Rosenthal’s work is whimsical and extremely complex. His obsession is nature; life-size blossoms and butterflies rendered so perfectly as to appear real, were they not composed of a myriad of tiny brilliant stones in almost invisible settings. He pioneered the use of micro-pavé and perfected the technique of making a “thread” of tiny diamonds. He uses this thread to create meshes or galleries in which to set stones, for the most part eschewing traditional settings. The only metal of which he seems particularly fond is color-oxidized titanium, but he uses platinum and also mixes silver with gold of various shades. His approach to color is that of a watercolorist and he has no great interest in stones for the sake of carat size alone. Rather, he uses stones that entrance his artistic eye such as ancient pigeon-blood Indian rubies, Kashmiri sapphires, green garnets,
In 2002, this intensely private jeweler and his equally private clientele allowed 400 pieces of his work to be shown at Somerset House in
No matter the lighting conditions, the exhibition was a pure celebration of genius. Each of the 400 pieces, though divided into themes, was a highly individual work of art. There were full-sized lilac branches in diamonds and violet sapphires, flocks of butterflies with jeweled wings, a diamond serpent necklace with amethyst spots and a zebra of black and white agate with a diamond bridle and feathered plumes to mention only a few of the wonders on display. Supposedly, there were people who returned time and again to marvel at the jewels and check to see if their flashlights had missed any pieces.
When I wrote that I was going to stick my neck out and make a prediction as to which jeweler of our time would withstand the vicissitudes of time, it really wasn't too much of a gamble.