Jewelry

JAR and the Jewelers Who Inspired Him

aJAR Cover

As a long time admirer of JAR, I was eagerly anticipating the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I simply could not wait to see how the museum would display his jewels.  After all, when will I have the chance to see such a large retrospective of JAR’s work again?  Probably never seeing as he’s pushing 70 and doesn’t seem too concerned about his diet (‘Lunch with the FT:  Joel Arthur Rosenthal’).

JAR FT

Sketch of Joel Arthur Rosenthal, or JAR
Photo courtesy of FT

However, as I exited the 400-piece exhibition through the specially made ‘Jewels by JAR’ gift shop, I couldn’t help hold back my feeling of being sorely underwhelmed.  Sure the lighting did not do the jewels justice, but there was something much more critical that was missing from the show:  an overarching purpose for this historic retrospective on the living designer.  The sheer lack of information on either Rosenthal or his jewels was baffling…

untitled-magazine-jewels-by-jar-001

Photo credit: Katharina FAERBER

I had been hoping that the Met would provide answers to some questions I had long wondered about, mainly JAR’s sources of inspiration.  A tour guide explained how JAR’s works were not influenced by other jewelers, how Rosenthal was a maverick trailblazer in the jewelry world.  This statement stuck in my mind, because it seemed so utterly improbable.  Every artist is influenced by the period in which he lives, by his peers and artistic predecessors to some extent.

How could he not be influenced by anyone?  Prior to founding his own workshop, Rosenthal spent a year working at Bulgari under Gianni Bulgari.  Certainly some of the designer’s aesthetic must have rubbed off on the young Rosenthal.

A young Joel Arthur Rosenthal in front of his Paris shop

A young Joel Arthur Rosenthal in front of his Paris shop

There is no question of JAR’s brilliance in jewelry design; his jewels are breathtaking and creative, but not all are one hundred percent conceptually original.  Although no other jeweler would ever accuse Rosenthal of artistic plagiarism, some of his designs are loose adaptations of earlier works, oftentimes incorporating figurative elements of his predecessors.

JAR Camelia brooch from 2010 with delicate pavé-set petals.

JAR Camellia brooch from 2010 with delicate pavé-set petals.
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

In addition to gorgeously colored, seldom-used, and often unconventionally shaped, gemstones, JAR is best known for his nature-inspired jewelry, particularly of flowers and butterflies, and jewels that are studies of spirals, spheres and science.  Another hallmark of JAR’s jewelry is the use of many different metals, both precious and non-precious, the most prominent being that of blackened gold – which Rosenthal believes draws the attention to the exquisite stones rather than the glowing gold setting.

Jar Iris bracelet in gold, silver, fire opals and caramel diamonds created in 1996. - via French Vogue

JAR Iris bracelet in gold, silver, fire opals and caramel diamonds created in 1996.
Photo credit: Katharina FAERBER

However, nature is one of the most common inspirations for jewelry.  Moreover, the use of dark metal is certainly not unique to JAR.  From the Georgian period until the late eighteenth century, jewels were set in silver-topped gold; and as the silver tarnished over time, the settings were often dark rather than silvery white – much like JAR’s blackened gold settings today.

The Vanderbilt Rose:  A Diamond Brooch by Theodore Fester, Paris, circa 1855

The Vanderbilt Rose: A Diamond Brooch by Theodore Fester, Paris, circa 1855
Note how closely the floral motif and pavé setting of various sized diamonds resemble some of JAR’s flower jewels
Photo courtesy of Siegelson

The point of this survey is that JAR clearly drew inspiration from earlier jewelers, as well as his contemporaries. As is the case for the vast majority of artists, JAR’s style evolved in the context of the works that came before him. He was not stranded on a remote island to develop his technique bereft of outside influence. Although his setting style and the dimensionality of his designs display a rare genius, the underlying form of his works was oftentimes directly inspired by other jewelers. To claim otherwise is to commit a hubris that refuses just tribute to many of the finest jewelers of times past.

Rather than ramble on, I’ll let some pictures do the talking.

JAR Post-Bulgari

One of JAR’s earliest pieces, a wide diamond band ring in white gold made in 1978, echoes Bulgari’s design aesthetic from that period.

JAR Ring 1978

JAR Ring, 1978 – Diamonds, gold.
Photo courtesy of Marion Fasel via Instagram

Bulgari Twin Ring

Bulgari Double Band Ring of Ruby and Sapphire circa 1970
Photo courtesy of Glorious Antique Jewelry via 1stdibs

The distinction is minimal, mainly the arrangement of the stones and how that affects the band, but the overall ring design with the “Tubogas”-like band and twin diamonds are very similar to rings made by Bulgari during this time, quite possibly designed by Rosenthal.

