JAR, or Joel Arthur Rosenthal is renowned for his spectacular, contemporary and rare jewels. Producing only 70 pieces a year for his exclusive and referral-based clientele, this elusive jeweller has been dubbed “the Faberge of our time.” His exquisite pieces are incredibly sought-after by serious collectors, with recent auction results reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece (Christies, Magnificent Jewels including Twelve Jewels by JAR from The Estate of Ann Getty & The Light of Africa Diamond, 8th June 2022).
On the more achievable end of the scale, JAR collections in non-precious metals have achieved a collector’s status all of their own. Produced in limited edition runs for proposed boutiques and museum shops to accompany major exhibitions on the jeweller, these breathtaking jewels make a fantastic choice for those looking to invest in fine, one-of-a-kind, and appreciating jewels.
The ‘Jewels of Jar’ exhibition at Somerset House was a blockbuster event that featured 400 of JAR’s sensational works, loaned from 145 clients. To thank each of his patrons, JAR sent a pair of ‘Pansy’ earrings designed and crafted in coloured aluminium. This gesture was entirely symbolic, using a traditional sentimental motif of the pansy, drawing on the French pensée, denoting thoughtfulness.
JAR also designed an additional 1,000 pairs of aluminium earrings to commemorate this blockbuster exhibition. These fun and floral pieces were designed as violet and rose petals, typical of JAR’s subject matter, signed and in a range of eye-catching colours. These earrings were available to purchase by visitors to the exhibition and were sold out within days.
A pair of aluminum 'Petal' Earclips by JAR, Paris. Sold for $5,292 on 19 October, 2021 – Sotheby’s Important Jewels
In 2005, JAR launched a perfume line to be sold in Bergdorf Goodman Boutiques. In addition to the fragrances, that were displayed in glass jewellery cabinets and on stands, JAR released a limited run of coloured aluminium earrings. As the New York Times reported in 2005, “Mr. Rosenthal has made them in the shape of violets and pansies, for $1,000 a pair.”
These pieces were new renditions of the earrings made previously for the Somerset House exhibition. Including other designs such as ‘Violets’, ‘Geranium’, ‘Morning Glory,’ and ‘Fan’ earrings that were intended for sale in a string of subsequent scent boutiques.
The fragrances were also marketed again at the Masterpiece London show in 2012, sparking a refreshed interest in JAR’s aluminium earrings.
In 2013, JAR became the first living jewellery designer to have a retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once again, to celebrate the exhibition, a selection of stunning jewels was created in limited numbers for visitors to the exhibition. These creations marked a shift from JAR’s floral designs for Somerset House with varying materials, a larger scale and more avant-garde designs amongst the floral favourites.
The ’Carnaval à Venise’ earrings were one such design for this show, designed with a curling titanium wire engulfing the ear and supporting a pair of glass marbles, originally selling for $2,000 in the Met Museum’s shop.
Within this line were earrings cast in resin, allowing for a unique lustre and finish. As well as the white resin ‘Gardenia’ earrings, there were earrings designed as gently curling feathers. The playful ‘Tickle Me Feather’ Earrings were available to purchase in a choice of resin or gold-plated aluminium, retailing at $4,000 and 7,500 respectively. A worthwhile investment, in 2020, a mere seven years later examples of each sold at Sotheby’s for $12,000 and $15,000.
Proving to be a steadily appreciating asset, the aluminium, titanium, resin, and gold-plated jewels by JAR sold alongside exhibitions and perfume boutiques make a worthy addition to any jewellery collection. Whilst far removed from the stratospheric heights and hammer prices of their fine jewellery counterparts, these nonetheless statement earrings are amongst some of the most desirable non-precious metal jewellery on the market.
Our specialist Fine Jewellery & Watch auctions are held four times a year and include the whole spectrum of jewellery and watches, from modern and designer pieces to antique jewels, ladies and gents wristwatches as well as pocket watches. Our department is headed by Liz Bailey who is FGA and DGA qualified, with many years experience in the industry. We offer a free valuation service as well as a free collection service for items consigned to these auctions.
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