JAR Jewelry: Guide to These Exclusive Pieces

Published February 22, 2018
Macros shot of tweezers holding diamond

JAR stands for Joel Arthur Rosenthal, the über talented creator of JAR Jewelry. The artist is known for his incredible and highly exclusive pieces.

A Look at the Creator

The man behind the jewelry was born in the Bronx, N.Y., but moved to Paris in 1977 to start his career in the jewelry business. He prefers to be called by the moniker "JAR," and he only designs with specific clients in mind, not for the masses. JAR operates out of a hidden office in Paris, roughly designing 100 pieces per year. JAR's ambiguity and exclusivity are the things that make his jewelry so coveted.

Famous Pieces

JAR is known for using pavé gems and diamonds, juxtaposing them against blackened alloy metals, to produce his striking designs. His technique includes using a multitude of vibrant colors in a gradation effect. JAR, with his keen eye for colorful gems, likes to create unexpected objects and shapes when designing his jewelry pieces. Some of his most famous works include:

Butterfly Brooch

JAR is known for creating brooches, and some of his most famous pieces consist of them. This 1994 butterfly brooch is a perfect example of JAR's meticulous work. Using amethysts, garnets, rubies, fire opals, diamonds, and sapphires, JAR was able to create a lifelike sparkling butterfly. This piece, like all of JAR's pieces, deserves to be put on display and to be seen. This piece was lent to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC for JAR's second exhibition ever.

Leek Brooch

JAR is also known for playing around with unconventional ideas, so it comes as no surprise that he would create a brooch in the shape of a leek. This "vegetable" pin sold at Sotheby's for just over one million dollars. This brooch is a mirror image of an actual leek, including roots, leaves, and a bulb; however it is covered in diamonds and green garnets. Produced in 1989, this pin is just the type of unique jewelry that JAR is known for.

JAR Leek Brooch
JAR Leek Brooch

Snake Necklace

This exceptional necklace once belonged to French actress Jacqueline Delubac. Consisting of gorgeous sapphires and amethysts, JAR's snake masterpiece sold at Christie's for CHF 289,500 in 1998. This necklace is a fine work of art, and it's no wonder it sold for so high.

JAR often designs pieces that are intricate and multidimensional, and this three dimensional snake necklace is no exception. Resembling an actual snake quite beautifully, this necklace wraps around one's neck, putting its gemstones front and center. This piece was on display in 2013 at The Metropolitan Museum in NYC.

Ruby Flower Brooch

This Camellia flower pin, which was featured in an auction at Christie's of London, is overflowing with rich, red rubies deep in color. Part of the Lily Safra 'Jewels For Hope' Collection, this 3D flower brooch is set in silver and gold and made of entirely pavé rubies. Weighing in at 173 carats, this JAR brooch was sold at a Christie's auction in Geneva, London in 2012.

Where to Purchase

In case you have the extra funds, you can find some JAR items at upscale resale shops and auction sites. One website is 1stdibs, an online global marketplace where dealers and collectors can connect and purchase some of the best and rarest items in the world, including JAR jewelry. Besides 1stdibs, Christie's and Sotheby's are two auction houses that occasionally hold bids on JAR's spectacular jewels.

Here are some examples of JAR items that have come up for sale:

Although these stunning gems are outside of most people's budgets, you can get your hands on this Jewels by JAR book, which features 70 extraordinary pieces throughout JAR's career, for about $40.

Pros and Cons

There are both positive and negative aspects to consider when considering a purchase of JAR jewels:

The Good

  • If you are able to get your hands on a piece of JAR's jewelry, you will be one of the elite few to own a piece, and there is a sense of pride in that.
  • JAR jewels are like famous paintings, and any piece of his is a collector's item.
  • Your JAR jewelry will only increase in value over time.

The Bad

  • The crazy price tag attached to any of JAR's pieces is enough to scare most people away.
  • The price of an item from JAR can almost triple (or more) in the resale market because of its rarity, so purchasing a JAR piece is that much more of an expense.
  • JAR's pieces are not created for the public and it's very hard to acquire one.

Anything but Average

Finding information on JAR is even rarer than his jewels. His elusiveness adds to the splendor of his designs. No two of his grand custom designs are alike, and his eye for the unique is fascinating. A piece of JAR jewelry is very much a work of art and anything but ordinary.

JAR Jewelry: Guide to These Exclusive Pieces