American jewelry designer Temple St. Clair set up shop in Florence on the famous and historic center for jewelry in the world, the Ponte Vecchio.
For Temple, opening a boutique in Florence is a remarkable, yet somehow logical turn of events for her, as Florence was the birthplace of her brand and the catalyst to her creative soul.
Temple’s relationship with the Renaissance city goes back more than thirty years where she began her long-time partnerships with the world’s ﬁnest master artists and craftsmen – including the Florentine Jewelers Guild. She is one of the last remaining jewelers in the world to still work with the disappearing goldsmiths and artisans of Florence. Her boutique on the Ponte Vecchio is the beginning of yet another chapter in her Florentine story.
This summer, Temple has meshed her knowledge of Italian artistry and craftsmanship with the tradition and knowhow of the Vettori family, a renowned Florentine jewelry family working on the bridge since 1937. The Vettori family owns one of the few remaining high jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio continuing to work exclusively with Florentine artisans.
Temple has traversed the Ponte Vecchio for decades en route to work with her artigiani in their Florentine workshops, witnessing the bridge evolve and change. Though her eyes, and according to many Florentine’s, the iconic landmark is suffering an identity crisis with few of the most elegant high jewelry and antiquarian shops still remaining. Temple is determined to bring back its former grace, while exhibiting her own creations that are celebrated and collected by independent women around the world.
The boutique was designed by Temple herself, along with the help of Italian architects, Daniele Desli and Elisabeth Piccione, and Florentine artisan friends — among Temple’s best kept secrets.
Designed to fuse the old with the new, the 250-square-foot boutique features an open bright and airy interior space boasting subtle shades of blue and celedon green that call attention to the iconic view over the Arno to the Tuscan hills — a view that inspired Leonardo Da Vinci’s landscapes. The window vitrines act as mini stages for Temple to display her jewelry with background ‘sets’ of her artwork. Temple’s ‘Girl with Falcon’ watercolor hangs within the shop, along with additional watercolor paintings from Temple decorating the boutique.
Florentine artisans specializing in marble, bronze, wood, paper and textiles will be employed to reﬁne every last component, including crafting marble side tables using the scagliola technique. Through the glass front door one will be able to peer through to the view of the cityscape along the river to the cypress’d hills beyond. An elegant crystal showcase will sit on a long table next to an antique desk and 19th century chairs covered in Fortuny fabric – all found on a treasure hunt at Riccardo Barthel in the Oltrarno part of town. Her desire is to reconnect the shop to the city and its setting. Not to mention, the shop sits under the Vasari corridor, a secret passageway designed for the Medici to move between their palaces, the Ufﬁzi and the Pitti.
The Ponte Vecchio shop is a dear project for Temple as she worked on every detail personally down to the door handles. One of the most delightful details for Temple is the ‘Temple St. Clair Firenze’ awning with crenellated border will hang above the entrance. To have her name appear on the Ponte Vecchio is a surreal dream come true.
One of the most delightful touches for Temple is the ‘Temple St. Clair Firenze’ awning above the entranceway. The heavy canvas awning with a crenellated border features ‘Temple St. Clair Firenze’ and the TSC Monogram in Temple’s signature dark blue. To have her name appear on the Ponte Vecchio is a surreal dream come true.
The Ponte Vecchio boutique is a dear project for Temple, as she has worked on every minute detail down to the storefront’s signature triple granulation door handles. This all relates back to Temple’s desire is to reconnect the boutique to the city and its setting.
Temple has a long personal and professional history with Florence. She arrived in Florence years ago as a young student to study the language, literature, history and art history of the city. With a passion for knowledge and exploration, she discovered the world of the Florentine goldsmiths while on an errand for her mother. That encounter opened a vibrant world and allowed Temple to ﬁnd and develop her creative vision through jewelry design. For over 30 years, Temple has used gold, gemstones and the best artisanal hands in the world to explore and retell our great universal stories. It all started in and because of her relationship with Florence. To open a charming atelier on the Ponte Vecchio brings her full circle – like coming home.
The view from Leonardo’s window will be transmitted live into the new Temple St. Clair Studio Shop, also recently opened in the Saks Fifth Avenue New York ﬂagship, allowing her consumers to have global insight into her creative process and artistic expression.