Another early JAR ring from 1978 is practically identical to its Bulgari counterpart:

Sapphire and Pink Sapphire Ring JAR Paris 1978

Sapphire and Pink Sapphire Ring, JAR, Paris, 1978
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Bulgari Twin Stone ring

Bulgari Twin Stone ring, circa 1970s
Photo courtesy of 1stdibs

 

Early Boucheron Influences

It has been posited that a particular sapphire and diamond Boivin ring auctioned in the 1960s (a photo of which I unfortunately do not have) was the catalyst that propelled Rosenthal’s career and overall design aesthetic.  Another speculation is that Rosenthal found his initial inspiration from a Boucheron chatelaine watch circa 1890-95- the watch pendant is designed as a colorful pansy.  Rosenthal is “known to have handled” this Boucheron watch, asserts renowned jewelry historian and author Marion Fasel.

Boucheron pansy pocket watch

A bud-shaped brooch with leaves, and a watch in the shape of a pansy hanging from it; both of silver-gilt set with sapphires, demantoid, spessartine, and hessonite garnets, amethysts and diamonds (c. 1890-95).

Unfortunately, the photo is not very clear, but you can see the slight color variations of the stones that give the flower a more realistic, three-dimensional effect.  The meticulous arrangement of colored pavé stones to create color fields is a well known facet of Rosenthal’s design repertoire, one which could potentially have been inspired by this Boucheron pansy pendant watch.  The similarities between this late 19th century jewel and Rosenthal’s pansy rings below are striking.

JAR Pansy Rings

Clockwise from top left: Pansy Ring, 2009 – Green garnets, diamonds, silver and gold; Pansy Ring, 2009 – Rubies, pink sapphires, diamonds, black spinels, green garnets, silver and gold; Pansy Ring, 2011 – Garnets, sapphires, diamonds, spinels, silver, gold and platinum; Pansy Ring, 2010 – Emeralds, demantoid garnets, spinels, diamonds, silver and gold; Pansy Bracelet, 2012 – Diamonds, sapphires, garnets, tourmalines, topaz chrysoberyls, spinels, citirines, silver, platinum and gold
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

Natural Realism of Art Nouveau & Paulding Farnham

With respect to JAR’s flora and fauna jewels, the short-lived but highly creative Art Nouveau period comes to mind.  Whereas the Art Nouveau jewelers favored intricate design using plique-a-jour enamel over superfluous pricey stones, Rosenthal’s similarly realistic renditions of flowers, not in their perfect presumed state but instead appearing to be caught in the middle of a draft of wind or pre-blossom, are swathed in pavé stones.  Comparisons can be made between JAR and the leading Art Nouveau jewelers such as Lalique, Vever, and, most notably, Tiffany & Co.’s Paulding Farnham.

An enameled brooch in the form of a spray of lilac flowers with gold leaves by Paulding Farnham.

An enameled brooch in the form of a spray of lilac flowers with gold leaves by Paulding Farnham.

More of Paulding Farnham's lilac brooches

More of Paulding Farnham’s lilac brooches

JAR White Lilac brooch 2001 Diamonds, garnets, aluminum, silver and gold Private Collection And Lilac brooch 2002 Violet, sapphires, garnets, aluminum, silver and gold Private Collection

JAR White Lilac brooch 2001 Diamonds, garnets, aluminum, silver and gold Private Collection And Lilac brooch 2002 Violet, sapphires, garnets, aluminum, silver and gold Private Collection
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

During his years at Tiffany & Co. in the late 18th to early 19th centuries, Paulding Farnham’s attention to detail and realism captured in his works are astounding.  Known best for his orchids, Farnham’s lilac brooch is yet another superb study of flowers in precious materials.  All too similar is JAR’s pair of lilac brooches awash with pavé diamonds and purple sapphires.

Iris Brooch, Tiffany & Co.  Pink tourmalines, demantoid garnet, platinum c.1900 –1901 Paulding Farnham, designer for Tiffany.

An iris brooch made by Tiffany designer Paulding Farnham for his wife, sculptor Sally James Farnham, around 1900. The flower has a pink-red rhodolite and diamond blossom, and a green demantoid garnet stem

439px-Tiffany_and_Company_Iris_Corsage_Ornament_Walters_57939_Detail_croped

Detail of the Tiffany Iris Brooch by Paulding Farnham circa 1900, currently held by the Walters Art Museum

A Ruby Flower Brooch, by JAR Designed as a Camellia flowerhead, entirely pavé-set with rubies weighing a total of approximately 173.09 carats, mounted in silver and gold, 2003, 8.0 cm, with French assay mark for gold, in pink leather JAR case Signed JAR Paris

A Ruby Flower Brooch, by JAR Designed as a Camellia flowerhead, entirely pavé-set with rubies weighing a total of approximately 173.09 carats, mounted in silver and gold, 2003, 8.0 cm, with French assay mark for gold, in pink leather JAR case Signed JAR Paris
Photo credit: Christie’s

While the type of flower in the above images is different, the similarities of the variously sized and shaped pavé stones used for the petals of Farnham’s lilies and JAR’s camellia is unmistakeable, as well as the settings themselves.  Another characteristic championed by JAR, the use of less common and unfamiliar stones, is also one frequently employed by Farnham in his works.  Case in point are the stones used in the two iris brooches above:  the first iris brooch is made with rhodolites for the petals and demantoid garnets for the stem while the second utilizes cornflower blue Yogo sapphires found exclusively in Montana.

