As of Summer 2018, American jewelry designer Temple St.Clair has set up shop in Florence in perhaps the most unusual and historic location for jewelry in the world - the Ponte Vecchio.
For Temple, opening a boutique on the famed bridge is a remarkable, yet somehow logical turn of events, as Florence was the birthplace of her brand and the catalyst to her creative life.
Temple’s relationship with the Renaissance city goes back more than thirty years to when she studied Italian literature and art history, and then began her long-time collaboration with the world’s finest master artists and craftsmen - including the Florentine Jewelers Guild. She is one of the few remaining jewelers in the world to still work at an artisanal level with the goldsmiths of Florence. Her boutique on the Ponte Vecchio is the beginning of yet another chapter in her Florentine story.
Temple has joined her knowledge of Italian artistry, craftsmanship, and Florentine history with the tradition and knowhow of a renowned Florentine jewelry family. Established in 1937, Vettori Gioielli is one of the few remaining high jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio that continues to work exclusively with Florentine artisans. The Vettori family’s elegant shop adjoins Temple’s; the family will operate the Temple St.Clair boutique on a day-to-day basis. Temple is regularly there when she’s in town working with her 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 Florentines, the iconic landmark has suffered an identity crisis with few of the more elegant high jewelry and antiquarian shops still remaining. Together with the Vettori family, 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.
With the help of local architect and artisan friends, Temple designed the space bringing in subtle shades of blue and celadon green that call attention to the iconic view over the Arno to the Tuscan hills — a view that inspired Leonardo Da Vinci’s landscapes. Temple’s ‘Girl with Falcon’ watercolor hangs on the wall over an antique writing desk. A pair of 19th century chairs is covered in Fortuny fabric. Florentine artisans specializing in marble, bronze, wood, paper and textiles have contributed their skills to refine every last detail, including crafting marble side tables using the scagliola technique.
Along the bridge, over the entryway to the shop, an awning with crenellated border reads Temple St. Clair - Firenze. To be the only American and to have her name appear on the Ponte Vecchio is a surreal dream come true.