LOS ANGELES — Temple St. Clair’s baubles now have a place to call home.
The Tiffany & Co.-backed jewelry firm opened its first stand-alone boutique at the upscale South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa, Calif., Thursday.
“I wanted to create an environment in the way I like to show jewelry,” said designer Temple St. Clair Carr, the Roanoke, Va., native who is now based in Manhattan.
Situated near Chanel and Tiffany, the 700-square-foot shop is a temple of style. Together with architect Randall Ridless, who also worked on Burberry’s store concept, Carr wanted to create “a comfortable oasis in the middle of a shopping center,” she said.
The dark blue space features huge bronze double doors, which the jeweler designed with vine motifs and doorknobs carved from chunks of rock crystal. She also personally designed the lavish corner chandelier, made from stones like rock crystal and tanzanite. The chandelier, Carr said, has already received so much attention that she is considering taking orders for it. A shaded blue Tibetan rug covers the floor.
The stars of the store — the gems — lie in glass display cases. Some are hidden away in blue lacquered drawers or displayed on black coils against a dark orange ultrasuede background. Classic pieces include cabochon and faceted stones, often in varying shades of blue. An upscale collection features royal blue moonstones, mined in north India, richly set in gold.
“They are still very fashionable, but they are made in the fine jewelry tradition,” she said. “The quality of materials and craftsmanship is extremely high.”
At the store, Carr is also about to debut an engagement ring collection featuring GIA-certified diamonds, but also incorporating unconventional stones such as aquamarine and pink topaz.
“I’m inspired by colors and stones because I’m always traveling and buying stones, and when I find one I love I develop an entire collection around it,” she said.
Prices range from $500 for small gold earrings to $38,000 for a stone-studded bracelet [which never made it to the new boutique, having been snapped up by a customer en route]. Paul Engler, the company’s chief operating officer and Carr’s husband, declined to disclose first-year sales projections for the Costa Mesa store.
This is the first of Carr’s anticipated retail ventures. As reported, Tiffany took a stake in Temple St. Clair earlier this year as a way to diversify its retail operations. In November, St. Clair is expected to open a 1,400-square-foot boutique at The Mall of Short Hills in New Jersey.