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Léa Stein - the Jeweller who Makes Plastic into Fine Art

Posted on 4th January 2017 Product Design, Recycling

Plastic is a hugely versatile material. It has many commercial and industrial uses, but it is not usually a material that is associated with fine jewellery. Quite the opposite, plastic jewellery is somewhat derided as costume jewellery - suitable for children and amateur dramatics. However, in the hands of an artist like Léa Stein, plastic can be molded into exquisite and sought after pieces of jewellery.


Her Early Life


Léa Stein was born in 1936 and may have spent some of her childhood in a concentration camp during the Second World War. This traumatic start did not hold her back. She trained as an artist and in 1957 landed a job designing fabrics for the fashion industry. It was in this role that she first developed an interest in the potential of plastic as an artistic medium.


The Léa Stein Technique


Together with her chemist husband, Léa Stein developed a technique of layering thin sheets of rhodoid - cellulose acetate - and laminating them. The resulting layered plastic could be baked and shaped into the desired form. Stein specialised in small beautiful brooches in the art deco style.


Valuable Vintage Brooches


Between the mid-sixties and 1981, Léa Stein manufactured and sold her distinctive brooches. The brooches made during this ‘vintage’ period are quite valuable. They trade on Ebay for between thirty and eighty pounds an item. Not bad for plastic jewellery!


Here at Coda Plastics Ltd, we are interested in all things plastic. If you are an artist that is interested in working with plastic and you think that your design could be mass produced in our factory, get in touch. You can call us on +44 1692 501020 or drop us an email to sales@coda-plastics.co.uk.


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