Last month, we had the opportunity to attend the latest Temple of the Sun event to launch its new collection, Lucia. We gladly talked with Darren Gallant during the event, one of the co-founders, and he shared with us his love and commitment to the brand's creative side and the more conscious one. We couldn't miss the chance to share the beautiful story behind Temple of the Sun – so, here is what Darren told us after the launch.
Keep reading to discover all about one of our new favourite Australian jewellery brands.
Temple of the Sun first launched in late 2014. Yonna was already working as a ceramicist and silversmith, creating contemporary pieces that were sold throughout local galleries around Byron Bay… but she longed to create jewellery that spoke more faithfully to the that worn by her mother when she was a child growing up in Istanbul – the original source of her inspiration. Gold jewellery was ubiquitous; not only worn by the glamorous women of Istanbul’s high society, but it was also part of the everyday of ritual, and of honouring of faith, tradition, and superstition. Yonna wanted to channel that inspiration into beautiful jewellery that spoke to this inspiration, jewellery that could and would be worn every day .
I met Yonna’s inspiration with my own love of history and archaeology and experience in both business and product sourcing/development, and through a shared vision, Temple of the Sun was realised. Temple speaks to all that we love: antiquities, archaeology, design, story, and symbolism. We love the narrative that emerges from ancient craft – a finger print in a 3000 year old ceramic vase, the lyrical beauty of ancient stone craft worn by time, and the timeless allure of ancient gold jewellery, soft, golden warm, and shining like the sun. An object of devotion? A language of love? An honouring of strength and courage? An amulet of protection? The story of Temple speaks to this inspiration.
Perhaps there was more of an opening than a breaking point. Our children were well established in school and there was a yearning to expand back into the world creatively. We really felt this and made a crystal-clear conscious decision to co-create something special that we could be proud of. Our business plan was simple and effective, if not slightly naive; create something beautiful that we genuinely believe in and love, and people will resonate with that passion and we would inevitably find our customer – or more accurately, they would find us. And they did!... but perhaps it took longer than we thought.
Starting a business from scratch of course is both exciting and incredibly challenging. And yes, there are sacrifices. There’s a sense that you never really stop working… Even as we write this, we are on a beach in Greece. I think this is particularly true when you are not only partners in business but also in life, love, and parenting. So, perhaps its accurate to say we sacrificed a little bit of everything in getting Temple to the place it is now, and we have to continually and consciously work towards restoring and maintaining a healthy balance. We encourage our Temple team to do the same.
I guess to answer that honestly, at the core of any brand is its DNA, the seed from which it all began and then it all resonates outwardly from that. So, it’s a combination of all the things. The original inspiration, our personalities, how we express in the world, how we care, the choices we have made, and, of course, our staff. We have been fortunate to have had a wonderful collection of humans working alongside us over the years and it’s a contribution that we neither underestimate nor forget. And beyond that, I guess that it’s for customers themselves to discover within any brand that which resonates most strongly with them.
We are guided in business as in life by our inner moral compass. We have always considered Temple an ethical brand first and foremost and working towards a sustainable business model is an evitable step along that path. So, we are essentially ethical and considered in our approach and working towards sustainability in our business operations/structure. Why? Because making money is easy if that is all that motivates you… But to live well speaks to so much more. It’s a personal choice how you want to express in the world, and this is ours.
In one word… Travel. Returning to source inspiration is essential to my creative process, which has made these past two years that much harder. We spend a ridiculous amount of time exploring museums, galleries, ancient sites, and winding alleyways for inspiration. We are in Greece now doing just that and will soon be in Istanbul. The Athens Archaeological Museum and the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul are two favourites, but there are many places we seek inspiration.
Lucia is our first fine jewellery collection, and because of this, we wanted it to be a true representation of all that is Temple of the Sun – this speaks to design and sustainability. Each piece is designed by Yonna, crafted by hand in our Byron Bay studio, and proudly certified Australian Made.
Introducing fine jewellery crafted in-house allows us to evolve and innovate our promise to integrity.
As a brand and business with integrity, we have carefully cultivated a supply chain that reflects our commitment to quality, transparency, and responsibility. Our gold is recycled and ethically sourced, gemstones certified by the responsible jewellery council for environmental and social responsibility, and we use conflict-free diamonds certified by the Kimberly Process. We are also thrilled to support local suppliers with our gold, blue sapphires, and opals from Australia.
Much like our vermeil offering, the styles reflect our modern ancient aesthetic, taking inspiration from antiquities, deities, and ancient archetypal symbology while our RJC-certified gemstones bring their own unique properties to each piece. All styles carry meaning through our use of symbols, motifs, and gemstones, which become modern day talismans to guide our wearer throughout their journey.
Creating in solid gold was always a goal for Temple but now, having reached that goal, we realise that this is just the beginning all over again! From one mountain peak you see another. We feel full of possibility and potential, we and have many plans for our future.
We have our next 18K gold vermeil and 925 ethical sterling silver collection launching in Spring and we’re working towards another goal in our sustainability journey. Lots on the horizon for Temple… Watch this space!
templeofthesun.com.au and in our beautiful Byron Bay boutique at 3 Ti-Tree place.
Thanks to Darren for speaking with us about Temple of the Sun!
If you liked this article, you might like our feature about the five Australian jewellery brands we’re currently in love with!
Hero image by Temple of the Sun Jewellery