PaperCity Magazine

March 2019- Houston

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44 C all Temple St. Clair a jewelry designer, and she says, "I am still learning to be a jewelry designer, but I am a storyteller." Both the jewelry industry and one of the world's most vaunted museums disagree with her — in their eyes she is a jewelry designer of the highest order. Last year, the curators of the Decorative Arts museum at the Louvre selected one of her pendant necklaces for the permanent collection. St. Clair is one of only three American artists, the only female artist, and the only living artist to receive such an honor. "Louis Comfort Tiffany and Alexander Calder [the other two Americans in the Decorative Arts museum at the Louvre] are two of my great heroes in the world of jewelry and decorative arts," she says. "It is an unimaginable honor to be considered anywhere near the aura of those greats." The road to the Louvre began in 2015 when she debuted her Mythical Creatures collection, the first chapter of The Golden Menagerie, at the Musée des Art Décoratifs at the Louvre. After the exhibition, the museum curators sought one of her pieces for the permanent collection. "They chose my Tolomeo pendant not only for its engineering and craftsmanship but because it embodies the universal storytelling that is so central to my work," she says. "The Tolomeo pendant represents the Ptolemaic hypothesis. Around AD 150, the astronomer Ptolemy theorized that the earth was the center of the universe. The pendant illustrates that theory in 18K gold and multicolor sapphires in rotating planetary orbits. Each ring is engraved in Latin, indicating the order of the planets as Ptolemy believed them to be. The spheres are also engraved with the astrological glyphs and symbols of the zodiac. Astronomy and astrology were equally respected during Ptolemy's era." It is St. Clair's unwavering quest for knowledge and spirituality and her storytelling prowess that make her work so fascinating. She grew up in Virginia. "I climbed trees, combed beaches, and observed wild creatures for hours, imagining myself to be part of a native tribe that believed there were spirits in the rocks and trees," she says. "I collected shells and beads that I would string together to wear around my neck, wrists, and ankles. That, combined with being brought up in a family that loved art, architecture, history and travel, set a creative foundation for me." After receiving a Bachelor's in Italian Studies and a Master's in Italian Renaissance Literature, St. Clair was living in Florence where she set upon finding a craftsman to set an ancient coin into a necklace. Thus began her collaboration with the centuries-old Florentine goldsmiths' guild. "As a young American woman, it was difficult to break into the world of the Florentine artisans even though I spoke their language. But once accepted, they've become family," St. Clair says. That same year, Barneys New York took notice of her jewelry, TEMPLE of HER ANNE LEE PHILLIPS TAKES A LOOK AT A NATURAL STORYTELLER, JEWELRY DESIGNER TEMPLE ST. CLAIR. Temple St. Clair Dynasty fringe necklace, at Deutsch Houston Temple St. Clair wearing the rock crystal amulet, one of the first jewels she designed.

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