Tag Archives: Michelle Obama

The Jewelry Insider

May 4, 2009

How can one socialite drip in diamonds all the way from the blue grass of Kentucky to the blue bloods at the Kennedy Center in one weekend? Ask Paris Hilton, who was the belle of the ball at not one but two high profile social events in the past few days.

The first, of course, was the 135th Kentucky Derby, where a long shot came in first and Hilton dazzled the southern belles with her hunky arm candy and her chunky jewels as the co-host of the Barnstable-Brown pre–Derby event.

Wearing a poured-on Tadashi dress, the heiress sported serious caratage on her ears with a huge diamond cuff and right hand ring to top ‘er off.

And while Paris didn’t win any bets that day, she won a few hearts in our nation’s capital the next evening as she and her main man made a glittering appearance at the Kennedey Center’s Spring Gala, where Washington luminaries were entertained by the likes of k.d. lang, Lily Tomlin and other notable names.

Wearing a trendy gem-encrusted headband with yet another icy cuff from her treasure chest and a huge diamond ring rumored to be her grandmother’s, Hilton stole the show as the DC power scene scurried to fly in her orbit.

Thankfully, Michelle Obama entered the Presidential box to upstage her and bring everyone back to the real reason they were there – to celebrate women in the arts.

Which, of course, as a star of such worthy films as “The Hottie and the Nottie” and “Repo: The Generic Opera” our papparazzi-challenged reality star can so, like, relate to.

The Jewelry Insider

April 8, 2009

If Michelle Obama is ushering in a new era of power brooch diplomacy, she wouldn’t be the first. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a tenacious negotiator, loved to communicate her mood and intentions through her brooches, and now the Museum of Arts & Design in New York will exhibit 200 of her favorites.

Albright “found that what she wore and how she presented herself had a lot of interpretive meaning to those she was with,” said Holly Hotchner, the museum’s director. “The pins became an added way that she communicated as secretary of state.”

“Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection,” scheduled to open in September, comes 10 years after the museum presented “Brooching It Diplomatically,” a show of pins created by contemporary artists inspired by the ones Albright wore.

“She started acquiring pins because of their inherent messages, their whimsical and pictorial quality,” said David Revere McFadden, the museum’s chief curator. “It’s not about jewels and gems, it’s about jewelry as a communication device.”

The collection is diverse, ranging from Americana styles — including flags and eagles — to ones with flora, fauna and insect themes. She always brought a selection with her on her travels so she could be ready for any situation.

For instance, Albright chose to wear a bee pin whenever she felt talks amounted to “something like a sting,” McFadden said.

“It’s a very gentle way of saying to whomever she is speaking to: ‘Listen carefully because I’m kind of telling you where I think this conversation is going,”‘ he said.

When she thought negotiations would likely go well, she would wear a balloon pin. Another pin, made of stainless steel, shows the head of Lady Liberty with two watch faces for eyes, one of which is upside down. The pin allows both her and others to check the time.

I wonder how many times Albright said the word ‘pinhead’ during the Bush administration?

The exhibition, running from Sept. 30 though Jan. 31, 2010, will be accompanied by a book, “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box,” written by Albright.

The Jewelry Insider

April 3, 2009

The highly anticipated fashion showdown between the world’s most stylish first ladies went down today as our Divine Mrs. O and France’s Carla Bruni-Sarkozy finally met face-to-face.(I love that she hyphenated even though he’s a leader of the free world). The French model and chanteuse wore a subdued but classy gray Dior trench and Mighty Michelle rocked it in a fuchsia poppy coat by Thakoon. Both had power bow necklines. Coincidence? You make the call. Bruni-Sarkozy was interviewed inside the Michelle Obama issue of Vogue in March, telling the magazine that she hates makeup, clothes and jewelry (not a sparkle could be found on her today from what I could tell), but she has emerged as France’s fashion icon despite it all. And while Bruni-Sarkozy is often spotted in haute couture frocks, Obama likes to mix it up with commoner clothes to keep things real. Her color choice today was a massive improvement over the strange teal and brown number she wore yesterday – and the cut couldn’t be more sophisticated. And she finally gave that pearl strand a break, as she chose to go sans jewelry for her afternoon activities in Strasbourg. What do you think of our First Lady’s fashion so far? Too flashy or a much needed splash of color?

The Jewelry Insider

April 1, 2009

The anarchists may be protesting, but the fashion police have nothing to worry about in London as our fab First Lady proves she can she can travel abroad in high style.

