Temple St. Clair Carr has become one of the most popular jewelry designers in the world. Featured in recent issues of Bazaar, Vogue, and Town & Country, her jewelry, under the name of Temple St. Clair, is selling like hotcakes. It can be found here in the Bay Area at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco, Pink Tangerine in Menlo Park, and Kerns in Burlingame. When Temple St. Clair Carr was in town recently for an event celebrating her latest collection, I had the opportunity to interview her and view her latest collection up close. Here is a transcript from our meeting.
Sarah Granger: Your web site tells the story of how you began designing jewelry, but for our readers, I was hoping you would describe it in your own words.
Temple St. Clair Carr: I fell into the jewelry world. I never intended it as a career. It came out of a lifestyle choice while I was pursuing a Masters in Italian Renaissance Literature. I was studying and seeking jewelry with more soul and feeling to it, so I had a few things made and it became a means to keep me traveling. Twenty years later, I know the world of gold and stones much better and my things are often referred to as modern classics. I've become known for use of 18k yellow gold and rare stones like African green tourmaline. I don't mass produce, and there's no one else out there using the color of gems I do.
SG: What is your motivation behind the current collection?
TSCC: The fall collection is celestial, astrologically inspired. I always liked astrological symbols and constellations and they have never been elegantly portrayed in jewelry. The Tolomeo [CHECK/SP?] pendant was inspired by Earth as the center of the universe. I believe jewelry should have a story to it, cultural roots. That fascinates me. Other signature pieces from the collection include the rock crystal amulet.
SG: What will be in your spring collection and when does that come out?
TSCC: Spring will come out in stores in February. It will have a lot of multicolored stones and butterflies.
SG: Do you think there's a particular type of Bay Area clientele that is drawn to your jewelry?
TSCC: What I've always found over the years with San Francisco is there's a real appreciation for creativity outside the box. People here appreciate modern classics with a twist. The San Francisco customer is a little more adventurous and they tend to call themselves 'creative'. There's a lot of love for unusual stones like black opals.
SG: What is sold in the boutique stores like in Burlingame and Menlo Park?
TSCC: It's a smaller collection of mostly rock crystal amulets and angels. A lot of [my customers] are women buying for themselves. With Cartier or Tiffany it's more of gifts.
SG: Where do you see jewelry trends going over the next few years?
TSCC: I'm fortunate that a lot of editors visit me early on. Color has been strong in terms of trends. For a while, it was white, minimalist and ethnic... what I try to instill is the notion that [jewelry] is not an accessory. These are timeless pieces.
SG: Do you have a particular philosophy for what kind of jewelry and how much a woman should wear, or how she should select pieces for her collection?
TSCC: My clientele is better educated in jewelry than ever before. Really fine quality is what draws people to you.
SG: Do you think that's why Saks was interested in your work?
TSCC: Saks is refining their jewelry department. They have a very strong, seasoned team of buyers looking to work with a limited number of designers to really develop them. My collection is one of the pillars of their department.
SG: Thank you very much for your time. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in the Bay Area.
Photo, top left, Temple St. Clair Carr by Drew Altizer Photography.