08/18/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT
Crusaders wore them on their shields. Sweden and Britain display them on their flags. And they're never out of style with monks. So why are crosses adorning the bosoms of celebs including Courtney Love and Cindy Crawford? Could it be a religious awakening—or is it that the cross, like the Chanel suit, always looks good? "I wear crosses with everything from jeans and a T-shirt to a Dolce & Gabbana evening dress," says Melrose Place's Lisa Rinna. Adds Hollywood jewelry designer Erica Courtney, whose diamond-studded crosses (from $300 to $15,000) are worn by Demi Moore
and Geena Davis: "This is truly meaningful to people. There's nothing goofy or trendy about it."
Indeed, cross dressing shouldn't be taken lightly. "For us," says Rev. Joan Brown Campbell of the National Council of Churches, "the cross is not an accessory. It's a powerful symbol of our faith." Downtown Julie Brown agrees. "I'm a big believer in the Big One Upstairs," she says. "When somebody sees you wearing a beautiful cross, they know that you have good things going on inside."