Gold and Plique-à-Jour Enamel Morning Glory Pendant Brooch by Marcus & Co., New York, circa 1900

Gold and Plique-à-Jour Enamel Morning Glory Pendant Brooch by Marcus & Co., New York, circa 1900

Morning Glory bracelets - Cheryl Kremkow Instagram

Morning Glory Bracelets, 2013
L: Sapphires, diamonds, garnets, platinum, silver, gold. Private collection.
R: Diamonds, sapphires, garnets, platinum, silver, gold. Jamie Alexander Tisch
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Kremkow on Instagram

Here, the three dimensional morning glory blossoms of Marcus & Co.’s brooch and JAR’s bracelets are brilliantly articulated in plique-a-jour enamel and pavé settings, respectively.

Drawing Inspiration from Egypt & India

A number of JAR’s jewels remind me of early 20th century works by Cartier.  The first and most obvious example is a pair of ‘Falcon’ ear clips by JAR made in 1981, each designed as a turquoise-colored faience Egyptian falcon with coral headdress and collar and cabochon emerald detail.  Cartier’s unique use of Egyptian faience in jewels during the Art Deco period is well known and documented; the aesthetic of these JAR ear clips seems to have clearly been inspired by Cartier’s Egyptian Revival works.

A PAIR OF 'FALCON' EAR CLIPS, BY JAR

A Pair of ‘Falcon’ Ear Clips, by JAR, 1981
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

FAIENCE CARTIER

Two of Cartier’s faience jewels – the top is a brooch incorporating an antique faience hawk’s head, 1925; the bottom is a jeweled faience of the goddess ‘Sekhmet’

India was another exotic source of inspiration for Cartier and JAR.  Many of Cartier’s most iconic jewels during the Art Deco era were inspired by Indian Mughal jewelry.  Carved gemstones, vibrantly colored enamels and unconventionally-cut diamonds were among the precious materials that comprised Indian jewelry during the 19th and 20th centuries, all of which were re-interpreted in Cartier’s designs.  JAR’s necklace below is a stylized, modern reproduction of the famous Patiala Necklace by Cartier, made for the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala.

Maharaja exhibition 9

The Patiala Necklace was a necklace created by the House of Cartier in 1928. It was made for and named after Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, the then ruling Maharaja of the state of Patiala. It contained 2,930 diamonds, including as its centrepiece, the world’s seventh largest diamond, the “De Beers”, that had a 428 carat pre-cut weigh, and weighed 234.65 carats in its final setting. The piece also contained seven other diamonds ranging from 18 to 73 carats, and a number of Burmese rubies.
Photo courtesy of Cartier

Five-Row Diamond Necklace with Pendant Ring, 1999; diamonds, platinum; private collection. Photo credit- Anthony DeMarco

JAR Five-Row Diamond Necklace with Pendant Ring, 1999; diamonds, platinum; private collection. Photo credit- Anthony DeMarco

Derived from the ‘turah’, an Indian turban tassel of several strings of pearls fitted to a curved enamel bar, the Cartier tassel was by far the most popular pendant motif of the Art Deco period.  While the tassel is hardly exclusive to Cartier, a few of JAR’s works with tassels appear to have been influenced by Cartier’s tassel or the jeweled tassels of India.

JAR Pendant Earrings, 2012 - Oriental pearls, diamonds and gold

JAR Pendant Earrings, 2012 – Oriental pearls, diamonds and gold

An Elegant Art Deco Pearl and Diamond Tassel Pendant, by Cartier

An Elegant Art Deco Pearl and Diamond Tassel Pendant, by Cartier, circa 1918
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

The following JAR jewels are clearly inspired by Indian jewelry aesthetics; they include a number of stylized Mughal motifs.

A Mughal ring from 2008 made of rubies, pearls, diamonds, silver and gold.

