I am often moved to tears by pieces of jewelry from the past. The irrational effort and passion of the designer, the otherworldly amount of skill of the jeweler, the serendipity that wove the fate of gem, precious metal, and wearer together. But seldom am I moved to tears by the work of a contemporary jewelry designer. There is only one living designer whose jewelry can makes believers of us all–Joel A. Rosenthal the creator of JAR.
JAR is like an underground cult, a secret society. Few will have heard of it and even fewer will have the privilege of owning a piece. However, amongst serious jewelry connoisseurs–people who revere jewelry as an art form, those who float in the heady dream that a spectacular piece conjures, those who believe in the integrity of master artisans–JAR reigns supreme.
From November 20, 2013 until March 9, 2014, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will exhibit over four hundred pieces of jewelry by Joel A. Rosenthal. It will be the first retrospective of the designer’s work in America and he will be the first contemporary “gem artist” exhibited at the Met.
JAR Tulip Brooch 2008 with diamond and ruby*
JAR Diamond Bracelet 2010*
JAR Zebra Brooch 1987 crafted from banded agate, diamonds, silver and gold*
JAR Geranium brooch 2007 Diamonds, aluminum, silver, gold Private Collection*
Most of the pieces being exhibited are on loan from their owners. Imagine the pangs of anxiety they will feel when they reach in their safes for a piece only to remember that it is beyond their reach.
For those who cannot make it to the Met for the exhibit or for those who want to keep a piece of JAR in their homes, one can purchase the coffee table book here.
I leave you with a quote from the designer:
“Unlike beauty, art and luxury are possessable, but beyond, the opposite of sleep, indifference, and imitation. They do not care about perspective, nor does passion. These three, beauty, art, and luxury, are inseparable from happiness.
Jewels are for the passing possessor and onlooker, both the epitome of now, the breath breathed as they sparkle, and that promise of more, of more time.”
– Joel A. Rosenthal
Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,
*Photos courtesy of The Jewellery Editor, B-JEWELED, and Jewels du Jour