This border is a geometric embroidered lace (cutwork) insertion with bobbin lace along one edge. It is probably Italian, from the late 1500s and from SEM analysis we know that the thread used for both kinds of lace is a linen-silk blend, which may account for its rich caramel colour and 'soft' feel. It would have been used on an item of clothing, possibly a ruff, or cuffs. Although it shows more sophisticated design and workmanship than the simple seaming laces of the previous century, the basic techniques remain the same. This kind of geometric cutwork is often called 'reticella'
Both bobbin and needle lace, for fashion rather than domestic use, became powerful status symbols from the mid 1500s as wealthy men and women strived to draw attention to their fine linen undershirts and chemises with increasingly elaborate lace trimmings. The demand for lace to trim domestic textiles also increased in this period.
See Classification System pages 4 and 10 (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/pdf/research/classification.pdf )
and Glossary page 6. (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/pdf/research/glossary.pdf)
Rosemary Shepherd - March 2010