Goldsmith and historian Peter Shemonsky discusses jewelry fabrication techniques at last year’s Northwest Jewelry Conference. The 2019 edition of the event is set for Aug. 9-11 in Seattle. (Photo credit: Robert Weldon)
Seattle—Renowned jewelry designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal, better known simply as JAR, fascinates many a jewelry lover, both with his exceptional creations and his reclusive nature.

One of the most important modern-day designers, JAR caters to an exclusive clientele from his unmarked storefront in Place Vendôme in Paris.

His workshop produces less than 100 pieces per year, and his creations have sold for millions at auction.

While the designer tends to stay out of the spotlight, attendees of the upcoming Northwest Jewelry Conference, slated for Aug. 9 to 11 in Seattle, will be treated to an exclusive look into his world, courtesy of one of the designer’s close friends.

Noted jewelry historian, writer and educator Amanda Triossi will provide a revealing look at the preeminent artist, sharing insights and stories, and providing an in-depth look at JAR’s inspirations and impact on other designers.

Standalone tickets for the opening session on JAR and the reception on Friday night, Aug. 9, will be made available to the general public for $125.

For those attending the entire conference, Triossi also will delve into a personal passion through “The Jeweler’s Art of the 1960s-1970s,” which will tie into a 2020 exhibition she is cataloging for the Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts.

Other sessions scheduled for the Northwest Jewelry Conference include “A History of Cameos and Intaglios” by Carol Elkins, senior vice president of jewelry for Sotheby’s, in which she will delve into judging quality, collectability and current values.

Meanwhile, Ulysses Grant Dietz, past chief curator of the Newark Museum, will look at the world of collectable silver jewelry in “Hi Ho, Silver!”

There also will be sessions from two veterans who contribute to the event every year.

Diana Singer, a well-known estate jewelry dealer, frequent lecturer and president of the American Society of Jewelry Historians, will give a talk titled “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming,” exploring the opulent historical jewels of Mother Russia and where they are now.

Singer also will provide insights for collectors in the session “From Creating to Dissolving Your Jewelry Collection.”

Peter Shemonsky, goldsmith, historian, course writer and frequent expert on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow,” will present “Rough, Tumbled, Carved and Polished,” exploring the lapidary arts and the statements made in jewelry design.

He also will look at “Modernist Art Jewelry of England and Europe,” which will include a peek into the cataloging of a major upcoming exhibition, according to conference organizers.

Additionally, Antique Jewelry University creator Suzanne Martinez and Starla Turner, staff gemologist for Lang Antiques, will lead a hands-on workshop, “Period Dating: Rings from 1900 to 1950.”

Full tickets for the conference, held at Seattle’s Cedarbrook Lodge, are still available. It costs $795, which includes daytime meals and the reception.

For more information or to register, visit

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