Jewelry collectors with minimum six-figure budgets have been clearing their calendars on June 8.
Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction scheduled on that date in New York City is to include 12 pieces by Joel Arthur Rosenthal, better known as JAR. They come from the estate of Ann Getty, a publisher, author, interior designer and philanthropist who died in 2020.
The Paris-based jeweler’s creations are so singular that the jewelry world considers any auction featuring more than a few of his creations to be a major event. The JAR mystique is rooted in “his designs and exceptional workmanship,” said Daphne Lingon, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas. “When you consider the quality and fantasylike nature of his design, what goes into taking it from conception to reality is dazzling.”
The collection already has been exhibited at Christie’s locations in Geneva and Hong Kong and it is scheduled to be on view in New York June 3-7.
Most of the jewels were created between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s, a relatively early period in JAR’s career, and Ms. Getty acquired them directly from the designer. The exception: a leaf brooch pavéd with emeralds, diamonds, green beryls, peridots, green garnets and green tourmalines (sales estimate $500,000 to $700,000). Several have appeared in museum exhibitions of JAR’s work at institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (in 2013 he became the first living jeweler to have a retrospective there) and at Somerset House in London.
Nine of the pieces are brooches, which Ms. Lingon described as “wonderful palettes for creation, not limited by working around a wrist or neck or finger.”
She said she has a personal affinity for a fleur-de-lis brooch set with polished amethysts, pink tourmalines and garnets that was meant to resemble stained glass. “It has a curvature and height and depth and is exceptional in terms of execution,” she said. “Each cell has a different stone with a flowing, almost wavy texture like old glass.”
The designs, Ms. Lingon added, are like a highlight reel of JAR signatures. “It ticks all the boxes and represents his inspirations: flora and flowers, fauna, historical references.” And one — a parrot-tulip brooch set with rubies, pink sapphires, green garnets, green tourmalines and diamonds using the delicate pavé technique characteristic of the jeweler’s work — was a nod to Ms. Getty’s Dutch heritage, she said.
The Getty connection has magnified interest in the collection, according to Simon Teakle, a former Christie’s director who now owns a jewelry gallery in Greenwich, Conn. “There is tremendous intrigue with things connected to public figures,” he said, “and Mrs. Getty had a sense of style when it came to jewelry and paintings or decoration.” Besides, he added, “Things with provenance are always more valuable.”
Sharon Novak, a curatorial adviser whose clients include collectors, museums and several jewelry houses, agreed. “I would not be surprised at all if several of the pieces exceed prior records, particularly those that were loaned for the Somerset House and Met exhibitions,” she said. “This is an opportunity that no serious collector should be able to resist.”