About Lea Stein
The history of Lea Stein jewelry began with a love story. In 1951, the French artist Lea Stein fell in love with the chemist Fernard Steinberger and soon married him. In 1957, they opened a clothing company, in 1965 began making original buttons, and in 1969, released the first collection of unique jewelry. Lea Stein's husband discovered and patented a new material, the rhodoid, which was obtained by laminating cellulose acetate. Several dozen layers of acetate celluloid film were baked in the oven, with lace, brocade, cords and even metal being added to them. The result was a puffed material of amazing and complex texture, which was then hand-carved into brooches. It was a painstaking job. It could take up to 6 months to make some pieces!
It is impossible to confuse Lea Stein brooches with other designers’ jewelry. Bright and funny brooches are recognizable thanks to the unique material and original design. The most famous collections were created from 1969 to 1981. All the jewelry was produced in France. Almost all of them are branded Lea Stein. Paris. Another distinctive detail is the v-shaped clasp. Earlier jewelry has a flat pin clasp labeled Lea Stein.
Decorations of this French brand are known all over the world and occupy a special place in the collections of the most influential women. For example, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright not only wore Lea Stein brooches, but devoted an entire chapter in her book to one of them, making the French designer’s red fox famous.
While using different themes, Lea Stein especially favored the animalist theme: cats, dogs, birds come alive in her funny three-dimensional brooches. There were collections both with hearts, hats, figures of children, tennis players, saxophonists and even Elvis Presley. In the 70's the designer bought a license from the French children's TV show "L'ile aux Enfants" and in 1975 began to make brooches shaped like the characters from the show.
Early works include a small series of round portrait brooches, as well as round brooches with flowers.
In the early 80's the designer was forced to reduce the staff and planned to completely close down the production. Fortunately, one of the American dealers entered her shop. He liked the unusual brooches so much that soon a large batch of Lea Stein jewelry found itself in America. French rhodoid brooches instantly became popular and the designer returned to her company, continuing to delight the fans of the brand with wonderful jewelry