Mid Week Modness: Lea Stein Style Laminate Cuff Bracelet
I’m a fan of the plastic jewellery, but I have only a passing knowledge of Parisienne designer Lea Stein‘s work. It’s not that I haven’t admired her colourful and whimsical designs, but because I’ve rarely come across any of her pieces in real life. And being able to see and handle actual jewelery is the greatest teacher of all. But my nephew gave me this laminated cuff bracelet, and while researching it, I kept coming back to Stein.
A brief bio: Stein was born in Paris in the ’30s. Stein started out in the textile business, specializing in buttons. In 1969, her husband, Fernand Steinberger invented a process of laminating layers of celluloid with interesting textures (meta, brocade and lace are sometimes incorporated) and vibrant colours. Stein took advantage of this discovery by cutting and shaping the celluloid into whimsical jewellery pieces — mostly brooches, but also bracelets, barrettes and other novelties. Unfortunately, her handcrafted pieces couldn’t compete against mass produced knockoffs and the company shut down in 1981.
While I found a lace inset cuff in the same shape that was attributed to Stein, I don’t really think that my bracelet is Stein. But I’m still glad I have it as it led me down a most interesting Google research rabbit hole.
The original Stein pieces had their loyal fans and a strong demand by collectors and fans led to a rebirth of the company in 1991.
In some pieces, as many as 20 layers are bonded together.