JAR Mughal Ring, 2008 – Rubies, pearls, diamonds, silver and gold
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

JAR Mughal Flower Bracelet, 1987 - Rubies, sapphires, amethysts, garnets, titanium, silver and gold

JAR Mughal Flower Bracelet, 1987 – Rubies, sapphires, amethysts, garnets, titanium, silver and gold
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

JAR Mughal Brooch, 2002 - Emerald, rubies, diamonds, agate, rock crystal, silver and gold

JAR Mughal Brooch, 2002 – Emerald, rubies, diamonds, agate, rock crystal, silver and gold
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18: Brooch and ring on display at Jewels by

Fibula Brooch, 2013
Emeralds, rubies, diamonds, Oriental pearls, silver, gold. Private collection
Emerald Ring, 2013
Emerald, Oriental pearls, diamonds, gold. Private collection

A Magnificent Set of Seven Diamond and Gem-Set Moghul Flower Brooches, by JAR

A Magnificent Set of Seven Diamond and Gem-Set Moghul Flower Brooches, by JAR, made in 1987
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Pair of sapphire, ruby, and diamond Moghul tulip ear clips by JAR (1987)

Pair of sapphire, ruby, and diamond Moghul tulip ear clips by JAR, 1987
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Avant Garde Originals:  Belperron & Boivin

René Boivin and Suzanne Belperron are the jewelers who I find most similar to JAR.  In the introduction to the  ‘Jewels by JAR’ book, Adrian Sassoon, the writer, reveals a young Rosenthal heard about the sale of the Boivin atelier while in New York in 1976, and he was convinced that there were opportunities to work there.  Though that is the book’s only mention of Rosenthal’s interest in Boivin, one can deduce that Rosenthal respected and must have been influenced by Boivin’s talented designers and their jeweled works.  For example, look at the design similarities of the aforementioned JAR morning glory bracelets and the following Boivin “Bindweed” brooches:

A PAIR OF FABULOUS AND UNIQUE ART DECO DIAMOND AND SAPPHIRE 'CONVULVUS FLOWER' BROOCHES, BY RENÉ BOIVIN

A PAIR OF FABULOUS AND UNIQUE ART DECO DIAMOND AND SAPPHIRE ‘CONVULVUS FLOWER’ BROOCHES, BY RENÉ BOIVIN
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Morning Glory Bracelets, 2013 L: Sapphires, diamonds, garnets, platinum, silver, gold. Private collection. R: Diamonds, sapphires, garnets, platinum, silver, gold. Jamie Alexander Tisch

Morning Glory Bracelets, 2013
Top: Diamonds, sapphires, garnets, platinum, silver, gold. Jamie Alexander Tisch
Bottom: Sapphires, diamonds, garnets, platinum, silver, gold. Private collection.
Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

One may be a brooch and the other a bracelet, but the pairing of diamonds and sapphires, as well as the composition of the flowers are incredibly similar.

Or, consider the similarities between these two flower brooches by JAR and Boivin:

sweetsabelle.file.wordpress lilac

Carrot Flower Brooch, 2009
Diamonds, rubies, silver, gold. Mrs. Carol Yu
Photo courtesy of Sweet Sabelle

A DIAMOND AND RUBY FLOWER BROOCH, BY RENE BOIVIN

A DIAMOND AND RUBY FLOWER BROOCH, BY RENE BOIVIN
Mounted en tremblant, designed as an circular-cut diamond Queen Anne’s Lace flower blossom, set with a circular-cut ruby pistil, with circular-cut emerald and sculpted gold leaves and a baguette-cut diamond stem, mounted in platinum and 18k gold, 1938, with French assay marks
Signed René Boivin, G & Co. for Gattle & Co.
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Even though the brooches depict different types of flowers, the diamond blossoms of Boivin’s Queen Anne’s Lace flower share a number of similarities to JAR’s Carrot flower.

Boivin was well known for his beautiful, realistic flowers, which include brooches made in the form of camellias, violets and orchids.  Although JAR’s masterful settings breathe an exquisite life into his pavé flowers with three dimensions of sculptural reality, Boivin’s floral jewels may have served as an excellent starting point for Rosenthal.

Boivin A DIAMOND CAMELIA BROOCH, BY BOIVIN

A DIAMOND CAMELIA BROOCH, BY BOIVIN
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Camellia bracelet of clear and pink diamonds by JAR, 1994

Camellia bracelet of clear and pink diamonds by JAR, 1994

Boivin Branche de Houblon

A DEMANTOID GARNET AND GOLD ‘BRANCHE DE HOUBLON’ BROOCH, BY RENÉ BOIVIN
Designed as a branch of hops, the leaf set with demantoid garnets, suspending four articulated gold flowers, 1953, 6.5 cm, with French assay mark for gold
By René Boivin
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Boivin 1937 Rose Brooch

AN IMPORTANT DIAMOND, EMERALD, PLATINUM AND WHITE GOLD CLIP BY RENE BOIVIN GARDENIA. CIRCA 1937.
Photo courtesy of Artcurial

JAR Gardenia

JAR Gardenia ring made of diamonds, silver and gold.
Photo credit: Jozsef Tari/JAR, Paris

Another common technique used by JAR is the setting of precious gems like diamonds in semi-precious stones like rock crystal or chalcedony.  Suzanne Belperron specialized in this technique, as did Boivin.  It’s hard to believe that Rosenthal did not draw inspiration from their early genius.

