THE PROPERTY OF AN ART CONNOISSEUR
JAR, one underlying theme runs through his creations: exceptional craftsmanship. Passion and perfectionism are terms freely used in a world that revolves around exaggerated sensation, but these two words seem to perfectly sum up the extraordinary creativity and drive of this unique individual.
Joel Arthur Rosenthal founded JAR in 1977 with his Swiss business partner, Pierre Jeannet. Remarkable both for their imaginative settings and the diversity of materials, his jewels are often created around exceptional gemstones. Rosenthal will spend years searching for the perfect stones, matching unique pairs of gems and often using uncommon semi-precious stones such as coral, tourmalines, topaz and vari-colored sapphires, as well as Golconda diamonds, old Colombian emeralds and fine Burmese rubies. In contrast to the production of most jewelers today, each JAR jewel is a handmade, one-of a kind creation. Because he employs traditional artisan techniques that are extremely time-consuming, only 60 to 70 items are produced each year, with each one destined to pass into the realm of the most esteemed private collections.
Although his work has enjoyed a cult-like following among the fashion cognoscenti for decades, JAR remained something of a best-kept secret until the landmark sale of the Ellen Barkin collection at Christie's, which drew so many exceptional examples of his work into the spotlight. These imperial topaz ear pendants were part of that group of 17 JAR creations, the largest and most significant group of JAR jewels ever offered at public auction. Each ear pendant is set with an elongated oval-cut Imperial topaz and accented with a circular-cut diamond surround enhanced by circular-cut ruby clusters. Ms. Barkin famously wore the ear pendants on the night of the Academy Awards in 2005, coordinating them with a stunning orange-hued dress.
JAR's skill in blending colors of gemstones is legendary. A singular sense of color, as displayed in this pink sapphire ring, is a hallmark of his creations. Designed as a circular-cut pink sapphire violet blossom, set with a circular-cut yellow diamond pistil, this jewel reflects the spirit and personality of the individual for whom it was commissioned, yet it has a universal appeal.
Despite such publicity, JAR purposefully maintains a very small and private enterprise with one shop, one designer and a small staff. His client list remains exclusive and intensely loyal, and the company's salon on Place Vendome in Paris bears no sign, has no jewels on display, and may be visited only by appointment. Over the years, Christie's has had the honor of offering several significant collections of JAR jewels in its salerooms and both of these genius creations by JAR, the Imperial Topaz, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants and the Pink Sapphire Ring, would be the glory of any modern day collection.