Alchemy: A Passion for Jewels
An exquisite look into the art of fine jewelry making, through the eyes of famed designer Temple St. Clair
A Southern girl with a nomadic spirit and a voracious appetite for history and culture, Temple St. Clair grew up spending summer vacations in Morocco and Bavaria, studied at an international boarding school in Switzerland, and went night diving in Honduras with the son of Jacques Cousteau. In her early twenties, St. Clair landed in Florence, where she completed a master's in Italian literature. In fact, she had no exposure to jewelry making until her visiting mother bought an ancient coin and asked St. Clair to commission a local goldsmith to make a piece of jewelry around it.
Armed with the coin and a sketch, St. Clair entered the ancient Palazzo dell'Orafo of Florentine goldsmiths, where she first discovered the centuries-old art of fine Italian jewelry making. Inspired by the distinctive craftsmanship, St. Clair continued to work with artisans to bring her designs to life. A new world soon began to open up to her—a world that engaged her multicultural education, vast experiences, and rich curiosity; a world that awarded her with a new identity as "an amateur anthropologist, a hopeless hunter and gatherer, a bit of a wanderer, and a self-made jewelry historian who loves to dream and draw."
With an artist's eye for detail and an unwavering esteem for the historic, St. Clair creates one-of-a-kind pieces that combine ancient influences with traditional craftsmanship and contemporary flair. In Alchemy, she takes readers on an idiosyncratic excursion into the intricate history and craft of jewelry making—from the ancient origins of talismans and charms, to the complicated pursuit of the perfect gemstone—all through the lens of her own fascinating experiences. The result is a mesmerizing and visually stunning book that will appeal to jewelry lovers, artistic dreamers, and anyone who suffers from wanderlust.