by Dr. Lori Verderame
In 1963, Kenneth Jay Lane introduced his first line of costume jewelry under the trade moniker of “K.J.L.” The monogram was used by Kenneth Jay Lane until the mid 1970s to market Kenneth Jay Lane’s costume jewelry line including specific lines of designer earrings, brooches, pins, cuffs, bracelets, necklaces, and other costume jewelry pieces.
Following his education at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, Kenneth Jay Lane was a shoe designer for Christian Dior. He also worked for the well known designer Hattie Carnegie. Lane looked to high-end and elite jewelry designers like Tiffany and Cartier for design inspiration. Like other costume jewelry designers such as Trifari, Miriam Haskell, Swarovski crystal, Renoir and Matisse jewelry, and others, Kenneth Jay Lane offered figural pieces of jewelry. These costume jewelry pieces featured animals, sea life, exotic themed pieces, etc. Kenneth Jay Lane’s costume jewelry differs in materials from sterling silver, colored gemstones, old pawn Indian jewelry, and valuable pearls, yet Kenneth Jay Lane’s costume jewelry is very well-made, attractive, and valuable.
Some of the most interesting designs by Kenneth Jay Lane are exotic-themed pieces that show an interest in African, Middle Eastern, and Asian cultures. Arm cuffs, large necklaces with prominent pendants, and long hanging earrings with multiple beads or set faux gemstones are among the most typical designs that characterize Kenneth Jay Lane’s costume jewelry.
What to Look For
Celebrities made Kenneth Jay Lane a household name as he attracted such clients as actress Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Vreeland, Audrey Hepburn, First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the Duchess of Windsor, and many others.
When it comes to Kenneth Jay Lane costume jewelry, pieces were designed using materials including enamel, coral, rhinestones, turquoise, jade, metallics, crystal, faux pave colorless stones, and plastics with applied ornamental inset or set stones. Kenneth Jay Lane costume jewelry looks high-end and stylish. It is well-made costume jewelry and the materials, while not fine jewelry status, have a stylish look.
Some of the most popular pieces by Kenneth Jay Lane are neck collars, bib necklaces, animal cuff bracelets, opera length or longer strands of white, grey, or black faux pearls, and hanging earrings.
The marks for Kenneth Jay Lane like those that may be found on other pieces of costume jewelry are important for identifying the early pieces and helpful in sorting out the fakes and forgeries, of which there are many. Many collectors of Kenneth Jay Lane costume jewelry mix and match Lane pieces with fine jewelry pieces since the Kenneth Jay Lane costume jewelry demonstrates designs that are very aesthetically pleasing. The fine jewelry look of Kenneth Jay Lane has kept his costume jewelry in the coveted collectibles market for decades.
When caring for your costume jewelry, be careful when you clean your costume jewelry pieces. Commercial jewelry cleaners that are suitable for fine jewelry made with precious metals may be harmful to Kenneth Jay Lane and other costume jewelry pieces that are made with faux gemstones and lesser quality metals.
Get an online appraisal of your Kenneth Jay Lane Costume Jewelry from Dr. Lori.