the world’s most influential jeweler is an american recluse in paris, does not lend his jewels for the red carpet and is picky about his buyers..

{28 images} His name might not be as recognizable as Cartier or Van Cleef & Arpels, but according to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paris-based, American jeweler Joel A. Rosenthal is one of the world’s most influential gem artists. The New York museum celebrated Rosenthal’s JAR atelier with a retrospective – marking the institution’s first-ever show dedicated to a living, contemporary jeweler.

Rosenthal is famously reclusive and does not lend his designs for magazine shoots or red carpet appearances, however his jewelry is among some of the world’s most sought after auction pieces.

Raised in the Bronx, New York, the 70-year-old designer is highly regarded for his pavé work– a technique that entails setting diminutive gems in even smaller settings to create a rolling surface of stones.

More than just setting assorted gems, Rosenthal uses pavés as a method for creating multidimensional objects. Much like a painter, he uses various tones of colored stones to shade and highlight the figures he’s setting, which typically take the shape of flowers and butterflies. Rosenthal’s creative instincts began in needlepoint – another craft in which he is an expert. He is one of very few jewelers to set his pieces in dark alloy metals, which he says exemplify the hues and shine of his colored gems.

The jeweler is famously reclusive and has only exhibited his work once before, in London. He produces somewhere between 100 and 120 one-of-a-kind pieces a year in the interest of artistry, rather than widespread commercial success.  Rosenthal has been called the ‘Fabergé of our time,’ by designer Diane von Furstenberg and the ‘single greatest jewelry of our time,’ by former loyal client Ellen Barkin, who purchased more than a dozen of his pieces while married to billionaire Ron Perelman.

The creator: Joseph Rosenthal (above) is now 70 years old, but he says he has no intention of selling his company

Unlike other jewelry designs which depreciate in value after their original purchase, Rosenthal’s creations have been shown to typically double in value when auctioned.

His investment-worthy proven objects have been favored by Gwyneth Paltrow and Elle MacPherson.

Rosenthal is famously finicky about who is allowed to buy his designs, and he is known to refuse purchase when he thinks an item is not befitting of its buyer. The designer is so particular in fact, that for the only other retrospective of his work to have ever been staged (at London’s Somerset House in 2002), he required that the exhibition space  remain nearly pitch black and for the museum to provide each visitor with a flashlight so they could discover their own favorite focal points. He also required that the space be scented with his signature JAR scents, which are only presently sold in two locations – a small store in Paris and at Bergdorf Goodman in New York for $472 per ounce.



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