March 12, 2018

We recently had the honor of crafting a custom piece for one of Lulu Frost's dearest customers (turned friend!), Marlene. Using several of her precious family heirloom pieces, she worked with Founder & Creative Director Lisa Salzer-Wiles to create a stunning one-of-a-kind necklace that is sure to be cherished for generations to come.

Interested in creating your own Bespoke Vintage piece? Learn more here.

We caught up with Marlene to talk about the significance of family heirlooms, our shared love of vintage jewelry and her plans for this special piece.

Q: What is your history with jewelry?

A: I didn't remember wearing much jewelry as a young girl, but I do remember always looking in my Mother's jewelry drawer and being fascinated by the shiny pieces, espcially anything with marcasite. She had one particular piece, a large round marcasite pin with her initials, which I loved. She only wore it for special occasions; otherwise it stayed in the drawer. My parents did not have a lot of money and it appears most of the pieces were not impulse purchases. Rather they were saved for and revered.

My Mother and Grandmother circa 1932

Q: How did you decide to combine your heirlooms into one piece?

A: One day last year, I was looking at my Mother's marcasite pin. At the same time, I also had a marcasite pin with my Grandmother's initials. I thought Lisa could design something using the two brooches and my "sweet sixteen" pearls from my parents. I distinctly remember receiving the pearls at my sweet sixteen family party. They were so beautiful. I kept them and wore them for over 50 years. All three of these things represented important family memories. I never imagined that Lisa and her team of designers could work such magic. From creating a piece with my initials, to using my pearls in ingenious ways (the clasp dangles from my Grandmother's pin), I was in love.

Q: Any plans for the future of the piece?

A: I have already told my Son and Daughter-in-law that the piece will eventually be given to my Granddaughter, Ellie. Ellie is only 5 years old, but I do hope she will appreciate it some day. Today I have some of Lisa's older pieces in a box marked "Ellie Dress-Up". Ellie loves to wear each piece, and takes the box out each time she visits. A future customer! At Ellie's baby naming, I gave her parents a ring that my Grandmother gave to me when I turned 13. I wrote a long letter to be given to Ellie outlining the history of the ring. I shall now prepare such a letter about this magnificent part of my family history, and the role that Lisa and team had in its creation.

My very stylish Mother in 1939

Q: What is it about vintage jewelry that resonates with you?

A: When I was working, I was always known for wearing an eclectic collection of jewelry. My clothes and accessories were always just a bit different. Even my reading glasses were unusual. I felt comfortable in vintage: seemed as if I was old before my time. And thus I came to know Lulu Frost. My love began with J.Crew where I purchased some Lulu Frost brooches and necklaces. When something was sold out, I decided to search for other sources. Voila! I found the Lulu Frost site. Heaven! It seemed as if each vintage piece on the site was calling me. I started a vast collection, compliments were numerous each time I wore a one-of-a-kind necklace or brooch.

Me, wearing my Mother's pin with her initials 'BHP' circa 1990s.

Q: Now that you have the finished piece, where and how will you wear it?

A: Finally seeing the piece made me want to wear it everywhere. It's strange, but I have still not worn it. Appears I am just like my late, beloved Mother... keeping the piece for a special occasion.