JAR, Butterfly Brooch 1994 , Sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethyst, garnets, diamonds, silver and gold jewelry. Private collection . Photo: by Katharina Faerber. Courtesy of JAR, Paris
NEW YORK, NY— An exhibition of more than 400 works by renowned jewelry designer Joel A. Rosenthal, who works in Paris under the name JAR, has opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Title Jewels by JAR, the exhibition is the first retrospective in the United States of his work and the first retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum devoted to a living contemporary artist of gems. Curated by Jane Adlin, Jewels by JAR on view in a 3,000-square-foot gallery allows an insight into JAR’s amazing creative energy and genius.
Aesthetics is at the center of JAR’s creations. Every piece is delicately finished from stones carefully selected for their “color compatibility, complementary range, or contrast.” It is clear from this collection that Rosenthal is constantly innovating and always looking for new ways to create amazing jewelry designs. Besides valuable stones like diamonds, tourmalines, gold, agate, silver, Sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethyst, garnets, emeralds, spinels, garnets, aquamarines, citrines, lilac sapphires, pink sapphires, enamel , rubies, platinum , demantoid, zircons, fire opals, beryls, and oriental pearls, he also uses metals like platinum, aluminum and silver as bases for his designs. The silver base are sometimes blacked to generate a sharp contrast between stone and base as well as elevate the shine of the diamonds.
In his design, Rosenthal experiments with a variety of forms, designs, and themes, many of which are found in nature. Flowers and butterflies are two major recurring themes in his work. They appear in form of brooches. In one of his pieces, Butterfly Brooches created in 1994, JAR combines Sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethyst, garnets, diamonds, silver and gold to achieve not just a magnificent piece, but also capture movement. The combination of complementary and contrasting gems achieves an illusion of movement. It is as if the butterfly brooch is in flight. This is the magnificence of JAR’s creation: he combines colors with the sensibilities of great painters. In Tulip Brooch, 2008, Rosenthal’s ability to use colors to convey movement is again brought to the fore. Combining rubies, diamonds, pink sapphires, garnets, silver, gold, and enamel, JAR creates an illusion of a Tulip opening up during full bloom. This unique and three-dimensional red and white piece is a beauty to behold.
The celebration of Rosenthal’s accomplishment at the Met is no doubt a tribute to awesome designs and designer. Born and raised in Bronx, New York, Rosenthal’s fascination for art and design began at a very young age. As a young boy growing up in Bronx, Rosenthal visited museums where he developed a passion for art, art history and beautiful designs. This early influences have continued to inspire and influence his creations.
In 1966, Rosenthal travelled to Paris soon after graduating from Harvard University. In Paris, he met Pierre Jeannet, a like minded soul and partner. Together, they wade through the streets of Paris, “visiting antique shops, museums, galleries, and auction houses, learning about antique jewelry, diamonds, pearls, and colored stones.” Inspired by the things they saw, Rosenthal and Pierre Jeannet—the other half of the JAR story— opened needlepoint shop on the rue de l’Université in 1973. For 11 months, Rosenthal painted flowers and experimented with colors.
The undying passion for playing with stones, which he developed as a kid was, however, greater than painting on canvas or experimenting with colors. Before long, Rosenthal succumb to his passion. When Rosenthal returned to New York in 1976, he went to work at Bulgari, a pace setter for Italian style in jewelry, watches, accessories, fragrance and leather goods.
Rosenthal returned to Paris in 1978, where he opened his Jewelry business under his initials, JAR. Located on the Place Vendôme, JAR began small. Rosenthal and Jeannet were the only staff at JAR and they started with three rings. It did not take long for the business to grow. Patronage came from local Parisians and international clients. As the business grew, Rosenthal and Jeannet expanded. In 1987, they relocated JAR to a larger space next door to their original shop. They also employed exceptional craftsmen who have continued to create brilliant works. Although JAR continues to grow, it has remained at the same space for more than 38 years. Despite tempting offers, Rosenthal has refused to sell JAR, and has continued to retain the cozy, intimate and exclusive space at Place Vendome.
Almost 40 years after it started, JAR continues to create amazing jewelry designs. Jewels by JAR always a look at the JAR’s journey through the years. From a two person business, JAR has grown to become one of the most reputable designs in the world. The JAR brand is evidently based on the Rosenthal meticulous and unflinching desire to create the best jewelry. A design is incomplete until Rosenthal is satisfied.