The only living jeweler to have an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Joel A. Rosenthal, a.k.a. JAR, makes jewels that routinely earn two to three times their estimates at auction. Known for his inventive style, which makes remarkable use of color and pavé work, the designer is considered a living legend. And now, he’s created a small collection of jewelry for sale exclusively at the museum store through the close of the exhibition on March 9.
The sale collection, which spans eight styles of earrings and two watches, includes a number of “Carnaval a Venise” earrings in gilded titanium with spheres of colored Venetian glass that retail for $2,000; a trio of whimsical “Tickle Me Feather” earrings in resin and aluminum plated with 18k gold that retail from $4,000 to $7,500; and two watch styles, each retailing for $600.
JAR Carnaval à Venise violet titanium earrings with blue Venetian glass; $2,000 (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art)
JAR Black Watch; $600 (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art)
JAR Tickle Me Feather clip earrings in 18k gold-plated aluminum; $7,500 (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art)
The jewels, which are numbered but not limited, are only available for sale at The Mezzanine Gallery Shop at The Metropolitan Museum of Art—not on the museum website.
Fans of the jeweler, who was born in the Bronx and educated at Harvard before moving to Paris, where he established his atelier on Place Vendôme in 1978, understand the value of owning a JAR original.
“JAR is in a class by himself,” Francois Curiel, Christie’s international head of jewelry, tells JCK. “I’ve stopped giving estimates for JAR jewels. The pieces are so rare. He only makes 60 to 80 a year, and people are waiting for years—there are probably 200 to 300 people waiting for a piece of JAR.”
JAR Zebra brooch (photo by Katharina Faerber, courtesy of JAR, Paris)
The Met’s “Jewels by JAR” exhibition features some 400 of his best-known works, from a 1987 zebra head brooch made of striped agate, diamonds, sapphire, silver, and gold to a 2011 raspberry brooch rendered in rubies, diamonds, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
JAR Raspberry brooch from the collection of Sien M. Chew (photo by Jozsef Tari, courtesy of JAR, Paris)