The Legend of JAR


illustration of JAR, © Seb Jarnot


top left: Zebra Head Brooch (1987) – agate, diamonds, silver & gold
top right: Elephant Head Brooch (2013) – diamond aigrette, titanium, agate, silver & gold
bottom left: Butterfly Brooch (1994) – sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethysts, garnets, diamonds, silver & gold
bottom right: Dragonfly Brooch (2005) – diamonds, rubies, silver & gold

From young whenever I look through the many fashion & architecture magazines laying around the house. I have always been fascinated by the master artisans of architecture, haute couture, jewelry, handbags and shoes. I’ve studied and continue to study jewelry, footwear and accessory design. The exquisite and unique craftsmanship and intricate details when it comes to designing one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

Earlier last week, I went to the opening of the Jewels by JAR exhibit at the Metropolitan museum (now open to the public November 20th thru March 9th). For creative reasons I was very excited to view the collections. I’ve already returned with colleagues on Thursday and a group of my friends last Friday — Yes, that would be 3x already — SHHHHH, no photos 😜 lol.

I walked into an oval-shaped, semi-dark room of beautiful brown wood walls like the color of chestnuts in a few of JAR’s exclusive pieces. Inside the walls were glass windows displaying an explosion of sparkling jeweled sculptures against orange velour fabric with the aid of tiny interior lighting strategically placed presenting this luxurious warmth of intrinsic elegance throughout the entire room. Beautiful jewels from the smallest to the largest in geometric shapes, a cascade of semi-precious & precious gems in wild vibrant colors. Beautiful jeweled sculptures made from traditional and non-traditional materials.

Rosenthal notorious for being charming, intelligent but very shy or to some described as being reclusive. Either way it has been noted that he was very instrumental with the creation of the Jewels by JAR exhibit. The exhibition features over 400 pieces, majority that are loans from private collections of owners around the world and some pieces from the House of JAR and the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Prices or the estimated value of each piece is not displayed when viewing the collections. If you have to ask _________, well I’m sure you can figure out the rest that saying.


left: Orange Peel Brooch (2001) – garnets, diamonds, enamel, silver & gold.
right: Parrot Tulip Bracelet (1994) – diamonds, garnets & gold.


1. Clover Bracelet (2012) – garnets, diamonds, silver, platinum & gold
2. Clover Bracelet (2012) – tourmalines, diamonds, silver, platinum & gold
3. Clover Ring (2012) – demantoid garnets, diamonds, platinum, silver & gold

Although Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR) is a Bronx, New York native. He studied philosophy and art history at Harvard University. After graduating in 1966, Rosenthal moved to Paris working various jobs, one as a writer and the other as an embroiderer. JAR’s craftsmanship embroidering unusual colors onto cotton materials lead him to many designers including Valentino and Hermès. He came back to New York, worked as a salesman at Bvlgari in the late 70s for a short time eventually returning to Paris to design jewelry using materials that he could afford — coral and moonstone gems.

In ’78 Rosenthal opened up a small, hidden studio that has no signage, visible store front or any identifiable markings, right off of Place Vendôme, where his a collection of his work could be seen. Since then JAR has been an artisan of custom jewelry in Paris for more than 35 years. He is known for his sculptural designs, vibrant colors, shaded colors and the detailing when using a variety of gemstones. When viewing his works of art you get to see JAR’s unique and creative spirit.


top center: Seashell Brooch (2006) – oriental pearls, diamonds, platinum, silver & gold.
middle: Seashell Brooch (1990) – spinels, rubies, silver & gold.
bottom right: Seashell Brooch (2009) – spinels, diamonds, silver & gold


top left: Carrot Flower Brooch (2009) – diamonds, rubies, silver & gold.
top right: Camellia Brooch (2008) – seashells, diamonds, silver & gold.
bottom left:
bottom right: Camellia Bracelet (1995) – rubies, enamel, silver, gold.

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