Thursday, November 14, 2013

Jewels by JAR at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Over 400 Pieces by Renowned Jewelry Designer JAR on View at Metropolitan Museum Beginning November 20
November 20, 2013–March 9, 2014
Exhibition Location: Lila Acheson Wallace Wing,
The Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Gallery, Gallery 913

Colored Balls Necklace
Rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, spinels, garnets, opals, tourmalines, aquamarines, citrines, diamonds, silver, and gold
Private collection
Photograph by Jozsef Tari. Courtesy of JAR, Paris.

This upcoming exhibit at the phenomenal Metropolitan Museum of Art with JAR Jewels is one of a kind. When I think of some past jewelry exhibits or auctions I had the privilege of viewing, the Ellen Barkin Auction at Christie's in 2006 which included many JAR pieces, or the Elizabeth Taylor Auction which was also at Christie's in 2011, this is that type of exhibit. I remember those 2 auctions as being so wonderful, gorgeous and over the top. It was amazing to see the type of jewels with your own eyes that most people only dream about. Since this is only running until March 9, 2014, I suggest if you are a lover of gems, art, or design, run to this exhibit before it ends!

Here is all the information from the Met's press release: 

Jewels by JAR at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will feature more than 400 works by renowned jewelry designer Joel A. Rosenthal, who works in Paris under the name JAR. The exhibition will be the first retrospective in the United States of his work and the first retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum devoted to a contemporary artist of gems.

The exhibition is made possible by Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, Phaidon Press Ltd, Nancy and Howard Marks, The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, Agnes Gund, Mr. and Mrs. George S. Livanos, and Hilary and Wilbur Ross.

Growing up in the Bronx, New York, Rosenthal spent much of his early life visiting the museums in the city, stirring in him a passion for art, history, and all things beautiful that has stayed with him throughout his life. Rosenthal left New York to attend Harvard University and moved to Paris shortly after his graduation in 1966. It was in Paris that Rosenthal met Pierre Jeannet—the other half of the JAR story.

Rosenthal and Jeannet spent much time at antique shops, museums, galleries, and auction houses learning about antique jewelry, diamonds, pearls, and colored stones. In 1973, they opened a needlepoint shop on the rue de l’Université. For Rosenthal needlepoint meant painting, mainly flowers, on a white canvas and playing with the palette of the colors of the wools. But the passion for jewelry was there and he wanted to “play with stones,” as he later explained. The needlepoint shop lasted only 11 months, but during this period Rosenthal was encouraged by others to re-design clients’ jewels and turned his attention once again, and more fully, to jewelry. In 1976, Rosenthal moved back to New York to work at Bulgari but returned to Paris and decided to open his own jewelry business under his initials, JAR.

JAR opened in 1978 on the Place Vendôme. At the start, it was run by a team of only two—Rosenthal and Jeannet. The clientele broadened from local Parisians to a range of international clients, and in 1987, Rosenthal and Jeannet relocated JAR to a larger space next door to their original shop—the same space from which they operate today. As they worked more and more with exceptional stones, they expanded the team to include the few exceptional craftsmen still specializing in this field.

JAR makes jewels that fulfill an aesthetic rather than commercial ambition. A particular skill of the JAR team is selecting stones for their color compatibility, complementary range, or contrast. Rosenthal, who once said, “we are not afraid of any materials,” uses metals as strong as platinum and as lightweight as aluminum as bases for his designs. He reintroduced the use of silver in fine jewelry making and blackened the metal to enhance the color of the stones and the shine of the diamonds. The color and the shading of his pavé technique became a signature, as did the diamond thread work.

Rosenthal experiments with a variety of forms, designs, and themes. Two significant and recurring themes in his work are flowers and butterflies, which often appear in the form of brooches. Rosenthal’s flowers are not shaped regularly, but rather capture the role of chance in nature—be it in the form of a bud, a flower in full bloom, or a falling petal. Each JAR piece is unique and three-dimensional.

Jeannet summarizes Rosenthal’s process this way: “At every step of the making of a piece, he checks and corrects. And if at the end his eye is not happy, we destroy the piece. But the piece, finished, is not yet at home; his last look is to see that the jewel has gone to the right lady. Then he sighs, his work is done.”

Multicolored Handkerchief Earrings
Sapphires, demantoid and other garnets, zircons, tourmalines, emeralds, rubies, fire opals, spinels, beryls, diamonds, platinum, silver, and gold
Private collection
Photograph by Jozsef Tari. Courtesy of JAR, Paris.

Credits and Catalogue

Jewels by JAR is organized by the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The organizing curator is Jane Adlin, Associate Curator in the department.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue (hardcover $40), published by the Metropolitan Museum and distributed by Yale University Press.

Education programs include a series of exhibition tours.

The exhibition will be featured on the Metropolitan Museum’s website at

In conjunction with the exhibition, JAR has designed a unique collection of earrings and watches for the Museum, available exclusively at the exhibition and Mezzanine Gallery shops.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Website

The 2 photos I have shown here, were my favorites, I thought they were just remarkable! Please let me know if you do attend the exhibit, how you liked it! 

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miss b said...

This is an exhibition I would most certainly enjoy. The coloured balls necklace is so eye-catching too.

nycstylelittlecannoli said...

Yes it sure is I am looking forward to seeing it in person! Thanx for stopping by!!

Chic Delights said...

JAR Jewels are something I would love to see. This Exhibition must be so interesting.

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