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Kenneth Jay Lane, K.J.L. Pre 1973s Snake Clasp Necklace.



A wonderful and elegant late 1960s to pre 1973 Kenneth Jay Lane necklace. It is comprised of three strands of gold .19 of an inch wide by .5 of an inch long oval links with rope twist design. The three strands of chain measure 21.75 inches, 24.75 inches and 27.75 inches long not including the 1.25 inch wide by 2 inch long snake hook and eye clasp. The snake head and tip of tail have pave' set rhinestones. The top of the snake head is set with a 4.6 mm navy blue cabochon that matches the smaller navy blue round rhinestone eyes. The snake head is hook shape at one end of the necklace and slips through the coiled snake body on the opposite end of the necklace as the closure. The piece is unsigned. However, Kenneth Jay Lane made a collection of this exact jewelry with some, but not all pieces marked K.J.L. without copyright marks denoting before 1973 when his signature was changed. The matching brooch to this collection is show with the K.J.L. signature in the third and forth photos from the end. Additionally, the second to last photo shows another version of this necklace with a large central piece of knotted serpents. Note the identical links of chain and cast snake hook closure. Additionally, a matching pair of earrings were made as show in the last photo with signature on the clip back. Lastly, there was a matching bangle bracelet. All the pieces have the same rhinestone and glass stone jewel encrusted snake heads with tongue sticking out. Some wear to gold plate on a few links and on the front and back of the snake clasp especially on the coiled body where the hook head rubbing has worn off plating. Previous owner touched up this area a bit with gold enamel.


  • Creator
  • Metal
  • Dimensions
    Height: .5 in. (12.7 mm)Width: 1.25 in. (31.75 mm)Length: 29 in. (736.6 mm)
  • Place of Origin
    United States
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Some wear to gold plate on a few links and on the front and back of the snake clasp especially on the coiled body where the hook head rubbing has worn off plating. Previous owner touched up this area a bit with gold enamel. See photos.
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU5449595572

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  • Shipping

    Ships From: New York, NY
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Designer

Kenneth Jay Lane

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.

About the Seller
Located in New York, NY
Vetted Seller
These experienced sellers undergo a comprehensive evaluation by our team of in-house experts.
Established in 2010
1stDibs seller since 2013
128 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
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