Joel Arthur Rosenthal stands as an indisputable contender for the title of the world's greatest jeweller. Renowned for his extraordinary creations, he has firmly established himself among the upper echelons of the industry, boasting a reputation for unparalleled craftsmanship and opulence. With the assistance of select artisan workshops in Geneva and France, Rosenthal meticulously handcrafts a mere 80 unique pieces each year. These remarkable creations, coveted by a devoted and affluent few, command astronomical prices, beginning at £20,000 and ascending to a realm where affordability becomes a mere afterthought.
Widely known as JAR, has gained fame not only for his extraordinary jewelry but also for his enigmatic nature. Born in 1943 and raised in the Bronx area of New York, he grew up as the only child of a postal worker father and a biology teacher mother who instilled in him the value of pursuing his dreams and finding joy in his work. Upon relocating to Paris, Joel caught the attention of renowned designers like Hermès and Valentino. After a brief stint at Bulgari in New York, he established his own eponymous atelier just off the Place Vendôme in 1977.
This discreet jeweler operates with utmost discretion, shunning any form of advertising in glossy magazines or elsewhere. The power of Jar lies in its secrecy, a carefully guarded weapon.
Rosenthal is renowned for his distinct expertise in pavé setting, a technique that involves adorning his creations with an abundance of meticulously faceted gemstones. This signature approach has been likened to the artistry of a painter, as it evokes the smooth, flowing strokes of a brush. Notably, Rosenthal skillfully juxtaposes vibrant, colorful gems with blackened alloy metals, resulting in captivating and visually striking designs.
One of JAR's notable characteristics as a designer is his affinity for crafting unexpected objects and shapes in his jewelry pieces. From the intricately designed snake necklace to the whimsical leek brooch, his inspiration is deeply rooted in nature. His creations seem to reverently celebrate the beauty of the natural world, reflecting an exquisite delicacy and splendor in their intricate details.
JAR Raspberry Brooch, 2011
Rubies, diamonds, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum
In 2002, The Gilbert Collection at Somerset House in London organized an exhibition showcasing approximately 400 of Joel Arthur Rosenthal's remarkable works. The exhibition was distinct in its presentation, as the jewels were displayed in dim lighting, requiring visitors to use torches to view each piece individually. A decade later, in 2013, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art held a retrospective of Rosenthal's works, with 145 clients generously loaning numerous jewels for the exhibition.
JAR Camellia bracelet, 1995
Rubies and enamel
Rosenthal is exceptionally selective about his clientele, and he relies on existing clients to introduce new ones.
"Everything conspires to make you bigger and more public, my instinct and my radar, my selfishness and arrogance and above all the passion for happiness told me to stay small, stay silent, do what you want to do, don't be seduced, don't be enticed, just get on with it the way you think it should be done."
The largest collection of JAR jewels ever assembled for auction will take center stage in Geneva on the 17th of May this year. The anticipation surrounding this momentous occasion is palpable, as enthusiasts and collectors eagerly await the opportunity to acquire these rare and coveted treasures.
JAR Ivy Leave earrings, 1991
Round diamonds, 18k yellow and rose gold