By  on May 11, 2011

When Temple St. Clair Carr started designing jewelry in 1986, all it took was an introduction to the Pressmans, the original owners of Barneys New York and, boom, you were in business. St. Clair Carr’s collection, called Temple St. Clair, of ornate, Byzantine 18-karat gold pieces decked with big cabochons, was the first fine jewelry to be sold at the store, located on 17th Street at the time. “They would call me — this was when cell phones were bricklike things — every time something sold,” she says. “It was all very cutting edge and the Pressmans were at the top of their game. It was a really fun time that I fell into. ”

To say St. Clair Carr fell into the business is an understatement. She was then a twentysomething from Virginia studying Italian Renaissance literature in Florence, with the cash to work with Italian goldsmiths on one-off pieces for family and friends. After a year or so, her pieces landed in Barneys, and she started splitting her time between Italy and New York, where she targeted the press, Condé Nast in particular.

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