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Alchemy, by Temple St. Clair

Alchemy A Passion For Jewels By Temple St. Clair

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Written by the designer and published by Harper Collins in 2008, Alchemy provides an intimate anecdotal story of Temple's early creative development from southern childhood to "would be" marine biologist, student of all things Italian to raconteuse in jewels.

New York Times Book Review:
"In the two decades of this country's neo-Gilded Age, a well-traveled 'Southern Girl' and Smithie named Temple St. Clair began creating shiny baubles that caught the fancy of Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Beyonce Knowles and Heidi Klum. In Alchemy: A Passion for Jewels, Ms. St. Clair presents a quirkily luxurious scrapbook of the experiences that led her to jewelry design, beginning in her junior year abroad in Italy, when she hunted down a Florentine artisan to help her make a necklace for her mother.

Inspired by Greek and Indian mythology, by ancient Etruscan goldwork and Egyptian frescoes, by Renaissance paintings of Medicis in jeweled gowns and by the motifs and colors of Louis Comfort Tiffany, she makes contemporary pieces that exhale the incense-aura of history.

Ms. St. Clair likes to work 18-carat gold into simple chains and settings that frame stones in the liquid shades -- blues, greens and clarets -- that you might see in a Byzantine mosaic.

She also draws ideas from more recent sources, like the paintings of Cy Twombly and the dances of Merce Cunningham, whose modern fluidity she tries to translate to her own compositions.

'In the mainstream of Western culture, we've lost sight of the significance of jewelry,' Ms. St. Clair writes. To her, a true jewel should be 'a miniature history lesson in itself.'

Whether her customers seek such instruction, they seem to appreciate the results of their jeweler's studiousness: wearable art that's as timeless as Tiffany, and a little more affordable." (New York Times)