Kenneth Jay Lane is truly a pioneer in the world of costume jewelry. The designer’s pieces are so covetable that his 250 square foot space in the underground mall at ill-marketed Plaza Retail Collection is, arguably, the only retail space worth visiting on a regular basis.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, KJL is a Rhode Island School of Design graduate who first worked as a shoe designer for Delman and Christian Dior before finding true success with his bold baubles.  When his first collection hit Saks Fifth Avenue, the entire initial inventory sold-out in one day.
The 79-year-old designer continues to churn-out new pieces each year and his designs have landed his work in, among others, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Smithsonian, and The Museum of Natural History. Not to mention the bevy of stars who have proudly worn his designs, such as Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Vreeland, Audrey Hepburn, the Olsen twins, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mischa Barton, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears.
Perhaps what is most impressive about KJL, however, is his innovation in both design and business. More than a decade before it became a mainstream trend for high-end designers to partner with mass retailers, he began appearing on QVC (back in 1991), to sell affordable versions of his designs. Now, on May 10th, QVC is celebrating their 18-year relationship with Kenneth Jay Lane with three hours of Kenneth Jay Lane Jewelry Chic, slated to air at midnight, 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM (ET).
As an avid fan and collector of KJL jewelry, I’m very excited about the anniversary celebration. Recently I had the chance to check-out some of the new jewelry pieces that KJL designed for QVC – which will go on sale on May 10th – and I was pleasantly surprised at the level of craftsmanship.
The quality of the QVC pieces makes them un-differentiable from the main Kenneth Jay Lane line. It is very refreshing to see that, unlike so many other designers who skimp on quality when they create lower priced lines, KJL stays true to the quality his fans have come to expect.
Best of all, the designs for the QVC line are clearly inspired by KJL’s originals, leading me to wonder why I ever paid full-price at Bloomingdale’s for some of his pieces when QVC is offering-up near identical ones, for a fraction of the price.

Here are two images of new pieces launching this weekend, and the originals that inspired them are on the left:


QVC KJL Charleston Rose Cuff (right)


QVC KJL Party Scene Faceted Stone Ring — white (right)
Whether looking at Kenneth Jay Lane’s main fashion jewelry collection or his QVC one, “never plain, never boring, always unpredictable” is certainly an apt way to describe the designer’s work.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums and Sharon Feiereisen