Secret sparkle

Any jewelry lover worth her armoire full of treasures knows well — and quite likely owns — pieces by Kenneth Jay Lane.

For some five decades, the famed designer has been bringing his signature bold touch to the international fashion stage.

His vibrant brooches, earrings, bracelets and rings have adorned socialites and celebrities, notables and neighbors.

A Kenneth Jay Lane piece makes a statement – and has been doing so for much longer than the term statement necklace has been around. Just consider his client — and inspiration — list which has evolved from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana to Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker, Laverne Cox and that always-chic media darling, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (who hit the scene as Kate Middleton).

Lane’s medium since his company’s 1963 launch has been costume jewelry, that sparkling category where you get all the dazzle and much less worry. Sure, his pieces are prized, but they were never made as part of what’s termed fine jewelry.

Collectors, though, have long thought otherwise. His vintage pieces are now featured at leading auction houses, while his new couture fashion jewelry continues to appeal to admirers drawn to its look, its price and its ease.

Capitalizing on his widespread appeal, Lane teamed up with Jardin Jewelry of New York back in 2009 to launch the CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane collection. Since then, it’s grown into a most successful licensing collaboration, a true fashion-jewelry success story.

The launch itself marked Lane’s earliest work with cubic zirconia (CZ), having previously focused on crystals, pearls and the most colorful of enamels.

The CZ line was created with several factors in mind, combining an industry icon’s eye for classic styling and timeless beauty with a well-respected company to craft unique pieces that would notably feature quality manufacturing and an awareness of trends.

CZ jewelry is nothing new, of course. Offering what’s been called affordable luxury — and a most practical option when traveling — CZ’s greatest strength is having properties similar to precious gems.

CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane, in particular, features the finest CZs available, hand cut and hand set by jewelry experts who use the same techniques for precious stones.

For the collaboration, a design team under Lane’s direction creates styles that break boundaries, offering pieces notable for their artistic details. Discerning customers delight in Art Deco-inspired cocktail rings and the most delicate draping necklaces, bold jaguar-themed brooches and chandelier earrings in a rainbow of hues.

For those interested in the specifics, the CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane creations, some of which reach into the four-figure range, are molded and manufactured from brass (not base metal), each CZ hand cut and hand-prong set (not glued) with precision. Settings are then rhodium plated for a tarnish-proof shine. Box clasps and safety chains, elements that echo fine jewelry manufacturing, create a secure fit.

The collection is available around the world — and close to home. It was, in fact, featured during a recent trunk show at Mary Jane Denzer in White Plains.

With selections in categories that include vintage, special occasion, statement and the basics, the collection’s broad reach can take you from resort to restaurant, wedding to work.

CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane pieces can not only brighten up the holiday season — but will no doubt earn their place among your go-to finishing touches, selections that will continue to shine for years to come.

After all, as Lane himself has said, “Elegance, luxury and good taste never go out of style.”

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