By  on July 25, 2005

LOS ANGELES — Bold-faced brides-to-be have long been turning to Neil Lane, and now the famous estate jeweler is entering into a marriage of his own with Saks Fifth Avenue.

Lane is producing a signature collection exclusive to the retailer, with some pieces based on the vintage earrings and other jewelry made famous by his celebrity clientele.

“Saks wanted to have a piece of Hollywood. So they wanted this,” said Lane, who was visiting London last week, referring to the 40-plus-piece collection that bows in September at the Saks flagship in Manhattan.

“We’ve never been aligned with such a high-profile, exclusive jewelry designer like Neil before,” said Ron Frasch, vice chairman and chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue. “It’s an extraordinary partnership.”

Most of the collection comprises “important” pieces, said Lane, created in limited quantities in his workshop. “Nothing is cast. Everything is made by hand.”

Prices start at $8,500 for a set of platinum and 5-carat diamond hoops to $200,000 for a 25-carat diamond ring.

As far as the selection goes, Frasch said Saks “totally relied on Neil.”

“He knows his customer better than anybody,” Frasch said. “We would’ve been foolish not to go with his direction on this. So much of this is his input and vision. That’s why it’s a partnership.”

Details on how the in-store presentation will appear were still being worked out, Frasch said. “But it will be prominent and on the main floor,” he added.

Neither Frasch nor Lane would comment on the length of the commitment or anticipated sales. Lane did say the retailer purchased the first collection. “It’s not consignment,” he said.

Both expressed enthusiasm that it would eventually extend to other key Saks doors.

“The whole world calls me all the time saying, ‘Where can I get this? Where can I buy you?’ It will be so fun to be able to send them to Saks now,” said Lane, who has long serviced his clientele at his salon on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles.These are busy times for the jeweler. Last week, it was announced he will design the Neil Lane Hollywood Collection for De Beers LV. Its debut will be timed to the opening of DeBeers’ Rodeo Drive shop, its second stateside, this November.

And the offers keep coming. “I’ve always been very protective about what I do. But I am a businessman, after all,” Lane said.

His London trip, in fact, was yet another project. He was mum on the details.

Asked why he chose to partner with Saks, Lane said he liked the arrangement. “It’s not complicated. And sometimes the easiest things are the best.”

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