Very rare "KENNETH LANE" Etruscan style warm gold tone circle chain with a copyright symbol. The necklace measures 16 1/2 inches long. The round links measure 1 1/8 inches wide. Excellent condition.
Kenneth Jay Lane (born 1932 - died 2017) was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of an automotive parts supplier. He graduated from Detroit Central High School, went on to study architecture at the University of Michigan, but soon transferred to the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated in 1954. He then set out to conquer New York City working in Vogue magazine’s art department, but it didn’t last long.
Mr. Lane began designing his own jewellery collection in 1962. Soon after, the fashion entrepreneur and ready-to-wear pioneer Hattie Carnegie bought his company, and he was made design director. The arrangement lasted less than a year, and he then moved into his own space in Manhattan, a small studio apartment on East 38th Street, where he designed and sold jewellery for private customers, including fans such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn as well as fashion editors and, as he put it, “husbands buying gifts for their girlfriends.”
He launched his own business in 1963 as “K.J.L.,” which he changed to “KJL” in the mid-1970s. In 1975, Mr. Lane married Nicola Weymouth, a member of London’s swinging set who achieved a small piece of cultural immortality as the subject of a portrait by her friend Andy Warhol. She and Mr. Lane were divorced within two years, and no immediate family members survive. “She was an unexportable Englishwoman,” Mr. Lane said later. “She couldn’t keep a horse and garden in New York.” They remained friends. “I’m too selfish to dislike people,” Mr. Lane once said. “I find people either interesting or uninteresting. If they’re uninteresting, I can’t be bothered, they don’t exist.”
Kenneth was especially adept at copying high-end jewellery. His clients would have him copy their own expensive pieces so that they could wear the copies without fear of losing them (or worse, being robbed of them). It was quite the status symbol to be seen wearing a copy by Kenneth. Perhaps the most famous copy was one Kenneth did for Jackie Kennedy Onassis, he gave it to Jackie free of charge for the right to sell copies. One of the copies showed up on the 1980s television show, Dynasty.
As much as he was adored by the rich and famous, which was certainly reciprocated, they were never his primary focus. From the beginning, he sought to provide beautiful, exciting jewellery for the average, everyday woman. In the 1980s, he designed a line for Avon, and in the 1990s, he made a fortune selling his jewellery on QVC.
Kenneth died in 2017. He turned the direction and ownership of his company over to his executive vice president, Chris Sheppard, who had been with the company for 20-some years and remains as president today.