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Up To Code
Hidden messages inform Lisa Salzer’s new line of fine jewelry.
In 2005, when New York’s Plaza hotel was undergoing a facelift, Lisa Salzer decided on a whim to buy nearly its entire stock of circa 1907 curlicued brass room numbers and incorporate them into her costume jewelry line, Lulu Frost. Turns out they were her lucky digits. The original pieces sold out in three months, and six years later the recast versions continue to be the brand’s top sellers. It’s not surprising, then, that when Salzer made the transition to fine jewelry—her new collection, Code, debuts this spring—she returned to those much loved numerals, casting them in 14- and 18-karat gold and fashioning them into rings, necklaces, and stud earrings, some embellished with diamonds. “People really attach meaning to numbers, and wear them almost like a talisman,” says the 28-year-old New Yorker. “It’s very personal.” In designing her new line, Salzer found inspiration in Victorian jewelry, which often relied on symbolism to imbue baubles with emotional impact. Stones, for example, were used to spell out tender messages: Instead of engraving the word darling on a ring, jewelers would use a diamond for the “d,” an amethyst for the “a,” and so on. “It wasn’t just adornment for the sake of adornment,” explains Salzer, who plans to launch a collection based on Victorian symbols each season. “It was adornment with deeper, hidden meaning.”