Who is JAR?
There has been some buzz about him lately with his exhibition at the MET. But who is he?
I like to think of him like some kind of jewelry hero. He doesn't follow the rules of the jewelry business and he does whatever he feels like. Oh, the dream...
JAR stands for Joel Arthur Rosenthal, an american jeweler born in the Bronx (NY) who moved to Paris many years ago. He has a shop at the Place Vendome in Paris but no sign outside, just a tiny window that never displays jewelry, if anything at all. You only go pass that door by invitation, i.e., if he likes you he will let you in. And that does not mean he will let you take a look at all of his pieces or even buy them.
There are no collections, only one of a kind pieces. There is no haggling or price discounts otherwise you'll be shown to the door, never to come back. There are huge gemstones, most of them considered "semi-precious gemstones" to the jewelry world, like tourmalines, spinels or topaz. There are also not so "noble" materials, like aluminium, silver, bronze and rock crystal. And then, there is color, size and unbelievable technique and craftsmanship. This man is a genius.
Ok, are you interested already?
If you are anywhere near NYC please take the time to go the MET Museum and take a look at the biggest exhibition on his work. The jewelry is impressive. Not only for the type and size of the gemstones but for the amazing technical work behind each piece. And the size of the pieces is just outrageous. I knew they were big but I was still surprised to see how big they were. And yes, it's true, It is absolutely impossible to select a favorite piece of jewelry.
I was on my knees trying to see the back and the bottom of the pieces, amazed with the mechanisms and the lightness of such big statement pieces. The gemstones were unbelievable: in size, in color, in quality. Even in a dark, red velvety room the color pops up and like a kid in a candy store, you want them all. So, if you have a chance, go and see them because the next chance you'll have to see some JAR jewelry is gonna be at a Christies or Sothebys auction...
In the meantime, there are a lot more interesting and outrageous stories about JAR so I would strongly recommend that you read about the jeweler from people who actually met him or are friends with him.
Here are some interesting articles:
- Jewels by JAR, Exhibition at the MET Museum, Nov 20, 2013 - March 9, 2014