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In a dark corridor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, more than 400 original JAR jewelry pieces scintillate inside plush velvet display cases. Designer Joel A. Rosenthal, known as JAR, moved to Paris after attending Harvard University and began creating jewelry, soon opening a shop in the Place Vendome to showcase his work.
JAR is known for one-of-a-kind sculptural brooches that take the shapes of flowers, insects, animals, and food. Using nontraditional, sometimes organic materials, he masters the fragility of rose petals and beetle wings alike. This, along with his expert eye for composition, allows him to create jewelry pieces that are distinctly his. Contemporary yet timeless, each piece is marked by his exceptional use of color and design.
Rosenthal’s designs are intricate and exclusive, often taking years to craft. JAR’s clientele includes actress Gweneth Paltrow and philanthropist Jayne Wrightsman. At auctions JAR jewels fetch up to $4.3 million. A visit to his appointment-only shop may not even guarantee you a diamond ring. He only believes in making jewelry that specifically suits the client, stating “Getting the right things on the right people is part of making those things.”
This is the first ever retrospective of the gem artist in America, and the Metropolitan’s first retrospective of a living jeweler. Designs from Rosenthal’s over 35-year career will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 9, 2014.