JAR, Artist in Jewels


Joel A. Rosenthal in front of JAR's with JAR butterfly jewelry Some have called him the “Faberge of our time” or likened him to Verdura, Bulgari, or Tiffany. But the reclusive jeweler JAR is a unique artist in his own right, with a stunning eye for design, detail, and construction.

Joel A. Rosenthal grew up in the Bronx and spent his childhood soaking in the atmosphere of New York, visiting museums and gaining a love of art and history. After graduating from Harvard in 1966, he moved to Paris and met his lifelong partner, Pierre Jeannet. Sharing a passion for beautiful objects, they opened a specialty needlepoint shop, where Rosenthal painted canvasses, selected yarns, and experimented with the rich color palette for which he’d soon become known. In 1976, Rosenthal and Jeannet opened their jewelry boutique, JAR, on Place Vendome, side by side with the most storied jewelers in the world. From the start, he was confident that his designs and craftsmanship would be as sought after as those of his neighbors.

Figurals, flowers, historical motifs, and even everyday objects have all received the beautiful JAR treatment, showcasing vibrantly colored stones in finely constructed, three dimensional pave settings. JAR is also known for using non traditional materials, including blackened silver, aluminum, and a range of exotic gemstones. He is notoriously camera and media shy, preferring to let his creations take center stage, and the current 400 piece retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum is the first of his work in the US.

Many of us at Doyle & Doyle saw the Met’s “Jewels by JAR” exhibition over our holiday break and we all came back raving about the sparkling, colorful jewels on display. Perusing the collection, I could see that JAR is inspired by the same natural shapes as the jewelers who created our vintage pieces, so I paired up three Doyle & Doyle favorites with their JAR cousins.

JAR Rasperry Brooch with inspired by strawberry pins from Doyle & Doyle

L: Doyle & Doyle pair of 1950s strawberry pins in emerald and ruby, with diamond set stems and caps, in 18k gold and signed F. Staal & Co. France. R: JAR raspberry brooch in rubies and diamonds, set in bronze, silver, and gold.

Doyle & Doyle Estate Pink Sapphire and Diamond Butterfly Pin from Doyle & DoyleL: Doyle & Doyle estate pink sapphire and diamond butterfly pin, fashioned in blackened 18k gold. R: JAR butterfly brooch in ruby and pink sapphire, set in silver and gold.

JAR Inspired Dragonfly Brooch from Doyle & Doyle with JAR Dragonfly BroochL: Doyle & Doyle antique demantoid garnet and diamond dragonfly pin, in 14k gold, circa 1900. R: JAR dragonfly brooch in rock crystal and diamond, set in gold.

And I couldn’t help but share some of my other favorite pieces from the show, including a garden’s worth of pave pansies in diamonds and colored sapphires:

JAR Pansies Vintage Jewelry A pair of brooches incorporating antique elements, micromosaic on the left and a banded agate cameo on the right:

JAR Vintage Cameo & Micromosaic Jewelry An Indian Mughal inspired ruby and pearl ring, and incredible pendant earrings in diamond, emerald, and pearl:

JAR Ruby and Pearl Ring with Pearl and Emerald Drop Earrings Last, but certainly not least, a gumball sized bead necklace in a rainbow of pave gems:

jar pave ball necklace

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