Joel Rosenthal Ear Pendants for Christie’s Auction

. August 15, 2010 . 0 Comments

Christie’s New York announce a special highlight of its October 20 Jewels sale: an iconic pair of ear pendants by Joel Rosenthal, the celebrated contemporary designer who goes by the simple moniker of JAR.

The earrings, estimated at $300,000-500,000, were cut and designed for the award-winning actress Ellen Barkin and featured in her landmark jewelry collection sale at Christie’s in October 2006 as part of group of 17 JAR creations, the largest and most significant group of JAR jewels ever offered at public auction. The sale, which achieved over $20 million total, remains one of the most talked-about events in jewelry auction history.

Francois Curiel, President of Asia and Director of the International Jewelry Department at Christie’s commented, “We are proud to re-offer these iconic ear pendants that captured so much attention from collectors and media around the world when they were first sold at Christie’s just four years ago. Whenever JAR creations come up for auction they are very much sought-after by collectors, who value their exceptional quality, exclusivity, and meticulous craftsmanship. It is not unusual for Joel Rosenthal to spend months or even years searching for the perfect gem to fit one of his unique creations, and these rare topaz stones with their unusual touch of red are the perfect fit for this stunning design.”

Measuring 2¾ inches long and one inch at their widest point, each ear pendant is set with an elongated oval-cut Imperial topaz and accented with a circular-cut diamond surround enhanced by circular-cut ruby clusters. The diamond-set link and hoop are mounted in silver and 18k rose gold. Ms. Barkin famously wore the ear pendants on the night of the Oscars® in 2005, coordinating them with a stunning orange-hued dress.

Heralded as “the Fabergé of the late 20th century”, Joel Rosenthal founded JAR in 1977 with his Swiss business partner, Pierre Jeannet. His work is defined by superior craftsmanship, a bold sense of proportion, and an innovative design aesthetic that lends a sculptural quality to all of his creations. His work is remarkable both for its imaginative settings and the diversity of materials he selects, including uncommon semi-precious stones such as coral, tourmalines, demantoid garnets, spinels, and sapphires, as well as top-quality flawless diamonds. In contrast to the production of most jewellers today, each JAR jewel is a handmade, one-of a kind creation. Because he employs traditional artisan techniques that are extremely time-consuming, only 60 to 70 items are produced each year, with each one destined to pass into the realm of the most esteemed private collections.

Although his work has enjoyed a cult-like following among the fashion cognoscenti for decades, JAR remained something of a best-kept secret until the landmark sale of the Ellen Barkin Collection at Christie’s, which drew so many exceptional examples of his work into the spotlight. Despite this newfound fame, JAR purposefully maintains a very small and private enterprise with one shop, one designer, and a staff of five. His client list remains exclusive and intensely loyal, and the company’s salon on Place Vendôme in Paris bears no sign, has no jewels on display, and may be visited only by appointment. Over the years, Christie’s has been selected to present several significant collections of JAR jewels in its salerooms. The record auction price of $1.8 million for a JAR jewel was achieved at Christie’s in New York in October 2006 for the oval-cut 22.76 carat, D color diamond “thread” ring that JAR created especially for Ellen Barkin.

Despite continued volatility in the global economy, prices for investment-quality diamonds and signed jewels have been climbing at major auction houses, driven by demand from savvy collectors seeking tangible assets. Beyond the value of the stones, jewelry from top designers like JAR tends to increase in value over time, a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship and limited availability of these jewels on the open market. At Christie’s recent Jewels: The Hong Kong Sale in June, a record price of $6.9 million (HK$ 53,860,000) was achieved for a signed Cartier diamond bracelet bearing a 49.61 carat Kashmir sapphire, and become the top price paid for any bracelet at auction. At Christie’s New York in April, a 15.76 carat rectangular-cut diamond ring by BVLGARI sold for $1.7 million to an American private collector.

In addition to the spectacular topaz ear pendants by JAR, Christie’s offers collectors a dazzling array of investment options in the form of vintage and contemporary jewels from the most celebrated designers, including Boivin, Boucheron, BVLGARI, Cartier, Mauboussin, Oscar Heyman Brothers, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others. Examples include an Art Deco Multi-Gem, Enamel and Diamond ‘Tutti Frutti’ Sautoir, by Mauboussin (estimate: $800,000 1,200,000) and a Belle Epoque Diamond Choker, by Boucheron (estimate: $200,000-400,000).

Image: Pair of Imperial Topaz, Ruby and Diamond Ear Pendants, by JAR. Estimate: $300,000-500,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2010

Category: Auction News

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