Sugar et Cie Logo
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.


10 / 09




Just in time for Halloween, the Museum of London is launching a major new jewelry exhibition shrouded in mystery. On October 11th (running through April 27, 2014) The Cheapside Hoard: London’s Lost Jewels, which investigates the secrets of around this unusual discovery, opens to the public.


In 1912, a treasure or hoard of 500 plus jewels was discovered buried in the earthen floor of a cellar on Cheapside. The jewels are Elizabethan and Jacobean in style, dating to the 16th and 17th century. A little background here… Cheapside is a street in the City of London. In the early 1600’s, it was home to many Goldsmiths and their grand residences and was thought to be one of the prettiest streets in London.


There’s a great article in the Telegraph (Vivienne Becker, October 4th) with more background on the discovery. Here’s their description of the area during the period. “It seems everything in the way of gems, gold and silver could be found on Cheapside. It was noted for its magnificent jewellery displays, and its south-west end was known as Goldsmiths’ Row. The Bond Street of its day, it was the heart of London’s international gem and jewellery trade.” The Cheapside of this period was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and later rebuilt. I wonder if the fire had anything to do with the 300 years between the burial of the treasure and the delay it its discovery. I’m sure more information will be available when the exhibition opens.




Ruby and diamond brooch


© Courtesy of Forbes and The Museum of London





Ruby and diamond brooch


© Courtesy of Forbes and The Museum of London



See more highlights and pictures of the jewels on our Pinterest Board: Historic Jewels.


And now to the mystery. No one knows why the hoard was buried, who the owner was, or why it remains unclaimed 100 years after its discovery. According to the Cheapside Initiative (an organization currently chartered with turning the area into a retail and leisure destination), the Exhibition will explore the mysteries of the Hoard, thought to represent one of the goldsmith’s stock-in-trade.




The Museum of London has asked the famed, master perfumer Roja Dove to create a scent that reflects the time period. It will be displayed next to a white enamel, gold, and jewel encrusted scent flask. The perfume will include aromatics popular in 17th century England. Roja has blended tonka bean, lavender, rose and rich spices in order to create an intoxicating fragrance “fit for the dazzling treasure trove, that is the Cheapside Hoard.” If you are interested in antique scent flasks, vinaigrettes, and other perfumers that create customized blends, visit a few of our past blogs on the topic: Scent Flasks and The Secrets of Scent Laden Jewels.




According to Vogue’s Carol Wooten, Jewellery Editor for British Vogue, who had the opportunity to preview the exhibition “… the first thing I thought when I saw the Cheapside Hoard was how incredibly fresh it was, the colors, the work, the gold.” She goes on to comment on the fact that she can recognize pieces and trends from the collection that we are wearing today: sliced stones, sliced diamonds, long chains (one might wear now with jeans). My favorite observation from Carol is that while the fashion may not translate over the centuries, the jewelry does. It’s quite possible that someone might see a piece from the Hoard on the cover of Vogue and potentially ask – where can I get that? I couldn’t agree more!


This perfectly captures our philosophy on antique jewelry and the approach we take in developing our collections at Sugar et Cie. We believe that that there are many period pieces that fit with today’s fashion aesthetics. We look for those necklaces, earrings, bracelets etc. that have a one-of-a-kind appeal. You can see the beauty and feel the luxury that accompanies jewels crafted by hand; one artist, one vision, from the beginning…to the end.


10 / 05




For all of you jewelry fanatics out there, an exhibition entitled: Jewels by JAR, is opening at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art during the month of November. It’s scheduled to run through March of 2014. The Met’s exhibit will feature 150 pieces from the jewelry designer, Joel A. Rosenthal (JAR), created during the last twenty-five years.


If you’re not familiar with JAR’s work. Here are a couple of pieces from Christie’s sale last year. Below is a camelia brooch by JAR, pavé set with 173.09 carats of rubies in silver over gold. It sold for $4,319,591 in Christie’s “Jewels for Hope: The Collection of Mrs. Lily Safra” sale (May of 2012).


Ruby Camelia brooch by jeweler JAR

Courtesy of French Vogue and Christie’s


Another of our favorites from JAR and the Christie’s sale: An emerald, pearl and diamond ring set in platinum. The lot description includes the fact that the emerald was tested by the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute, and is of Colombian origin with a moderate amount of oil. It sold for $521,200.

Emerald ring by jeweler JAR



Courtesy of French Vogue and Christie’s


Joel A. Rosenthal was born in New York, but started his career in Paris in textiles. For the past thirty-six years, he has had his atelier in the Place Vendôme. He creates a limited number of pieces each year and his client list is so exclusive that you have to be invited to be a client or know someone in order to visit his atelier. Or so it is rumored.




A limited number of his jewels have been seen by the public via publication or exhibition. A book published in 2002, accompanied one of the few exhibits of his work, this one at Somerset House in London. The First Edition is out of print and difficult to find.


When one does pop up, it sells for more than the price of a couple of ounces of gold (current price for the book, used, on Amazon is $3,500). It looks likes a Second Edition was reprinted this year (2013). I don’t know if there are differences in the editions, but the market price seems to be better. A handful of the second edition (not to be confused with the Christie’s Catalog with a similar title) are listed on Abe Books, priced in the range of $900 to $1000, at the time this post was published.


If you are dying to get your hands on a book that includes pictures of JAR jewels at a reasonable price, Amazon is pre-selling the catalog: Jewels by JAR (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in Hardcover by Adrian Sassoon, for the upcoming exhibition at the Met. Although it only includes 40 images, at $26.23 it seems like a bargain!