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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.


09 / 24




What is typically a dominant trend on the runways for Spring has become a hot trend for Winter – Pastels. Beautiful Jordan Almond colored pastels are everywhere. Dive into the trend with a full length winter coat in cotton candy pink from Jonathan Saunders or in blush from Zara. You can always take a more restrained approach by investing in pastel colored accessories that can be worn all year round.



© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



These Tahitian cultured pearl and diamond earrings were created by Sugar et Cie and are one of a kind. The drop earrings feature Tahitian cultured pearls, one of which is a vivid peacock blue, and the other is a pale, icy blue/silver-grey. The entire setting is in 18 kt white gold. There are thirty-six brilliant cut diamonds set into white gold, sea-star shaped caps. In contrast at the top of the earring, is a single modern rose cut, white diamond set in a hexagon-shaped white gold bezel.



© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



These cultured baroque pearl and diamond earrings were created by Sugar et Cie and are a one-of-a-kind jewel. Each pearl has a slightly different hue of pink. One is peach-pink with golden overtones and the other is lavender-pink, with a blue iridescence. Each is topped by two sparkling, white, brilliant-cut diamonds, bezel set in 18 kt white gold, for a total of 2.4 carats.




These are our favorite pastel catwalk pics from British Vouge’s coverage of Fall/Autumn Fashion Week.


Jenny Packham Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear 2013


Jenny Packham Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear 2013




Dior Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear 2013


Dior Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear 2013




Carven Autumn/Winter 2013


Carven Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear 2013




Carven Autumn/Winter 2013


Carven Autumn/Winter Ready-to-Wear 2013


07 / 30




I firmly believe in high performance investments. Especially when it comes to fashion. If you’re going to make an investment in a piece, you should make sure that you get the most out of it. It doesn’t matter if your investment is in high street or high fashion, the same rules still apply. The three most important things to consider when making those investments are: Versatility, Quality and Look.



Versatile Pieces: From Summer to Winter

A mid-weight, tweed jacket and a good pair of white or cream jeans are wardrobe staples worthy of investment. Choose color combinations like black & white that move easily from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter. With a few swaps (white tee or tank to cashmere sweater and open toe heels to boots) you can wear your investments a good portion of the year.




Not really… Whether you spend $200 or $2,000, make sure it’s of quality material and construction (see the timeless Vintage Chanel Boucle jacket below), and that it looks good on you. If it falls apart after 6 months or doesn’t really fit you, then it’s not worth the investment. I have an Alexander McQueen, black and white fitted tweed jacket that I bought six years ago. I can throw it over a tee or a cami and it instantly elevates whatever I have on. To me, it was definitely worth the investment.


The Little Bird on 1st Dibs






Choosing pieces that can be worn during the day and that can make the transition easily to night, is another way to maximize the value you get out of your investment pieces.




Versatile Investment Pieces



1 – Nothing beats a pair of well-made, black cigarette pants that can be worn with a white button down during the day and a silk cami at night. What makes this transition possible? The fit and style of the pants (narrow leg, ankle length). What makes it a good investment piece? Its versatility and the quality of the material (100% lightweight wool) and the construction.


2 – Get more from a pair of black heels by choosing ones that can make the day to night transition. This pair from Lanvin has a closed toe and a hidden platform that work well for day. The pointed toe, ankle strap, and python texture provide enough edge to allow the transition to evening.


3 – I love this deep red alligator bag from Vintage Skins, an online boutique that has a large selection of beautiful vintage handbags in exotic skins (alligator, lizard, python, etc.). The silver chain detail on this particular bag makes it a great option for night without screaming “evening bag” during the day.





Day to Evening Basics





The same rules of Versatility, Quality and Look also apply to your investment in jewelry. Get the most out of your investment by buying pieces that can be worn with either jeans or a cocktail dress.



Antique Paste Earrings


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



Of course, not every piece you buy needs to be versatile to be worth the investment. It is nice though to have a handful of pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. A pair of antique paste or diamond drop earrings are a good example. They are simple, add a lot of sparkle, and always elevate your look.



Antique Gold Watch Chain


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



An interesting antique gold or silver chain is another piece of jewelry that can be worn with almost anything. Mix and layer it with other chains, wear it by itself, or dangle your favorite pendant.





© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



If you invest in quality pieces that you love, you won’t regret the investment.

06 / 21


Marie Antoinette’s Style Inspirations


Marie Antoinette, the Dauphine of France from 1770-74 and the Queen of France from 1774 until 1792, was a trendsetter as royals often were then, and some still are now (e.g. Kate Middleton). Princess Eugenie, Napoleon’s wife and Empress of France (1853-70) almost one hundred years later, was somewhat obsessed with Marie Antoinette’s style. Eugenie collected items that belonged to her, commissioned diamond pins that were based upon Marie Antoinette’s dress ornaments and posed for a portrait in 18th century dress said to be similar to one of Marie Antoinette’s. The Empress was not alone. Other women in the 19th century were also enamored with her style and collected paste buckles, memorial rings, and lockets from her reign.(1)


We are still obsessed with the romance and the extravagance of Marie Antoinette’s style. Prices continue to soar for jewelry from the period as well as items purported to have been owned by her. Last year a pair of her white silk mules, adorned with tri-colored silk ribbon, sold for $57,000 at auction in Toulon, France.


