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Jewels by JAR (Joel A. Rosenthal): Our Review
12 / 03





A Picture of the Newly Released Jewels by Jar Book


In our October 5th blog we shared with you that the MET was launching an exhibit of JAR’s Jewels in November. We were excited to share the fact that a book (a catalog of the exhibit in hardcover) would be published in concert with the Exhibit’s opening and sold on Amazon for a mere $26.68. It’s chock full of colorful, unique, and jaw dropping gem-set earrings, brooches, earrings, etc. from JAR’s body of work. As JAR lovers know, published images of his work are few and far between.


The one book and auction catalog that have been published are not cheap. The book’s price tag on the secondary market is often in the $1,000-$3,000 range with the 2003 Christie’s Catalog usually selling for north of $500. A reprint of the two volume set is being offered on the MET’s website for $1,400, Volume I on its own, $750 and Volume II on its own $800. I suspect that the limit of one per person might have something to do with its secondary market value although it could just be about controlling the distribution.


We pre-ordered our copy of Jewels by JAR and it arrived last week. It’s no surprise that the day after it was released it had a “Temporarily Out of Stock” notice on Amazon, which is still the case. There is also a “Backordered” notice on the MET’s webiste. If you can get your hands on one at close to the release price, it is probably worthwhile. If the past is any indication, there’s a good chance its value will go up. Either way, it is a great reference book to have if you love jewelry or are a student of design.


The book is comprised primarily of images of JAR’s jewelry. There are 65 color images. A few of my favorites are below. There is a 31 page essay at the front of the book by Adrian Sassoon which covers JAR’s early days, his design philosophies, and a variety of interesting tidbits that make for a surprisingly enjoyable read. I love the fact that JAR will mix the antique with the modern. In the first image below, the centerpiece is an antique cameo to which he has added rubies and brown diamonds (modern cut) pavé-set into silver-topped-gold rose petals.


On the con side, I do wish that the pictures on the whole where sharper and that the details of the construction had been shared pictorially. We read about hidden details such as diamonds set into the back of earrings, there only for the owner to see and enjoy. Unfortunately, the book owner does not get to visually indulge in these hidden treats.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Cameo and Rose Petal Brooch: antique cameo, rubies, brown diamonds, silver and gold.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – The Seesaw Earrings: kunzite, pink sapphires and diamonds.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Two Pansy Rings and Two Pansy Bracelets utilizing green garnets, rubies, diamonds, black spinels, emeralds, tourmalines, topaz, chrysoberyls, and citrines.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Fountain Pendant Earrings: aquamarines, diamonds, silver and gold.



JAR Jewelry



JAR – Gardenia Ring: diamonds, silver and gold.