Amethyst and emerald ring by JAR and Garnet and colored diamond ring by JAR

Amethyst and emerald ring by JAR and Garnet and colored diamond ring by JAR
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Lot 149 - CHALCEDONY AND EMERALD RING, CIRCA 1935

CHALCEDONY AND EMERALD RING, CIRCA 1935
The angular shank composed of polished chalcedony, inset with two pear-shaped emeralds, size 471/2, attributed to Suzanne Belperron.
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Lot 215 - CHALCEDONY, KUNZITE AND DIAMOND RING, JAR, 1983

CHALCEDONY, KUNZITE AND DIAMOND RING, JAR, 1983
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Belperron_tourbillon_ring_ruby_13 RETOUCHED

Belperron Tourbillon Ring
Photo courtesy of Verdura

There is also this undeniable similarity between a pair of earrings made by Belperron and JAR’s later fan earrings.

Belperron Pleated Earclips

Suzanne Belperron for Rene Boivin Gold “Pleated ” Earclips
A rare of pair of gold earclips designed by Madame Belperron for Rene Boivin accompanied by a letter from expert Francoise Cailles that the earclips were made in 1932 by Boivin and the model was styled “Manchette Plissee”- Pleated Kerchief
Photo courtesy of Pat Saling via 1stdibs

A Pair of Rose Aluminum Fan Earrings designed as oversized rose aluminum fans, signed JAR, Paris. With signed suede case.

A Pair of Rose Aluminum Fan Earrings designed as oversized rose aluminum fans, signed JAR, Paris. With signed suede case.
Photo courtesy of RAF via 1stdibs

Red bead necklaces seem to have been shared by both JAR and Boivin as well, however the materials are quite different as are the vivid colors.

A Coral Torsade with Gold and Emerald Clasp,by Rene Boivin Available at FD Gallery

A Coral Torsade with Gold and Emerald Clasp,by Rene Boivin
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

Ruby Bead Necklace, JAR

Ruby Bead Necklace, JAR
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

I was so surprised by the intriguing similarities between the tassels in following two necklaces by Boivin and JAR that I had to include them in this survey, despite their differences in figurative design.

A RETRO DIAMOND AND GOLD 'PASSEMENTERIE' NECKLACE, BY RENE BOIVIN

A RETRO DIAMOND AND GOLD ‘PASSEMENTERIE’ NECKLACE, BY RENE BOIVIN
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

 A SAPPHIRE, ORIENTAL PEARL AND DIAMOND NECKLACE, BY JAR

A SAPPHIRE, ORIENTAL PEARL AND DIAMOND NECKLACE, BY JAR
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

 

Though the following comparison is arguably different, the idea of using pearls to insinuate curly hair is congruous.

JAR Sheep brooch

JAR Sheep brooch

Lot 35 - GOLD AND SEED PEARL CLIP, RENÉ BOIVIN, CIRCA 1910

GOLD AND SEED PEARL CLIP, RENÉ BOIVIN, CIRCA 1910
Designed as an ancient Chinese theatrical mask, the hair composed of lines of seed pearls
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

Lot 430 - A CULTURED PEARL, BLACK ENAMEL AND YELLOW GOLD, RAM CLIP, BY RENE BOIVIN ACCOMPANIED BY A CERTIFICATE OF FRANCOISE CAILLES

A CULTURED PEARL, BLACK ENAMEL AND YELLOW GOLD, RAM CLIP, BY RENE BOIVIN ACCOMPANIED BY A CERTIFICATE OF FRANCOISE CAILLES
Photo courtesy of Artcurial

The number of jewels by JAR that I find strikingly similar to works by Belperron and Boivin are overwhelming- consider the design of the wide clasps in darkened metal and the use of multiple strands of large pearls in these two pieces by Boivin and JAR, respectively.

A Natural Pearl and Diamond Collar Necklace, by Rene Boivin, circa 1910 Available at FD Gallery

A Natural Pearl and Diamond Collar Necklace, by Rene Boivin, circa 1910
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

Lot 355 - 18 Karat Gold, Blackened Silver, Diamond and Cultured Pearl Bracelet, JAR, Paris

18 Karat Gold, Blackened Silver, Diamond and Cultured Pearl Bracelet, JAR, Paris
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

The following pair of earclips- again by Boivin and JAR- also share intriguing similarities.

Boivin, A Pair of Art Deco 'Groseillier' Cultured Pearl Ear Clips, circa 1937.

