The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Jewels by JAR exhibit, a retrospective of more than 400 works by Paris-based fine jewelry designer Joel A. Rosenthal, opened last week, and we couldn’t be more intrigued. The artist—originally from New York City—has worked under the name JAR for more than thirty-five years, and is known for his sculptural designs in vibrant colors and shading created by a special pavé technique. The newly opened exhibit is the first retrospective in the United States of his work, and the first exhibit at The Met devoted to a contemporary artist of gems. Rosenthal, who once said, “we are not afraid of any materials,” uses metals as strong as platinum and as lightweight as aluminum as bases for his creations, and experiments with a variety of forms, designs, and themes.

What makes these jewels exhibit-worthy? Each JAR piece is unique and three-dimensional. The other half of the JAR team, Pierre Jeannet, notes Rosenthal’s extreme perfectionism when it comes to his work. “At every step of the making of a piece, he checks and corrects. And if at the end his eye is not happy, we destroy the piece,” he said. “But the piece, finished, is not yet at home; his last look is to see that the jewel has gone to the right lady. Then he sighs, his work is done.” Jewels by JAR is open now until March 9, 2014 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Visit metmuseum.org for tickets and further information. 

Can't make it to the museum? Click through the gallery to see our favorite pieces from the exhibit.

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