JAR (1977 - present)
Reclusive contemporary French artist noted for his exceptional pavé jewellery. In 1977, Joel Arthur Rosenthal discreetly opened JAR with his partner Pierre Jeannet. It was the last in a series of artistic enterprises— and his best ever. Born in the Bronx in 1943, Rosenthal attended Harvard from 1964-1966, majoring in art history and philosophy. He graduated in only two years and immediately moved to Paris. He tried his hand at writing French and English movie-scripts; he then designed tapestries, opened a fine needlepoint shop, and worked briefly for Bulgari. Finally he began experimenting with jewellery. His work quickly became famous for its vibrant colors and organic shapes. Composed of darkly alloyed metals, including silver, the pieces are typically carpeted in tiny, brightly colored gemstones; their settings are so fine as to appear invisible. All one sees is a gradation of colors and the piece’s form: a flower, insect, or mythological animal. The firm, located at Place Vendôme, produces only seventy to eighty new pieces of jewellery each year. It refuses to advertise, keep regular hours, or display its jewellery in window cases. Nonetheless JAR’s jewellery has a cult-like following and is highly sought-after on the auction market. Clients include, among others, Elizabeth Taylor, Ann Getty, Elle MacPherson, and Barbara Walters.