Boivin, A Pair of Art Deco ‘Groseillier’ Cultured Pearl Ear Clips, circa 1937.
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

A Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Clips, by JAR - Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

A Pair of Natural Pearl and Diamond Ear Clips, by JAR
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

Like Boivin, JAR also uses ebony frequently in his jewels.  The overall aesthetic of each of the following ring designs by both jewelers is difficult to distinguish.

Boivin Wood Ring

A WOOD AND DIAMOND RING, BY RENÉ BOIVIN
The rectangular-cut diamond set in a wide ebony mount, size 4¼, with French assay mark for gold
With maker’s mark for René Boivin
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

JAR Wood Ring

JAR: A Wood and Diamond Ring, designed as an ebony hoop inlaid with two rose-cut pear-shaped diamonds, each win a gold wire setting, the inside of the hoop in gold, size 6, with French assay mark for gold, signed JAR Paris.
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

A really neat pair of coral bracelets by JAR take the coronet design to extremes when compared to two pairs of coronet bracelets once owned by the Duchess of Windsor.

An Important Pair of Blue Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond Bangle Bracelets, by Suzanne Belperron, circa 1935 - formerly in the collection of the Duchess of Windsor Photo courtesy of Christies

An Important Pair of Blue Chalcedony, Sapphire and Diamond Bangle Bracelets, by Suzanne Belperron, circa 1935 – formerly in the collection of the Duchess of Windsor
Photo courtesy of Christies

24747301H

A Retro Pair of Emerald and Gold Cuff Bracelets, circa 1940 – formerly in the collection of the Duchess of Windsor
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

JAR Coral Bracelets, 2011 - coral and gold

JAR Coral Bracelets, 2011 – coral and gold

 

JAR ‘Hearts’ Verdura

JAR also clearly drew inspiration for some of his works from Fulco di Verdura.  For instance, Rosenthal’s sea shell brooches and earrings are strikingly reminiscent of Verdura’s early seashell brooches.

JAR Shell Brooches

JAR Shell Brooches in the “Jewels by JAR” exhibition at the Met
Photo courtesy of The Shop Hound on Instagram

Verdura

A few of Verdura’s Shell Brooches and Compacts

Verdura Scallop shell brooch

Gold and scallop shell brooch with citrines and diamonds by Verdura

While the first photo shares only three of JAR’s shell-inspired, gem-set brooches, the JAR II book includes a few more pieces that are actual shells set with diamonds and other precious stones.  Again, JAR’s take on the shell is different than Verdura’s, but the design concept and similarity is undeniable.

JAR also drew inspiration from Verdura when he created his Night & Day Earrings in honor of Cole Porter, the musician and close friend of Verdura.

Top- Moon and Stars Pendant Earrings, 2011; sapphires, diamonds, silver, gold; private collection. Bottom- Pendant Earrings, 2011; sapphires, diamonds, silver, gold; private collection. Photo credit- Anthony DeMarco

JAR’s “To Cole Porter, Night & Day” Earrings
Top- Moon and Stars Pendant Earrings, 2011; sapphires, diamonds, silver, gold; private collection.
Bottom- Pendant Earrings, 2011; sapphires, diamonds, silver, gold; private collection.
Photo credit- Anthony DeMarco

Also following in the footsteps of Verdura (as well as Paul Flato, for that matter), JAR loved to use heart motifs in his works.  The following two examples employ similarly colored stones and pavé techniques.

Heart Bangle Bracelet, 1997 Rubies, silver, gold. Private collection

JAR Heart Bangle Bracelet, 1997
Rubies, silver, gold. Private collection

Siegelson ruby, sapphire, yellow diamond and enamel heart brooch by Paul Flato, New York, circa 1938.

Ruby, sapphire, yellow diamond and enamel heart brooch by Paul Flato, New York, circa 1938, probably designed by Verdura for Flato.
Photo courtesy of Siegelson

JAR’s ‘Bursting Heart’ brooch may have been inspired by the ‘Puffy Heart’ ring attributed to Paul Flato.

JAR Bursting Heart Brooch, 1995 Diamonds, rubies, silver, gold. Private collection

JAR Bursting Heart Brooch, 1995
Diamonds, rubies, silver, gold. Private collection

14 KARAT GOLD, DIAMOND AND RUBY 'PUFFY HEART' RING, ATTRIBUTED TO PAUL FLATO, CIRCA 1940 - Sotheby's

14K Gold, Diamond and Ruby ‘Puffy Heart’ Ring, attributed to Paul Flato, circa 1940
Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s

A series of more heart jewels from JAR and Verdura…

A Ruby and Diamond Heart Ring, by JAR - FD Gallery

A Ruby and Diamond Heart Ring, by JAR
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

Verdura ‘Wrapped’ Ruby & Diamond Heart Brooch

Verdura ‘Wrapped’ Ruby & Diamond Heart Brooch
Photo courtesy of Verdura

A Pair of Amethyst, Emerald and Ruby Ear Clips, by JAR

A Pair of Amethyst, Emerald and Ruby Ear Clips, by JAR
Photo courtesy of FD Gallery

