Story by: Dana Wilson
Capital Style recently interviewed jeweler to the stars Neil Lane, who has launched a new collection of vintage-inspired engagement and wedding rings sold at Kay Jewelers. He’s crafted sparkling stunners for Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon, LeAnn Rimes and Jennifer Hudson, to name a few, and is now sharing his designs with the masses. Lane’s more affordable bridal line is sold at select Kay Jewelers stores, including the one at Polaris Fashion Place, and rings are priced from $2,300 to $7,800. View a slideshow of his collection here.
Here are some highlights from our interview with Lane, who chatted from his store in Los Angeles: Capital Style: Creating beautiful jewelry is an art form. When and where did your love for accessories begin?
Neil Lane: Ever since I was a little kid, I was totally fascinated by color and sparkle. Growing up, my parents were collectors, they were very eclectic. My father loved Victorian figurines; my mom loved purple. I was fascinated by things. …All I ever wanted to do was be an artist. I never thought that one day I’d be designing jewels. CS: Whether you’re designing pieces for celebrities or mainstream brides, what usually inspires your creations?
NL: I love bringing the past and the present to the future – going back to the old type of jewelry. People like to have a classic ring that they wear all the time. I do like to notice what people are comfortable wearing over and over.
CS: What’s the most memorable or elaborate ring you’ve designed for a celebrity? NL: I liked working with Jennifer Hudson’s ring—it was exciting. It’s fun designing these things. …I think we always try to figure out what the girl is like. A girl’s ring is very much a part of her style.
CS: Any tips for grooms on choosing the perfect engagement ring?
NL: I think you definitely should speak with her and understand her sense of style. If you surprise her, I think you can’t go wrong with a Neil Lane ring. (Laughs) Really try to buy what she’s going to like. I think those days where you just buy it without consultation are over. … Window shopping is very important, and then you can see what she likes.
CS: Kate Middleton’s blue sapphire engagement ring caused quite a stir. Any thoughts on colored stones versus white diamonds?
NL:I think it’s exciting, but in terms of having a fashion movement, England has more of a tradition to wear a central colored stone than America. There might be a few people fashion-wise who want a colored stone. It’s very difficult to match. When it comes to putting it on every day, I think the white diamond ring is going to be the ring of choice. The colored stones are a little harder to keep up, in terms of everyday use.
CS: What led you to develop your new ring line for Kay Jewelers?
NL: I spent the last 20 years designing bridal rings for celebrities and I’ve always dreamed of bringing my aesthetics, that magic of Hollywood, to a much broader audience. I think this relationship with Kay has helped me do that. They understand my vision. The whole collection is inspired by Hollywood’s glamorous past.