Tuesday, September 29, 2009

12 Days in Paris: Lea Stein Jewelry

Lea Stein was born in Paris in 1931. In the 1960s her husband, Fernand Steinberger, developed a method of laminating thin strips of rhodoid (celluloid acetate) creating interesting textures and colors. Initially, Lea Stein designed buttons for the fashion industry using the rhodoid laminated components. In 1969 she started making fantastic and whimsical 3-dimensional jewelry using these laminates. Her business thrived in the 1970s, but in 1981 she sold her inventory and closed the shop. Her jewelry actually grew in popularity after she exited the business, so in 1988 she re-established the jewelry line, albeit on a smaller base. Each year she introduces one or two new designs.


At a neighborhood flea market in Place du Guignier we spotted a small collection of Lea Stein brooches and snatched them up for Vintages. Except for the fox & Corolle, these are all pieces that were designed after 1988, when production was smaller. These will be priced in the $65 to $125 range. They are fantastic, unusual and hard to find. If you are a fan of Stein’s jewelry, here’s a chance to see a nice selection in one place.

These are the brooches that we have (clockwise from top left): Turtle, Cicada, Fox, Attila the Standing Cat, Corolle, Elephant and Ladybug.

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