Verdura Bowknot Heart Necklace Pendants

Verdura Bowknot Heart Necklace Pendants
Photo courtesy of Verdura

A PAIR OF AMETHYST, CHALCEDONY AND DIAMOND EARRINGS, BY JAR - Christie's

A Pair of Amethyst, Chalcedony and Diamond Earrings, by JAR, 1985
Photo courtesy of Christie’s

 

One last comparison, JAR channeled the camera-shy Harry Winston when posing with his favorite gems.

unnamed (1)

JAR’s hand full of jewels from the ‘Jewels by JAR’ book made for the Met exhibition
Photo credit: Jozsef TARI/JAR Paris

unnamed (2)

In this photo, Harry Winston holds some of his famous gems in the palm of his hand. The 125.35 carat emerald cut “Jonker” diamond is center. Just under the Jonker is the 94.80 carat pear shaped Star of the East diamond. The 45.52 carat blue Hope diamond rests between his index and middle finger. The 337.10 carat Sapphire of Catherine the Great is next to his thumb, and the 70.21 carat Idol’s Eye diamond is just above the Jonker. A matched pair of pear shaped diamonds and a larger ruby are also shown.

 

 

You Might Also Like

24 Comments

  • Reply
    Halle
    January 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Great post!

  • Reply
    dsst
    January 6, 2014 at 7:56 am

    YOU could have curated the JAR exhibit at the Met! I too was thoroughly underwhelmed and felt an opportunity had been missed. Yes, the pieces are beautiful but I wanted to know so much more. Only now, I am even less impressed w/ ‘the maverick’.

  • Reply
    Lennick
    January 6, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Excellent post. There’s no doubt that JAR’s work is exceptional but i do tire of the manufactured ‘mystery’ around him. His work is not created in a vacuum and this post illustrates the point perfectly. Well done.

  • Reply
    Scarfed
    January 6, 2014 at 9:35 am

    What an insightful, informative post. I saw the Metropolitan JAR exhibition, and came away similarly disappointed. Particularly as I was fortunate enough to be in London for his exhibition at Somerset House. There, the jewels were spread in a continuous line on black velvet, and the room was totally dark. Each visitor was given a pinlight flashlight to view the jewels, and the effect was breathtaking, particularly in the flights of butterflies and moths, many of which where back to front, so that the detail of diamond veining, a secret to all but the wearer, was visible. The numbered list given out was a bit (but only a bit) more informative than the Met’s, but there were more interesting things in the inevitable shop, such as JAR perfume! Much was made of the exclusivity of the designer and this show, a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, which wasn’t quite the case. At the Somerset show, I left wishing for my own JAR piece…at the Met, not so much. Perhaps because so many of them were unwearable, just sort of bravura? Not sure, but it was disappointing.

  • Reply
    Naomi Sarna
    January 6, 2014 at 9:58 am

    The finest review of the JAR show Thank you for your effort Naomi Sarna

  • Reply
    Karen
    January 6, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Well done! Fabulous article, I had many of the same concerns and observations. I really enjoyed your insights and your well constructed article. Thank you.

  • Reply
    14KGold
    January 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

    BLESS YOU. The Met exhibit, aside from the horrifyingly bad display (if you can barely see the jewelry, what sort of exhibit are you going for??), was pure mythologizing. Any attempt to decontextualize an artist from their time and received influence is absurd; it does disservice to their predecessors, obviously, but also undermines the artist as a creator: the modernist myth of sui generis creation paints the creator as simpleton, rather than someone who artistically reconceives influence into something truly new.

    This was a remarkably thorough analysis, and I’m very grateful for it! The examples you chose were incredibly comprehensive, and really did justice to Rosenthal’s artistry, and that of his predecessors.

  • Reply
    MdS
    January 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Hello Natalie,

    First of all congratulations on your blog, I am an absolute fan, your writing style is captivating!
    Would love to get in touch at some point to share a few words on our common passion,
    All the best, Marielle

  • Reply
    Grazia Vozza
    January 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Your article is excellent and well done.It was a real pleasure to read it……

  • Reply
    Lethe
    January 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for this interesting article; I enjoyed it very much. I’ve always gotten a certain sense of amusement from the conceit that JAR worked in a conceptual vacuum. I think it is clear that no artist works in a vacuum; they are influenced by the world around them, and that includes the smaller world of artists working in their chosen medium. You began with some excellent examples to prove your point. However, by the end, I began to wonder – to be considered original, is an artist not allowed to choose even a SHAPE that has been chosen by another artist? I think I first started to chuckle when you compared Rosenthal’s Egyptian revival pieces to Cartier’s Egyptian revival pieces. Why? Because they are BOTH copies of a previous style. But with the final example – hearts – you cheat yourself by reaching for a comparison where none exists except the basic shape. Had you left out that final comparison (and perhaps the shells), your article would have been much, much more successful in demonstrating your concluding statement.

