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  • Writer's pictureValerieBound

Meet Neil Lane just in time for awards season

Gem gals, you know by now how much I love watching jewelry on the red carpet! Another name that always gets thrown around is Neil Lane. Like my earlier post on Harry Winston, I got to wondering about this guy and how he got the enviable job of adorning Hollywood actresses.

Unlike Harry Winston, Neil Lane is still very much alive! And very busy! Besides having an online presence and a store in LA, he also has collections at Kay Jewelers and Jared. And he recently made the decision to go beyond jewelry, into home decor, with wallpaper, china, and stationery.

Originally a painter

Neil never intended to be a designer. As a kid, he was interested in art. He sold some of the cool souvenirs he found in antique stores and flea markets and bought a plane ticket to Paris. He soaked up art and architecture like a sponge when he was there. Surprisingly, Neil found himself most attracted to the antique jewelry in the windows of shops around Paris, finding it “glittery” and “amazing.”

Later, Neil was living in New York City, trying to make it as a painter. But he didn’t spend much time painting in his studio. Instead, he preferred spending time at antique shows, talking to people about their old jewelry pieces. That led to a conversation with someone who was building a store in Los Angeles, and wanted him to come along. At first, Neil resisted. He didn’t know anyone in L.A. But he changed his mind once he saw the spot, and ended up with his own antique jewelry store on Beverly Boulevard.

<img class=" wp-image-5506 lazyload" src="" alt="Red carpet celebrities wearing Neil Lane designs: Christina Hendricks, Cate Blanchett, and Darby Stanchfield" width="685" height="514" srcset=" 800w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 510w" sizes="(max-width: 685px) 100vw, 685px" /> Red carpet celebrities wearing Neil Lane designs: Christina Hendricks, Cate Blanchett, and Darby Stanchfield

Famous friends

Neil’s shop was right next to a talent agency, one day, Renée Zellweger walked in. He knew she was an actress, but had no idea what movies she was in. They became good friends after he made a wedding ring for her dad. When Renee won a Golden Globe for her role in Nurse Betty, she was not only wearing Neil Lane jewelry, she called him out in her acceptance speech, thanking him for his friendship! You can’t get better exposure than that!

After that, plenty of other Hollywood folks came calling. At the time, vintage jewelry on the red carpet wasn’t really worn. But Neil had something different than huge diamonds that tended to overpower people. He had cool chains and colored gemstones, like amethyst and citrine. Neil was able to provide actresses with something unique and different, and they loved it!

<img class=" wp-image-5519 lazyload" src="" alt="More celebrities wearing jewelry from Neil Lane: Emma Roberts, Jennifer Garner, and Reese Witherspoon" width="667" height="500" srcset=" 800w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 510w" sizes="(max-width: 667px) 100vw, 667px" /> More celebrities wearing jewelry from Neil Lane: Emma Roberts, Jennifer Garner, and Reese Witherspoon

Today, Neil is everyone’s favorite. Plenty of celebrities have worn his designs – Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Madonna, Rihanna, Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Viola Davis, Kate Winslet, Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Gwyneth Paltrow, the list goes on…… He worked with Jennifer Hudson to come up with her fabulous jewels when she won an Oscar for Dreamgirls.

<img class=" wp-image-5537 lazyload" src="" alt="Check out Jennifer Hudson's ring and earrings, both by Neil Lane " width="316" height="316" srcset=" 400w, 150w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 316px) 100vw, 316px" /> Check out Jennifer Hudson’s ring and earrings, both by Neil Lane

After a while, Neil was asked to make engagement rings. He made Madonna’s ring, and Demi Moore’s.

The Ring Guy

Neil started to be known for his rings, and more and more celebrities came calling. He designed rings for Jessica Simpson and Ellen DeGeneres.

Neil wanted his designs to be available to more people – that’s what led to his partnership with Jared. Pretty soon, ABC reached out, they wanted him to do rings for their show, The Bachelor. But Neil wasn’t interested, and turned them down for years! Finally, he thought, “why not?” Now, he loves it!

You must be a complete cynic, like me, about The Bachelor. But Neil says “love is love, no matter how you find it” and he really enjoys being part of a couple’s journey. He says he’s been impressed with the folks behind The Bachelor. They’re very sincere and committed to helping people find a lifelong partner. He also doesn’t mind traveling around the world to all the great places they go to shoot the show – like Thailand, Africa, and Switzerland. I wouldn’t either!

<img class=" wp-image-5510 lazyload" src="" alt="Some of the rings Neil designed for The Bachelor" width="500" height="500" srcset=" 800w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" /> Some of the rings Neil designed for The Bachelor

Mixing Old & New

Neil has always loved vintage designs, but thinks his strength is trying to find a way to make them modern and wearable. He embraces trends and can be a trendsetter himself. Neil mixes metals, likes black onyx, and designs stacking rings. He brought back old diamond cuts – like the Asscher and old mine cuts – to the bridal market. People gravitate towards fancy cuts for something unique. They want cool details, not just a big rock.

<img class=" wp-image-5514 lazyload" src="" alt="Neil Lane bridal designs" width="500" height="375" srcset=" 800w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 510w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" /> Neil Lane bridal designs

“I find inspiration in all things beautiful and I want to share this beauty with the world.” – Neil Lane

What’s Next?

Neil may have started out designing for celebrities, but he know they’re not that different from you or I. In the end, people want beautiful jewelry that speaks to them and feels like something special.

Personally, I love his designs! What do you think?


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