The King of Costume Jewelry: Kenneth Jay Lane


The colorful eye-catching jewelry by Kenneth Jay Lane has caught the eyes of the glamorous and famous since his collections first launch in 1963. Including Audrey Hepburn, Princess Diana of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Onassis. His impact on the fashion world has been signed with his covetable jewels still selling for incredibly large sums at Christie's and Sotheby’s auction houses.

In the interview for NY Times in 2014, he said: “My designs are all original - original from someone”. It was called the faux jewelry chic, the pure identification of costume jewelry. Everything was faux, but making good looking and being at the top of gloss people demands.

Lane’s famous recreations of jewelry belonging to celebrities coined the term "faking it". As socialites would wear his copy of their jewelry whilst keeping the precious authentic piece safe at home. Many of these replicas are still sold today!

His jewelry style popularized oversized jewelry made from plastics and other non-precious materials. Glass emeralds, resin jade and plastic turquoise were signature materials used in his collections. His inspirations came from every civilization on the planet. Taking nods and hints from Chinese, Indian and Aztec designs to capture a feeling of splendor and glamour.

Lane said: "I like to create jewelry that can be worn any time of the year, by and woman. Glamour is all year round".

Despite the “faking it” term there was always a weight to his jewelry that other costume jewelry failed to capture. No metal work was too shiny and the stones were often Swarovski crystals imported from Austria. His pieces looked like nothing else in glossy magazines as the colorful jewels took so well to being photographed.

Today his legacy is marked on most costume jewelry that we buy and see.