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The Cult of JAR

March 30, 2009

Christie's features five jewelry pieces from the reclusive jewelry designer, JAR.  See what all the fuss is about.

Nothing generates buzz in jewelry circles more than the opportunity to own a piece of true artistic genius - JAR jewels. What is JAR, you ask? JAR is actually a reclusive, publicity-shy jewelry designer, who turns out a very limited supply of brilliantly crafted baubles for those rich or worthy enough to own them.

According to Forbes.com,

"The craftsmen in Switzerland and France turning out JAR creations produce only 70 to 80 pieces a year, each of them one of a kind and many designed with a particular buyer in mind. (JAR) reserves the right to refuse to sell an item if he doesn't think it would look good on the intended wearer."

The 66-year-old artist was born Joel Arthur Rosenthal, but not unlike Madonna, Prince or Christo prefers to be addressed by one name and one name only: JAR (no periods). His Parisian shop has no display windows, no regular hours and no marketing platform - only opening its exclusive doors to a select few.

JAR's 'hard to get' marketing tactic not only brings in celebrity fans like Elizabeth Taylor an Sarah Jessica Parker, it brings in the big bucks. JAR jewels up for auction generally go for twice their original price, which is good news for Christie's as they ramp up for their New York Jewelry Sale on April 22nd.

The springtime event will feature five JAR pieces, including a stunning sapphire, diamond and pearl brooch, with a center stone weighing in at a whopping 52.57 carats. One other brooch - an emerald, chalcedony, diamond and pink sapphire piece with a 103.28-carat oval cabochon emerald - is estimated to bring in $60,000-$80,000, according to their press release.

Three JAR ear clips round out the offering, including a diamond and black diamond hedgehog pair expected to garner $20,000-$30,000; an emerald and diamond pair expected to fetch $20,000-$30,000 and a chalcedony, diamond and sapphire pair, which should bring in $25,000-$35,000.

While our troubled economy might not bode well for the other lots on the auction block, collectors are already getting their paddle hands ready for JAR's auction offerings. The cult lives on.

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