The divine Mrs. Michelle took off for London yesterday wearing an ivory Thakoon coat and a signature brooch (which I’ve been missing of late). Ever the fashion plate, she changed – on the plane of course(!) – into a chartreuse Jason Wu dress to greet her legions of fans upon arrival across the pond.

This morning brought breakfast with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and wife, Sarah, and later a visit to Maggie’s Cancer Care Center. Maybe the bloody protestors of the G20 Summit influenced Obama’s downshift from designer duds to J Crew garb – but she emerged this morning in a J Crew bejeweled cardigan and a mint green jacquard pencil skirt accented with another old friend – the pearl strand – and a series of layered bangles.

When in Rome, right?

The cardigan, by the way, is already sold out in case you’re wondering.

Later today, our First Lady is scheduled to have tea and cucumber sandwiches with Queen Elizabeth herself. Will she go for another outfit change (I’m pulling for a big hat, Michelle. Bring it!) or will she J Crew her way to Buckingham Palace?

Stay tuned!

The Jewelry Insider

January 23, 2009

Before the excitement of this week’s Inauguration festivities fades into history, I thought it wise to share a way you can capture the feeling forever – in jewels. The celebs came out in droves to the endless Inaugural Balls, wearing gowns, updos and baubles a kimbo. Get their Inaugural looks for less and kickoff your own fashion administration in style.

Yes you can!

We haven’t seen Ashley Judd in a while, but her classic red carpet style is always a winner. Her pearl-drop earrings fit in perfectly with the doyennes of DC , and these white sapphire and pearl drops will impress any economic advisor at only $85 from Zales.






Jennifer Lopez put the pesky marriage rumors to rest, as she and hubby Marc Anthony made a snuggly showing at the Latino Inaugural Ball. Her champagne and black diamond earrings glittered as much as her resurfaced wedding ring. Pop the bubbly for your own pair in 10 karat gold!




Maura Tierney rocked the rotunda with her interlocking circle style. These golden eardrops give you two DC trends in one with cultured pearl drops to bring things full circle.





Earth tones warmed up Gloria Ruben’s multi-colored gemstone look at the Creative Coalition Ball – and let’s face it, anything involving heat in a DC winter is a welcome sight. These smoky quartz, garnet, and citrine earrings keep the home fires burning and the ball gowns glowing. And they’re on sale !





Last but certainly not least is a diamond look worn by our First Lady, who danced the night away at what seemed like an endless ball circuit. Luckily, she had a capable partner to give her a hand.

The Jewelry Insider

January 21, 2009

The question on everyone’s minds tonight is not how President Obama is going to solve the economic crisis or end the war(s) on foreign soil, or even spend his first day in office. Nope. It’s: What on earth is Michelle Obama going to wear to the 587 Inaugural Balls she has to attend tonight? And in jewelry hound circles: How much bling does she dare wear in these troubled times?

The answers are all here, my friends, (to channel our old pal, John McCain). The Divine Mrs. O chose a ‘safe’, white, off-one-shoulder gown by 26-year-old designer, Jason Wu. According to Wu’s website, the Taipei native moved to Vancouver when Wu was 9, where he began learning how to sew. He enrolled in the prestigious Parsons School of Design years later and interned with Narciso Rodriguez, who designed our First Lady’s Election Night frock and her camel suit for the ‘We Are One’ concert on Sunday.

Celebrity stylist, Robert Verdi, already weighed in on the choice on CNN earlier, lamenting that Obama played it a bit safe. And he rightly pointed out that Nancy Reagan wore a similar silhouette ‘lo those many years ago. “Been there done that”, doesn’t really feel like an appropriate criticism today, though, Robert – especially when our first lady has arm tone that would make the likes of Madonna jealous.

No word yet on who designed the bling – and whether or not the baubles are on loan or are now permanent fixtures in the White House – but it’s clear Obama isn’t holding back on the shimmer factor tonight. A thick diamond cuff added sparkle to her wrist, and shoulder-length diamond drop earrings dangled in the light as she and our President ‘danced’ to a serenade from the ubiquitous Beyonce.

The song, At Last, sums up the day better than I ever could.

The Jewelry Insider

January 20, 2009

Like a beaming ray of sunshine, Michelle Obama officially began her own era as a style icon at this morning’s historic Inauguration ceremony. Appearing in a stunning gold sheath dress from Cuban-born designer, Isabel Toledo, Mrs. Obama made a glittering statement that was both conservative and fashion forward.