  • Reply
    Georgia Donaldson
    January 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you for a great article. I plan to see the JAR show in February and this will help me look at the pieces with better insight.

  • Reply
    Carol Meldrom
    January 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for a well-thought-out commentary. I have just moved South from New York and did not get to see the exhibit. I “saw” it through your eyes and with your insight. Well done.

  • Reply
    Robin
    January 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    You are my idol. This is one of the best articles I have ever read and putting the end to everything that he does as purely original. No one lives in a vacuum, and jewelers have always been inspired by the past .

    And dare I say, the original Belperron, Boivin, Van Cleef, Cartier, Verdura, Oscar Heyman-like pansies, Bulgari rings, Paulding Farnham and other inspirations are in some cases even more beautiful than his. I’m going to see the jewelry at the Met on the 17th, and of course it’s something that I wouldn’t miss, but how wonderful to read a really honest review and not one of those sycophantic raves that are being churned out by the PR machines. I have heard very mixed reviews, actually more con than pro, and I can’t wait to see them with my own eyes. Some of his pieces may be very beautiful, but others look dreadfully uncomfortable and unwearable. Thank you Natalie as always for your wonderful insights.

  • Reply
    Jo Ellen Cole
    January 7, 2014 at 1:19 am

    This was a very informational post and I thank you for your time and knowledge. I was very underwhelmed by the book that accompanied the exhibit although the photography was good.

  • Reply
    Anne Marshall Danis
    January 7, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Thank you for your article. You compared thoroughly JAR’s creations with other brilliant artists who I am sure were influencers, I mean who could not ignore Pauling Farnham, Boivin, Belperron, and others when sitting down to design a jewel? And nature, the magnificence of a tulip or the beauty of a moth, they too are the inspiration. Daniel Brush and his butterflies are quite spectacular too. Same with Wallace Chan and his outrageous insects. The JAR elusiveness factor, or perhaps the exclusiveness factor is a cunning PR move, intentional or not, it makes JAR enigmatic. What I like so much about your article is that it reminds the reader that influencers are all around. To negate that is to negate all that went before. I look forward to seeing the show late January and am lucky to know and to have seen so many of the influencers you so generously provided. Again, thank you.

  • Reply
    A.B. Heyns
    May 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Dear Natalie

    I follow this blog as well as your Instagram account. I live in South Africa, so I can’t just pop out to see these amazing exhibitions on a whim. While I did see many posts about the JAR show on the web and Instagram, your article above was superb. I ABSOLUTELY love your blog – your posts on opals and peridots (among others) kept me entertained me for hours. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your efforts – please keep on doing what you do so very well. Fond regards. A.B. Heyns

  • Reply
    Weekend Update | Feather Factor
    May 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

    […] Joel Arthur Rosenthal himself. However from there, I also found this very interesting article via Jewels du Jour, about all of the jewelers which have inspired JAR. Two great pieces to read, especailly for […]

  • Reply
    dlevi67
    June 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you for a well researched and well written post – I’d like to add one more contribution/source of inspiration: Fabergé. For example, compare the rock crystal box on plate 57 of the 2001 JAR book with the (several) Fabergé “frost” pendants, such as the one illustrated on page 134 of K. Snowman’s “Fabergé Lost and Found”, or perhaps more famously the Winter Egg. Similarly for several of the flower branches and animals (e.g. JAR’s white agate rabbit earrings) – though there claiming specific “Fabergé” inspiration there is chancy; as you point out, these were common inspiration sources in the Art Nouveau period.

  • Reply
    Sophie Reyre
    June 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Extremely interesting !

  • Reply
    stephanie di bon
    August 6, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Some influence from Fabergé is also detectable. Thank you for a wonderfully intetesting blog.

  • Reply
    The ROI of JAR: The Evolution of the Legend
    November 13, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    […] first ‘investigative’ piece about JAR’s work focused on possible sources of inspiration. This time around, I find myself fascinated with the […]

  • Reply
    Cheryl Kremkow
    January 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Fabulous article and a great example why your blog is required reading for anyone serious about jewelry Nathalie!

  • Reply
    Top five tips for upcycling older jewellery into something that shines – Arabel's Adventures In Bespoke Jewellery
    June 8, 2015 at 6:12 am

    […] help increase value in some pieces, if you have some classic pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels, Jar or Cartier we wouldn’t recommend upcycling it, as it will lose its original iconic […]

  • Reply
    Eva Thomsan
    June 20, 2015 at 5:02 am

    All jewellery is looking so pretty, I like it too much, Thank you so much for sharing it. I also inspired with its blog.

  • Leave a Reply