November 26, 2022

paradisofashion

Fashion takes it to the next level.

Ann Getty’s $1.5 million JAR jewelry is headed to auction

6 min read

Most women in elite social circles who collect pricey jewelry wear them as instructed: brooches below the collar bone, one earring per lobe, necklaces cascading down cleavage. And then there was Ann Getty, the red-haired society swan who passed away at 79 in 2020. Married to oil heir Gordon Getty, she was aunt to trans model Nats Getty, grandmother (practically mother) to Ivy Getty, and daughter-in-law to tycoon J. Paul Getty, whose oil empire funded the family’s massive fortune. She was also a fashion trendsetter.

Ann had a famously cavalier way with her gems, wearing earrings as brooches and brooches all over her body, including at her hip. Now her collection of prized gems — created by jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal, aka JAR — are headed for auction at Christie’s New York on June 8.

Famously elusive and exclusive, Rosenthal insisted on personally vetting and approving each client before agreeing to sell to them. “The privilege of being able to buy Rosenthal’s pieces is about having a bank account and discernment,” said a source close to the Getty family. “If he didn’t want you to have his piece, he would refuse to sell to you. He wanted to sell to clients who understood what he was doing.”

Ann Getty
Back in the 1980s, Ann Getty was at the center of the social scene, from her home base in San Francisco to New York. Here, the fiery-haired doyenne is seen sporting the JAR Vitrail Fleur-de-Lys brooch at the Literacy Benefit at Lincoln Center in 1985.
Rose Hartman/Getty Images
Ann Getty
Ann Getty, clad in a red gown and JAR’s Fleur Pompons brooches, at her husband’s annual birthday party in their San Francisco home.
Drew Altizer Photography

Money and status helped with this “understanding,” but did not guarantee access. Ann — who sat on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library — proved her worth by giving her JAR pieces the starring role in many of her outfits.

To her husband’s 76th birthday gala, she donned a red gown with three JAR Fleur Pompons brooches clipped to her breast. To the 2017 San Francisco Symphony, she rocked an enormous pink tulip brooch at her sternum, and to Gordon’s 80th birthday bash at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, she fastened her circa 1989 leaf brooch to the shoulder of her blouse.

“Ann’s style was bold, unapologetic, sophisticated, creative, and daring,” Anna Getty, Ann’s great-niece, told The Post. “[Her style] was utterly her own.”

A carved agate zebra brooch with diamonds and sapphires is expected to sell for between $50,000-70,000.
A carved agate zebra brooch with diamonds and sapphires is expected to sell for between $50,000-70,000.

A colored sapphire and spinel shell-shaped brooch from 1990 is worth up to $120,000.
A colored sapphire and spinel shell-shaped brooch from 1990 is worth up to $120,000.

The Vitrail Fleur-de-Lys brooch is made with polished amethysts, pink tourmalines, garnets and round diamonds, and is expected to sell for anywhere between $80,000-$120,000.
The Vitrail Fleur-de-Lys brooch is made with polished amethysts, pink tourmalines, garnets and round diamonds, and is expected to sell for anywhere between $80,000-$120,000.

The leaf brooch is decorated with 11.96 carats of emeralds, beryls, peridots, garnets, tourmalines and diamonds, and could go for as much as $700,000.
The leaf brooch is decorated with 11.96 carats of emeralds, beryls, peridots, garnets, tourmalines and diamonds, and could go for as much as $700,000.

Throughout much of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ann purchased 12 pieces from JAR, a collection which is expected to fetch more than $1.5 million at auction, with proceeds going to the Ann Getty Trust.

Ann’s granddaughter Ivy, 27, who married her photographer boyfriend in an over-the-top three day extravaganza last year, has sported several of the pieces herself recently. She wore a zebra brooch for a May 2022 Vogue photo shoot and earrings as brooches to the 2022 Met Gala. In fact, Ivy’s entire Met Ball look was a tribute to her grandmother: Her Oscar de la Renta gown was constructed using one of Ann’s tablecloths.

“[Ann] didn’t keep these [pieces] locked up in a vault. She wore them all the time…she wanted me to just appreciate her things as art,” Ivy told Vogue earlier this month.

