JAR Pink Almond Blossom Enamel Flower Earrings
About the Item
While Joel Arthur Rosenthal (b. 1943), the founder of JAR, may not be the most prolific jeweler, he is one of the most exclusive. In fact, Rosenthal has no need for prominent signage or window displays at his famed Place Vendôme boutique in Paris because he opens the door only for a select few, including Elle Macpherson, Barbara Walters, Mary Pinault and Jo Carole Lauder, among others. Rosenthal’s dazzling, sculptural jewelry is internationally adored, but his sales tactics are rather unique — he’s notoriously reclusive, shies away from publicity and advertising, and clients are received only after he’s personally approved them.
The New York City–born designer didn’t plan on a career in the jewelry industry. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in art history and philosophy, a young Rosenthal moved to Paris, where he opened a needlepoint shop. It was off to a slow start, but after a short time, his unusual color pairings and imaginative stitchwork drew in designers from Hermès and Valentino. Rosenthal was tasked with designing a mount for a gemstone by one of his fashion-industry clientele, and he soon moved beyond textile arts.
With a newfound interest in fashion and design, Rosenthal briefly returned to his native New York City, where he worked as a salesperson in Bvlgari's Fifth Avenue store. His fascination with jewels lured him back to Paris in 1977 to open his own jewelry boutique with his partner, a Swiss psychiatrist named Pierre Jeannet.
In his jewelry shop’s early days, Rosenthal, working with largely affordable stones such as coral, set gems in pavé arrangements that recalled the meticulousness of his needlepoint projects. Although he’d become known among fashion’s elite in Paris, the name JAR was still relatively unfamiliar to his soon-to-be international clientele. An acclaimed exhibition at London’s Somerset House in 2002 changed that.
Rosenthal became a global icon following the 400-piece show, in which the lights were dimmed and guests, armed with flashlights, navigated the display cases of shimmering necklaces and rings adorned in sapphires and diamonds. His now-revered Pansy ear clips — comely floral pieces sculpted from aluminum and mounted in gold — were made available for purchase at the show, while pairs were gifted to those who loaned him their jewels for the exhibition. Like the Pansy earrings, Rosenthal’s pieces are typically inspired by delicate shapes found in nature. One such piece is a ruby-encrusted camellia brooch, which sold in 2012 at a charity auction held at Christie’s for $4.3 million.
Rosenthal still lives in Paris, where he designs approximately 70 pieces every year.
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