Her diamond-brooched neckline was the only sparkle to be found at the traditionally buttoned-up affair, and while many might interpret the choice as a bit much for such a serious occasion, I say: Shine on, First Lady, shine on!

“What’s so powerful about Michelle Obama is we all see ourselves in her. She’s a modern woman who is fashionable and even flamboyant in her style and she is still taken seriously,” gushed red carpet stylist, Mary Alice Stephenson .

“She’s wearing that dress today for all of us. We’re all wearing that dress with her. The dress is elegant, appropriate and has the individual style stamp of Michelle Obama and is timely for a woman in her 40s — and she wears embellishment during the day. Hallelujah!”

Hallelujah indeed! Two icey diamond studs finished the look in addition to olive gloves by (drumroll….) none other than J Crew! And the adorable Obama daughters appeared in J Crew coats in periwinkle and pink.

Quel surprise!

And for those of you who want your own version of the inauguration frock, a spring version of the dress – which will retail for around $1,500 – will hit Barney’s in March. Will the dress be a hit or a big miss for the masses? Did you like our First Lady’s colorful choice today, or do you prefer the grey librarian look of Laura Bush? (rhetorical question…sorry). Weigh in!

I’ll be keeping a close eye on ball gown and bling buzz tonight, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I think I’ll glow in what poet, Elizabeth Alexander, so beautifully described as today’s ‘sharp sparkle’.


The Jewelry Insider

January 19, 2009

All eyes are going to be on the Obamas tomorrow, and in honor of the monumental occasion, I’ve taken a vow against ‘snarky” until after the Inauguration. Of course, there’s nothing like a good honest recounting of the fashion facts, right?

We’ve been waiting for months to see what the Divine Mrs. O will grace us with during the monumental festivities, and so far…well…so good.

Narcisco Rodriguez seems to be the belle of the ball in the fashion designer race to become the next “Oscar de la Renta” to the nation’s First Lady.

Mrs. O was bedecked in a camel and black N-Ro skirt and coat at the “We Are One” concert” on Sunday, and she accented the ensemble with something borrowed – namely a $17,000 pair of diamond earrings from designer, Loree Rodkin.

Both designers dressed the First Lady-Elect on Election Night, but will they win the golden Inaugural Ball ticket? Stay tuned….

In the meantime, waste time before you stream the Inauguration ceremony at work tomorrow taking the New York Times First Lady Fashion Quiz. I got 12 out of 15 – not too shabby for a jewelry hound, I suppose. I’m a little rusty on my Mamie Eisenhower trivia..

What score did you get?

The Jewelry Insider

December 2, 2008

President-Elect, Barack Obama, hasn’t let a little thing like appointing a new cabinet, a sinking stock market, the failing auto industry, two wars and global warming get in the way of a little romance. And what better way to show her you love her than with a little jewelry?

Smart man.

The Daily Mail reports that Obama has commissioned famous Italian jewelry designer, Giovanni Bosco, to create a special ring for his wife to thank her for her support during the campaign. He plans to give her the gorgeous gem in time for the inauguration ceremonies on January 20th.

The Harmony ring is made of rhodium – the world’s most expensive metal –and is encrusted with diamonds. One of the world’s rarest and most precious metals, only about 25 tons of rhodium are mined each year, setting the price at over $7,660 per ounce — or about ten times the cost of gold.

The ring is expected to cost around $30,000 – or close to a year’s salary for Joe the Plummer – so we’re not sure how much the jewelry conservative Mrs. O will want to flaunt the gift from the nation’s First Husband.

But will the public let the J-Crew wearing Michelle Obama get away with wearing a big time bauble without calling foul?

I think this well-deserved ‘thank you’ can be considered ‘bling we can believe in’. When she breaks out a rhodium and diamond tiara, then we’ll talk.

The Jewelry Insider

November 12, 2008

Michelle Obama’s Election Night Narciso Rodriguez dress got so much attention, many forgot to inquire about her jewelry. But Jewelry Insider readers were curious – as every good jewelry hound should be – so I tracked down the source of the icey earrings that glittered around the world last week.

The diamond danglers were desinged by chic jewelry label, Loree Rodkin, and Vogue UK reports they are 18K white gold triple dangle earrings in pear, oval and marquee shapes covered with small diamonds, costing an estimated $10,000.

Does this mean that the jewels were a one-time splurge for the frugal First Lady? Or is this a sign of blings to come?

To be continued…