By Julia Szabo
Wearing a substantially sized cross, or several, still has the power to create a stir. In a sermon, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (and Meghan Markle’s confidant), scolded cross-wearing celebrities with the question: “Are we now living with a symbol emptied of power by time and fashion?” No, say devout fashion followers, whose style altar is Madison Avenue’s LJ Cross. Here, crosses are secular statement pieces that take the form of diamond-dusted pendants, earrings, charms and rings.
Proprietor Lisa Jackson worked for decades as an interior designer, with a high-profile clientele including Vera Wang, Renee Zellweger and Tory Burch. A connoisseur of minimalist art and architecture, Jackson favors “laid-back luxe.” Yet when the subject is jewels, more is definitely…more. “My favorite pieces have as many diamonds as possible, and I never wear just one,” she says. “Layering is a message I live by!” Minimalism prevails in her strictly tone-on-tone palette: white gold with white diamonds; rose gold with champagne ones. The effect is, quite simply, divine.
“I have always been out of the box and experimental with fashion,” Jackson says. “That triggers my desire to create jewelry that has scale and a kapow! element. It’s a natural comfort zone for me to be bold.” Among LJ Cross’ equally intrepid fans are Wang, Robin Wright, Christie Brinkley, Allison Williams and Allison Janney. The store also offers non-cross-themed jewels, including a gorgeous cobblestone cigar-band ring; but gaze long enough at any diamond-paved item, and its artfully scattered stones will start forming abstract crosses. An iconic symbol with many nuances, the cross is a plus sign, a military hero’s decoration, a constellation in the Milky Way. LJ’s crosses conjure positivity, valor, stars in the night sky. “The cross means different things to different people,” Jackson observes. “Oftentimes, clients take solace in its spiritual nature.”
Created together with the talented Ward Kelvin (formerly of Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman), the collection is at once precious and sturdy: “Diamonds for the beach,” says Jackson, who encourages wearing her “everyday/every moment heirlooms” absolutely everywhere—with jeans or with a gala evening ensemble. In today’s turbulent world, perhaps the security blanket of powerfully symbolic jewels just might be needed now more than ever. “When I was recovering from a broken shoulder, keeping my psyche positive was critical,” Jackson recalls. “Even in the hospital, I would wear my jewelry every day. It transformed my mood.”
Meet designer Lisa Jackson on March 25th and 26th at our PURIST POP UP at Westfield Century City in LA (10250 Santa Monica Boulevard). ljcrossny.com