Lace is unusual in that it is a purely European invention, and began in the 16th century as a decoration on handwoven linen. Early laces used on the ruffs and cuffs of Elizabethan and Stuart upper classes were mainly of circular, geometric designs. Later, all sorts of intricate, flowing designs were made possible, and laces would depict flowers, cherubs and birds, an art which reached its height at the start af the 18th century. Its value was considered to be above jewels or silk due to the hours of painstaking work that went into it. The finest lace production ended with the French revolution and although there was a small revival of the fashion in the 19th century it did not regain its quality.