Below is a collection of evening shoes inspired by her style. They include actual examples of 18th century evening slippers, a few from French designers circa 1950/60 (Roger Vivier for Dior), and a handful from current designers that we think represent the spirit of her style: studded with “strass”, woven with lace, and adorned with silk flowers.



Style Cues: Marie Antoinette



Item of the Week: Paste Buckle Cuff in Versailles Blue


We’ve created a modern collection that incorporates the beautiful workmanship and sparkle of the 18th and 19th century paste shoe buckle and the color and luxury of Alligator. The latest addition to our Spun Sugar Bracelet collection is the Antique & Modern: Georgian Paste Buckle and Alligator Cuff Bracelet in Versailles Blue. Keep reading and we think you’ll see the connection.

Georgian Paste Buckle on Alligator Cuff

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013



Marie Antoinette’s Style Portrayed via Film


The most recent incarnation of Marie Antoinette by Hollywood was in 2006, directed by Sophia Coppola and staring Kirsten Dunst as the Dauphine. It is worth watching for the extravagant, candy-colored imagery alone. You can see why the film won the Academy Award for best costume design. Annie Leibovitz, in another feast for the eyes, captured a slightly edgier version of Kirsten as Marie Antoinette for Vogue, in September of the same year. It’s worth taking a minute to see the entire layout still available on their site.



Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2006



Items of the Week: Antique Paste Earrings and Vintage Diamond Rings


Marie Antoinette was not only famous for her style but also infamous for the amount of sparkle she managed to incorporate into her wardrobe. You may not know that she liked to mix her paste jewels in with her diamonds and other precious gems. She literally sparkled from her head, pinning paste pieces into her sky-high hair, to her toes (paste buckles on her shoes).



Antique Paste Earring on Blue Ribbon

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Why not take a style cue from Marie Antoinette and mix antique paste and vintage diamonds? Wear our Antique: Double Collet-Set Antique Paste in Silver, Drop Earrings, with a stack of your favorite vintage diamond rings on your first finger. Browse through our Stacking Rings Collection.



Vogue Shoot by Annie Leibovitz Topic the film Marie Antoinette

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2006


A Vintage Diamond Ring on a Candy Stick




Vintage Diamond Rings on a Candy Stick


© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013




(1) “Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria,” by Charlotte Gere, Judy Rudoe, The British Museum.

H1: Evening Shoes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, House of Dior, 1957, Designer: Roger Vivier (French, 1913–1998).

H2: Slippers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1780–89, European, Medium: Silk.

H3: Slippers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1720–39, France, Medium: Silk and Leather.

H4: Evening Shoes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, House of Dior, 1960, Designer: Roger Vivier (French, 1913–1998).

C1: Flora, by Charlotte Olympia.

C2: Swan, by Manolo Blahnik at Barney’s.

C3: Embroidered Lace Point-Toe Halter Pump, by Rene Caovilla at Bergdorf Goodman.

C4: Pigalle Strass, by Christian Louboutin. CL appears to be a fan of the sparkle of paste – Strass is the French word which translates to paste, also associated with the jeweler that developed its reputation for quality in 18th c. France.

C5: Au Hameau, by Christian Louboutin. The silver is sold out, but a gold version is available at Barney’s. CL appears to also be a fan of Versailles/Marie Antoinette. Hameau de la Reine was built for her.

04 / 18


French, Blue Enamel and Gold Star Earrings: Starry Skies


Our item of the week, is this delicate vintage pair of 1950’s blue enamel and gold earrings. When we discovered them, they were a pair of cufflinks. We could not resist the small gold stars painted on the blue enamel with a diamond moon at the center. The enamel panel is framed in gold with additional etched stars. Hence the name – Starry Skies. We added 18kt gold lever backs and a few additional diamonds (stars falling from the sky) linked to the ends to give them movement and additional sparkle. For more information on this item, visit the the Spun Sugar Collection at Sugar et Cie.


French Blue Enamel,Gold Star, and Diamond Earrings


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French Enamel


To put it simply, enameling is the process of fusing a mixture of ground glass to metal through the application of high heat. It is a complicated process that requires great skill and training. A wide range of vivid colors can be created. Jewelers love the endless color possibilities and enjoy creating pieces that would not otherwise be possible through the use of colored gemstones alone. The French are well known for the quality of their enamel work. Over many centuries they, and others, developed many different techniques for working with enamel, but are probably the most well known for the painting of enamel that flourished in Limoges, France. Cartier and Lalique, are two excellent 20th century examples of french jewelers who incorporated enamel work into many of their famous pieces of jewelry.


Wear it with Blue and White


These earrings are great for the upcoming season. They are full of sparkle and shine. Wear them with pink, red, black, anything really, but we think they would look amazing for summer with blue and white. The following are three different looks, featuring white dresses and blue accessories.

Summer Blues


As pictured: Soft Multi-Layer Dress, by James Perse at

As pictured: Wide Strapped Ruched Dress, by James Perse at

As pictured: Masada Dress, by Bailey 44 at



As pictured: T-Strap Platform Sandal, by Giuseppe Zanotti

As pictured: Strapped Peep Toe Bootie, also by Giuseppe Zanotti

As pictured: Arella Suedette Platform shoes, at

An alternative: Miss Benin, by Christian Louboutin.