True lacework, as we understand it here - a fabric made with an intricate pattern of threads and without any loom - originated at the end of the 16th century.  However, some of the key elements of lace emerged earlier, using looms that were perforated and lighter: the needle lace techniques known as fili tirati, cutwork, and reticella date back to the 15th century, while “filet” and “burato” styles are even earlier.

There are two basic categories of lace: needle lace and bobbin lace. Over the course of the centuries, these two techniques then gave birth to a great variety of methods and lace types.