As elusive as he is talented, Joel Arthur Rosenthal (known among insiders by his initials JAR), began fashioning jewelry four decades ago, after obtaining a degree in art history from Harvard. The self-taught New York designer opened a nondescript salon on Paris’s Place Vendôme in 1977, where he still hosts loyal clients. Rosenthal’s designs are astonishing sculptural works that focus on colorful stones (from amethyst to sapphires and everything in between) and many are set in a blackened, silver-gold alloy he developed. He crafts no more than 100 pieces each year, most of which are commissions, and the whimsical, impeccably detailed pieces consistently commanded high prices at auction. To date, 14 JAR pieces have sold at auction for more than $1 million each, and at a Sotheby’s event last winter, a pair of his diamond spiral ear clips sold for $225,000. Collector Lily Safra’s ruby Camellia brooch fetched the highest price of any JAR design at auction, selling for $4.3 million in 2012.