If you look closely, you will notice the jewels in Ivy Getty’s Town & Country cover story that once belonged to her grandmother, philanthropist Ann Getty (also once a T&C cover star). And you will understand the kind of taste we are talking here.
The late Ann Getty, also a publisher, author, and paleoanthropologist, acquired an exceptional collection during her life, 12 pieces of which will be up for auction at Christie’s New York on June 8. For the jewelry world, the event is particularly groundbreaking—per Christie’s, this is “one of the largest and most important private collections of works by the visionary designer, Joel Arthur Rosenthal to appear at auction.” He is of course the super jeweler known as JAR, whose one of a kind pieces are coveted, collected, worshipped, and adored—a living legend who was the subject of a solo exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013. Several of the pieces that will be for sale at Christie’s were among them.
Collectors of JAR rarely part with their pieces—and these are not jewels you can walk in to a store and Black card your way in to wearing. Mr. Rosenthal is as discerning about who receives the privilege of owning a piece of JAR as he is about the stones that adorn them. Of Mrs. Getty he said: “From the very beginning, this lady, you, dear Ann, imagined the future of my imagination, seeing and picking the cherries that became your collection…”
How does a jewelry moment like this come to be? And just how rare is rare? T&C went straight to our source at Christie’s, head of jewelry Daphne Lignon with four things we needed to know.
How would you describe Ann as a collector-was there a unifying theme to the pieces she acquired?
Clearly Mrs. Getty approached JAR jewels much like her extraordinary collection with an eye for beauty, workmanship, and artistry. The JAR collection is comprised of three main thematic motifs—flora, fauna, and historical inspiration combined with both intense and subtle color palettes, scale and proportion.
How rare is it to have a JAR collection like this and what makes his pieces so coveted?
This is one of the largest private collections of JAR jewels to ever be offered at auction and is comprised of twelve exquisite creations. So few works are produced by Mr. Rosenthal and this represents an opportunity to acquire unique examples with a distinguished provenance.
How does it work when a client sells the pieces of a living designer? Is there a discussion with the designer first?
We are always mindful when it comes to offering significant collections of living designers and when needed, we will seek their input in order to ensure the jewels and narrative are presented in a respectful and accurate manner.
What are some of the standout pieces of this particular collection of JAR?
There are several standout jewels in the collection including the impressive emerald leaf brooch set with an emerald weighing nearly 12 cts, the elegant parrot tulip brooch that is a nod to Mrs. Getty’s Dutch heritage, the banded agate Zebra with a diamond headdress and the gem-set ‘Vitrail Fleur-de-Lys’ that is reminiscent of stained glass windows.
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