Reinventing Lace

GIA
December 26, 2013
Photo courtesy Neil Lane Jewelry
Step into our time machine. Travel back about one hundred years. You have now arrived in Edwardian England (1900 -1915).

You’re at an elegant ball at a duke’s estate. Young princesses and grande dames parade about the aristocratic affair, their stunning jewelry sparkling with triumphal laurel wreaths, ribbons, and filigree.

Fast-forward to the present, and lacey jewelry is making a comeback. Big fashion houses are filling the pages of women’s magazines with haute couture lace clothing. Dresses…shirts…scarves – lace is the look of the day.

Handcrafted items are also popular, and they’re stoking demand for products with an antique appearance. Consumers have been bitten by the nostalgia bug – a grounding look in a fast-changing world – and jewelry designers picked up on this.

"Lace combines history and romance in beautifully crafted patterns. It’s both revealing and concealing at the same time, veiling the skin and accentuating it with its design. I find it to be a very inspiring material for my designs," says jewelry designer, Katherine Semyonov of Katerina Maxine. Semyonov is known for finding inspiration in her Russian heritage.


Katerina Maxine’s bracelet is ethereal…refined…aristocratic. The use of rose gold gives the piece the warmth of the hearth, while the filigree work evokes the work of skilled craftsmen from days past. Photo courtesy D'Orazio & Associate/Katerina Maxine
Technological advances, ironically, are behind this neo-antique look. Groundbreaking laser technology is allowing designers to make jewelry of unmatched complexity. It’s also enabling them to create the illusion of more jewelry with less material – something increasingly important as the price of precious metals rise.

Antique style and high technology – this blending of the old and new – make it an exciting time to be in the gem and jewelry industry.

The Limelight Couture Précieuse necklace by Piaget is the epitome of femininity: graceful, flowing lines, and decorated with flowers and honeycombed shapes. It also is a magnificent piece of craftsmanship: It has more than 1,600 diamonds and took more than 800 hours to make. Photo courtesy Piaget

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