8: The JAR ‘Parrot Tulip’ Bangle: The jewel that fomented a frenzy
In November 2014, lot 305 in the Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction — a ‘Parrot Tulip’ bangle created by JAR in 1994 — carried a relatively conservative estimate of CHF 190,000-290,000. The bangle had been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the previous year, but few were prepared for the auction contest that followed between two telephone bidders.
Mainly made of gold with some diamond and garnet accents, the jewel was finally hammered down for an astonishing CHF 3,525,000, its value determined by the sheer artistry of master jeweller Joel Arthur Rosenthal.
Rosenthal first made his reputation in Paris in the 1960s, partnering with Pierre Jeannet in a tiny boutique that created needlepoint art with wool threads of unexpected colours. He went on to apply the same artisanal spirit to jewellery, opening a salon with Jeannet in Place Vendôme. He named it JAR after his initials.
JAR produces only 70 to 80 pieces a year for the most exclusive clientele. He is is acclaimed for the sculptural splendour of his designs, his ingenious pavé work, and for juxtaposing stones with a sense of colour that is his alone.
Rosenthal has been the subject of three solo exhibitions: in 1987 at the National Academy of Design in New York; at Somerset House in London in 2002; and in November 2013 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York — the first time the museum had accorded a dedicated retrospective to a living jewellery designer.
Content courtesy: Christie’s