.”

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: Temple St. Clair's Studio.


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