(Photo 11)

(Photo 10)
The women depicted on the left is sporting ruffs and a high Medici collar, while the woman on the right is wearing a soft falling lace collar.  

Forms of hand-made lace as old as ancient Egypt have been discovered.  Although exact dates are unclear, it is known that lace made by bobbins and needles existed before the 16th century.  

In the early 17th century, ruffs and high Medici collars went out of fashion and soft falling lace collars were produced.  This lace became "heavier, richer, wider, and more beautiful."  

Originally the best lace was produced in Italy.  Around 1665, lace schools were founded in France.  At the same time, very fine lace was created in England.  In Spain, gold and silver lace was made exclusively by Jewish lace-makers.  

Lace became increasingly more expensive through the 18th century.  Supplies never equaled demand because making the lace was slow and laborious.   

In the 19th century, there was a decline in the desire for lace.  By the end of the century the industry of lace-making was continuing to die out.  

Women were moderately successful in their attempts to revive the industry.  Later, t
he improvements in machine-made lace continued to popularize it. (5)