If you could tell someone you love them with a set of numbers, how would you do it? Perhaps a birthday; an important anniversary; or coordinates signaling a symbolic spot? Whatever the combination, these unique digits – seemingly insignificant to the outside world – are suddenly transformed into a secret gesture of allegiance, devotion and enchanting sentiment. Lisa Salzer, whose much-adored jewelry label, Lulu Frost, often hides messages in unassuming places, is one designer who can tell you a thing or two about numbers. “I love for the jewelry I create to have deeper meaning without screaming it,” she explains. “And to me the epitome of personal meaning lies in numbers.”
CODE, the jewelry designer’s delicate line of gold numerical rings, studs and necklaces, “is all about hidden meaning and personal symbolism,” she says. The talismanic collection, several pieces of which are punctuated with diamonds that add up to their own divine and mystical meanings, grew out of Salzer’s personal obsession with numbers. “In 2005 I bought all of the original room numbers from the doors of the Plaza Hotel that were being discarded,” she recalls. “I bought every last one, transforming them into pendants and other jewelry; and I have kept them in the Lulu Frost line as classic signatures of my work.” As the native New Yorker gets ready for summer’s most important date, the Fourth of July, she lets Latest Revival in on the secrets of CODE, and her coveted designs that continue to put a modern twist on Victorian era inspirations. “I love looking to the past as a foundation,” she says. “But always play with those sensibilities to achieve a modern take.”
Olivia Fleming: Why have numbers, specifically, become a signature symbol of Lulu Frost?
Lisa Salzer: I do love other symbolic motifs and will explore many more in future collections of CODE, starting with palms, arrows and stars, which also hold a lot of personal significance. But numbers have become our signature because they are so deeply meaningful across many cultures – there is no language barrier.
Olivia Fleming: What are some poignant or memorable stories from customers who have chose pieces from CODE?
Lisa Salzer: I love the stories that relate to people’s children – there is an indelible tie between mothers and their children; and the commemoration of a child’s birth date is just so sweet to me. My sister wears a ‘4’ everyday to represent her four children – every time she looks down at her hand she thinks of them.
Olivia Fleming: What numbers are meaningful to you personally?
Lisa Salzer: I wear five CODE rings every day – I’m a bit of a number gatherer! I wear an ‘11’ on my left pinky and ‘3,8,2’ on my right ring finger – they signify my birthday, November 3, 1982.
Olivia Fleming: Your late grandmother plays an important role of inspiration in the Lulu Frost story; can you share a favorite memory with us?
Lisa Salzer: There are so many, but one of my favorites was a time when I spent the whole day at the estate jewelry store she managed in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She let me try on some of the most expensive Edwardian and Victorian diamond necklaces, bracelets and rings all at once. It was heaven!
Olivia Fleming: Does she influence how you design and create each collection?
Lisa Salzer: My grandmother is with me every day in spirit, I believe. I do think that she influences me on many levels. Her classic sense of style is something that I always look to for inspiration – she wore a Chanel-style suit with a gold lion brooch on the lapel almost every day of her life.
Olivia Fleming: Summer is just around the corner, does the way you wear jewelry change as the heat arrives?
Lisa Salzer: I do tend to layer more pieces and love longer necklaces in the summer – I love that delicate look of chains layered together over a simple dress, or shorts and a T.
Olivia Fleming: What will you be doing for Fourth of July?
Lisa Salzer: I will be hanging in Southampton with my family! All I need is a BBQ cooked by my amazing family and a few beers.
Photo Credits: (main slide) top b/w lisa shot, papermag.com/ jewels (8 & 7) are from lulufrost.com (small slide) morse code, lulufrost.com/ b/w southamptons shot, kachwaha.com/ victorian jewels shot, www.hwpl.org