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Kenneth Jay Lane

American, 1932-2017

The father of so-called “fabulous fakes,” Kenneth Jay Lane was a spirited innovator within the jewelry industry, designing elegant and luxurious pieces without the use of real jewels. And while Lane aspired to create classic designs for earrings, bracelets and necklaces intended for everyday wear, his pieces caught the attention of celebrities, royalty and socialites.

From a young age, the Detroit, Michigan-born Lane was a lover of fashion. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Michigan. He pursued a design career in New York City, and a failed start in the art department of Vogue magazine led to a decade of designing shoes for the likes of Delman and Christian Dior.

Lane would occasionally develop shoe designs for friends he had in the fashion world such as Bill Blass and Arnold Scaasi. A show for the latter afforded him the opportunity to beautify shoes with rhinestones and create bangles and earrings to pair with the footwear — he found plastic bracelets at discount variety store and had them embellished by craftspeople at a shoe factory.

A love for costume jewelry design emerged thereafter. Lane created his own collection and admirers such as Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor showered him with praise. A pearl necklace he designed was worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the early 1960s, ready-to-wear pioneer Hattie Carnegie purchased Lane’s jewelry line. Lane was given the position of design director for Carnegie but he soon changed course, moving instead into a small studio and pursuing his own path.

Lane worked with milk glass, gilded silver hardware, faux coral and other materials, and sold pendant necklaces, dangle earrings and modern bracelets to private customers. He was fond of renowned fine jewelry houses Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels and designers such as Jean Schlumberger, and cited having found inspiration in Egyptian and Indian jewelry over the years as well as Art Deco jewelry. Lane’s designs, which he called “faque” and “junque,” became well-known for their distinctive color combinations and clever characteristics such as embroidery. By the time he purchased a small jewelry factory in Providence, Rhode Island, where his accessories would be made during the 1960s, Lane had secured relationships with top Manhattan boutiques and his work had caught the attention of fashion magazines.

Directed by the filmmaker Gisèle Roman, a 2018 documentary about Lane’s life and work called Fabulously Fake: The Real Life of Kenneth Jay Lane features interviews with legendary fashion designers Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch and Diane von Furstenberg.

On 1stDibs, find a collection of vintage Kenneth Jay Lane brooches, rings and other accessories.

Average Sold Price
$485
Styles
Related Creators
KJL Kenneth Jay Lane Embellished Pave Crystal Turtle Silver Brooch, Black Enamel
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Milford, DE
A brooch by Kenneth Jay Lane. This sparkling turtle features clear pave crystals, accented with black enamel outlines on the shell. Hallmarks: Kenneth Lane, Made in USA
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Kenneth Jay Lane

Materials

Crystal, Gold Plate

Kenneth Jay Lane KJL Coral Gold Bezel Pendant Gold Link Chain Necklace
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Milford, DE
A Stylish faux coral gold bezel pendant necklace by Kenneth Jay Lane. The chic pendant hangs on a 60 cm /23.5 in gold-plated link chain. Hallmarks: Kenneth Lane
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Kenneth Jay Lane

Materials

Gold Plate

Kenneth Jay Lane KJL Dangling Cluster Faux Lapis Lazuli and Pearl Bead Earrings
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Milford, DE
Stylish pair of cluster earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane. Add some glamour to any style with these gold-plated earrings decorated with faux lapis lazuli and pearl...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Kenneth Jay Lane

Materials

Gold Plate

KJL Kenneth Jay Lane Gold Knotted Bow Drop Dangle Earrings, Contemporary
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Milford, DE
Bright gold-plated threads are tied into knotted bow links on these stylish Kenneth Jay Lane Necklace dangle earrings. Tags, Marks, Hallmarks: Kenneth © Lane, Made in USA Drop / da...
Category

2010s American Modern Kenneth Jay Lane

Materials

Yellow Gold, 22k Gold, Gold Plate

Kenneth Jay Lane Signed KJL MALTESE CROSS Pin Brooch Pendant Estate Find
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Montreal, QC
Simply Beautiful! Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane MALTESE CROSS Pin Brooch Pendant encrusted with CZ Rhinestones and Faux Coral. Approx size: 3" x 3". Signed: KJL on reverse. More Beautiful...
Category

Late 20th Century American Modernist Kenneth Jay Lane

Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane Deco Inspired Mabé Pearl Earrings 1990s
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Wilmslow, GB
A pair of Vintage KJL Mabé Pearl Earrings. A perfect find that evoke timeless style and opulence. KJL Kenneth Jay Lane. A master of costume jewellery and fabulous fakery since the 19...
Category

1990s Kenneth Jay Lane

Kenneth Jay Lane Synthesis Pearl Necklace With Red Swarovski Rhinestones
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Milano, IT
Kenneth Jay Lane Synthesis Pearl Necklace With Red Swarovski Rhinestones is a choker with large elements designed by Lane as a tribute to the Renaissance jewelers. Synthesis beads wi...
Category

1990s Kenneth Jay Lane

Kenneth Jay Lane Black Large Rigid Band Bracelet With Stones
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Milano, IT
Kenneth Jay Lane Black Large Rigid Band Bracelet With Stones is a unique design much appreciated by Diana Vreeland, which Lane had created for her. Polychrome stones on cast American...
Category

1990s Kenneth Jay Lane

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Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a range of Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry & watches available on 1stDibs. Each of these unique items was designed with extraordinary care, often using gold. While looking for the most stylish antique or vintage Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry to pair with your ensemble, you’ll find that Kenneth Jay Lane crystal jewelry & watches, from our inventory of 70, can add a particularly distinctive touch to your look. We have 264 pieces in this collection as well as a number of other designs by this jeweler. While this collection reflects work that originated over various time periods, most of these items were designed during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider jewelry & watches by Jada Jo, Marina J., and Oscar De La Renta. Prices for Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry & watches can differ depending upon gemstone, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $120 and tops out at $2,685, while pieces like these, on average, can sell for $450.
Questions About Kenneth Jay Lane
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    The impeccable costume jewelry by designer Kenneth Jay Lane, known as the “Master of Faking It,” has been made in the USA and abroad. During Lane’s early years, much of his domestic-made jewelry was produced in New York and Rhode Island, while other designs were made in factories in Asia. Some of Lane’s imported jewelry pieces are stamped with Thailand or China as the country of origin. Shop a selection of Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry from some of the world’s top sellers on 1stDibs.

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