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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.

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Designer: Kenneth Jay Lane
1960s Kenneth Jay Lane Jeweled Gold-Tone Belt w/ Milk Glass & Rhinestones
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in San Francisco, CA
A fabulous, wide 1960s Kenneth Jay Lane jeweled gold-tone belt w/ milk glass & rhinestones set in heavy gold chain link. Adjustible between size 6-8.
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1960s American Kenneth Jay Lane

Kenneth Jay Lane Huge "Jacqueline Kennedy" Inspired "Star" Brooch
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in New York, NY
Kenneth Jay Lane's wonderfully detailed huge Jacqueline Kennedy inspired "Star" brooch inlayed in gilded silver hardware measures 2 1/2" x 2 1/2". Each petal overlays each o...
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1970s American Kenneth Jay Lane

1960s KJL Bejeweled and Encrusted Gold-Tone Mesh and Glass Cabochon Belt
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in San Francisco, CA
A fabulous and rare 1960s Kenneth Jay Lane gold-tone mesh and cabochon glass jewel belt. Jewels are all prong set and are in pink, emerald and turquoise. One turquoise cabochon is m...
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1960s American Kenneth Jay Lane

Kenneth Jay Lane Gilded Gold Floral Necklace with Attachment
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in New York, NY
Kenneth Jay Lane, who recently left us, created this wonderful elegant and adjustable gilded gold hardware floral necklace comes with an additional floral piece if needed to lengthen...
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1980s American Kenneth Jay Lane

Kenneth Jay Lane Steel Gray with Gold Accent SeaShell Brooch
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in New York, NY
Kenneth Jay Lane, who recently left us, created this wonderfully whimsical and elegant Sea Shell in steel-gray accented with gold studs brooch measures 2 1/2" in length, height ...
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1980s American Kenneth Jay Lane

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Previously Available Items
1970s Kenneth Jay Lane Wide Topaz Rhinestone Evening Belt
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A fabulous and glamorous 1970s wide Kenneth Jay Lane topaz rhinestone and gold filigree evening belt with square buckle and huge rhinestone centerpiece. Adjustable to 30" waist.
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Kenneth Jay Lane Silk Unicorn Scarf
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1970s Kenneth Jay Lane Tarot Printed Silk Scarf
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1970s Kenneth Jay Lane psychedelic printed scarf featuring psychedelic motifs in green, yellow, pink, blues, and black. The edges are hand rolled and the fore-color is a cream that c...
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1970s Kenneth Jay Lane

Rare 1960s Kenneth Lane for Rosenfeld Evening Purse with Panther Handle
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Scottsdale, AZ
A fabulous 1960s designer vintage Kenneth Lane for Rosenfeld evening purse in black leather with gold tone hand beaded handle embellished with panther heads at either side, and bejew...
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Kenneth Jay Lane Vintage Pink Purple Crystal Caged Belt Paisley Swirl Closure
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in San Francisco, CA
Kenneth Jay Lane vintage pink and purple caged style crystal cluster belt with orange and blue accents. Hook closure. Signed 'K.J.L.' at back. One size. 2 1/4" wide. 31" long...
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1960s Unknown Kenneth Jay Lane

Exquisite Kenneth Lane Jeweled Jaguar Clasp Evening Bag for Rosenfeld
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in University City, MO
Exquisite Kenneth Lane jeweled jaguar clasp evening bag c 1970 The extremely rare evening bag was a collaboration with Kenneth Lane; that were designed exclusively for Harry Rosenf...
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Kenneth Lane Jeweled Belt
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  • Kenneth Lane Jeweled Belt
  • Kenneth Lane Jeweled Belt
  • Kenneth Lane Jeweled Belt
  • Kenneth Lane Jeweled Belt
H 1.5 in. L 29.5 in.
Kenneth Jay Lane Gilded "Ram" Clasp Black and Gold Necklace
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Kenneth Jay Lane's gold hardware with black glass "onlx" necklace has gilded gold "Rams" as the closing clasp. Wonderfully elegant in details. Necklace measures 30" and 32" in l...
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Kenneth J Lane
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Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane Black Satin and Rhinestone Evening bag
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Vintage Kenneth Jay Lane Black Satina and Rhinestone Evening Bag. This bag is a jewel...it is in very good pre-owned condition.
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Kenneth J. Lane Faux Coral Bracelet, Circa 1960
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This is a rare vintage faux coral stretch bracelet by Kenneth J. Lane, from the 1960's.<br /> <br /> This bracelet is available to be viewed privately in our Beverly Hills boutique...
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Kenneth Jay Lane Vintage Cosmic Horse Brooch, Circa 1970
By Kenneth Jay Lane
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This a rare and collectible vintage cosmic horse pin by Kenneth Jay Lane, from the 1970's. The brooch is silver and gold with a simulated emerald green eye and rhinestone detail.<br ...
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Kenneth Jay Lane fashion for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers an extraordinary range of authentic Kenneth Jay Lane fashion. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Oliver Peoples, Miss Dior and , Jack McConnell appealing. On 1stDibs, find Kenneth Jay Lane fashion from top boutiques around the world, vintage and haute couture. Kenneth Jay Lane fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at US$885 and tops out at US$3,500, while the average work can sell for US$1,785.
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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