Our Bling Most Influential list would be incomplete without the world-renown jewelry designer and bench jeweler, Joel Authur Rosenthal.
Prior to becoming the legendary JAR, Joel Arthur Rosenthal was born in 1943 in a working class neighborhood in the Bronx. He was an only child, his Mom was a biology teacher and his Dad was a postman. He studied briefly at City College in New York before transferring to Harvard University, where he graduated with an Art History degree in 1966. He had also learned linguistics, speaking French, Italian, English and Yiddish!
Rosenthal decided to move to Paris after he graduated to work his talents as both a screenwriter and a creative artist for a designer needlepoint business adored by Hermes and Valentino. He went back and fourth from Paris to NY, working for a brief time for Bvlgari in Manhattan before finally jetting back to Paris in 1977 to open his own, appointment-only jewelry boutique on Place Vendome. He named his brand JAR after his initials.
Joel focused on creating jewelry using affordable stones and metals and his talents were off the charts! JAR quickly went on to create magnificent works of art and customers took notice. Amazingly, his business was total word of mouth, the store had no window or sign, a secret source for hand made jewelry masterpieces.
At JAR, each item is unique, one-of-a-kind. He never duplicates his work and his yearly output was 50 to 80 items a year. He created super fine pave setting in arrangements as fine as needlepoint stitches and he used different metals and colors as background to amplify the look. He worked with his partner in Paris, Pierre Jeannet.
Rosenthal’s creations became well-known among the wealthy and powerful in Europe and North America and JAR created a cult like following. His clients were friends, dealers and collectors and JAR creations were super hard to get. He had more business than he could handle and would often make special items for important clients, who invested $ Millions into his pieces.
In 2014, a JAR made diamond and garnet gold bangle sold at auction for 3.25 million Swiss francs.
Actress Ellen Barkin was an important jewelry collector while married to Billionaire Ronald Perelman, who bought her special items from JAR.
After their divorce, Barkin sold her jewelry collection at Christie’s in 2006. Including commissions the sale of Barkin’s collection added up to a whopping $20,369,200.
Joel Authur Rosenthal makes our 1,000 most influential list of people in the jewelry industry, honoring his legendary passion for creating some of the most fabulous jewels in the world.