In 2005, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles joined Ann Getty, who wore JAR’s Fleur Pompons, for a performance of Beach Blanket Babylon at San Francisco's Club Fugazi.
In 2005, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles joined Ann Getty, who wore JAR’s Fleur Pompons, for a performance of Beach Blanket Babylon at San Francisco’s Club Fugazi.
ZUMAPRESS.com
Ivy Getty, Ann's granddaughter, wears the same pansy earrings in the style of her grandmother — as brooches at her breast and hipbone — to the 2022 Met Gala.
Ivy Getty, Ann’s granddaughter, wears the same pansy earrings in the style of her grandmother — as brooches at her breast and hipbone — to the 2022 Met Gala.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Ann wore her JAR jewels both boldly and casually: On the drapery of a gown to Patron’s Dinner for the 1991 Black and White Ball, on the collar of a black cashmere tee shirt for Gordon’s 85th birthday party at their San Francisco home.

She was a hostess who could effortlessly organize a black-tie dinner party for 60, but also spent much of the 1990s on her hands and knees digging for artifacts on expeditions in Ethiopia and Turkey as a fellow with the Leaky Foundation. In between digs, Getty would throw on her couture — and one of her JAR treasures — with minimal prompting.

JAR-MULTI-GEM-AND-DIAMOND-OAK-LEAF-EARRINGS-1
The oak leaf earrings boast round pink and green tourmalines, garnets, amethysts, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds. Rosenthal designed them in 1988, and they’re expected to sell for $100,000-150,000.

JAR-MULTI-GEM-COLORED-DIAMOND-AND-DIAMOND-MULTICOLORED-BOUQUET-BROOCH-1
The bouquet brooch may sell for as much as $250,000.

JAR-MULTI-GEM-DIAMOND-AND-LACQUER-PARROT-TULIP-BROOCH-1
A multi-gem and lacquer parrot tulip brooch won’t sell for less than $200,000, Christie’s said.

JAR PAIR OF CITRINE, GARNET AND DIAMOND 'PANSY' EARRINGS
The pansy earrings that Ivy Getty wore to the Met Gala are worth $100,000-$150,000.

JAR PAIR OF SAPPHIRE, DIAMOND, TOURMALINE AND GREEN GARNET 'GREEN ORCHID' BROOCHES
A pair of sapphire, diamond, tourmaline and green garnet orchid brooches may sell for as much as $150,000 at auction.

JAR PINK TOPAZ AND DIAMOND EARRINGS
One of the less pricey pieces in the collection include a pair of pink topaz and diamond earrings that are worth between $60,000-$80,000.

JAR SAPPHIRE, DIAMOND AND GREEN GARNET EARRINGS
These sapphire, diamond and green garnet earrings are expected to sell for anywhere between $200,000-$300,000.

JAR THREE DIAMOND, RUBY AND COLORED SAPPHIRE 'FLEUR POMPONS' BROOCHES
Three diamond, ruby and colored sapphire Fleur Pompons brooches are worth up to $300,000.

“With San Francisco society women, like author Danielle Steele, you noticed the jewelry collection because it was always on display,” said a family friend who lives four blocks from the famous Getty mansion in Pacific Heights. “With Ann, though, she would put a brooch on her shoulder or on the bustle of her skirt, which made the whole look seem less flashy.”

In the past, Rosenthal, who is now 79 and living in Venice, hasn’t looked favorably on clients who’ve sold off his creations. He hasn’t spoken to Ellen Barkin since she famously dispensed with her collection of JAR pieces during her divorce from industrialist Ron Perelman in 2006.

But Ann, who never publicly spoke about her JAR collection, still seems to have his support. Though Rosenthal declined to comment for The Post, he paid tribute to his old client in the Christie’s brochure:

Ann and Gordon Getty at his 85th birthday party
Ann and Gordon Getty at his 85th birthday party, which the couple hosted at their Pacific Heights residence. Ann wears the agate zebra brooch from JAR on her collar.
Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography
Ann and Gordon Getty descend the steps at the Patron's Dinner for the 1991 Black and White Ball. Ann is wearing one of the pansy earrings as a brooch on her black gown.
Ann and Gordon Getty descend the steps at the Patron’s Dinner for the 1991 Black and White Ball. Ann is wearing one of the pansy earrings as a brooch on her black gown.
Jerry Telfer/Getty Images
In 1998, Ann Getty wore the bouquet brooch at the hem of her dazzling jacket at the San Francisco Opera opening of its 75th season in the newly renovated opera house.
In 1998, Ann Getty wore the bouquet brooch at the hem of her dazzling jacket at the San Francisco Opera opening of its 75th season in the newly renovated opera house.
Liz Hafalia/Getty Images

“From the very beginning, this lady, you, dear Ann, imagined the future of my imagination, seeing and picking the cherries that became your collection.”

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