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Last updateWed, 01 Apr 2015 12am
NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

North Carolina and South Carolina jewelers will re...

Four generations and 115 years of Waller & Company Jewelers

Four generations and 115 years of Waller & Company Jewelers

One of the oldest African American retailers in th...

Cause for celebration - Atlanta Jewelry Show 65th anniversary edition

Cause for celebration - Atlanta Jewelry Show 65th anniversary edition

(ATLANTA) - Buoyed by strong Christmas and Valentin...

Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku, makers of an exclusive collection of watche...

Rembrandt Charms® debuts new charm just in time for Mother’s Day

Rembrandt Charms® debuts new charm just in time for Mother’s Day

(WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y.) - Rembrandt Charms debuts its...

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Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

The 2015 edition of the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour will be held for Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Las Vegas. This will be the third inst...

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Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® 2015 Spring Collection is now available from The Cargo Hold, Inc. The 2015 Spring Collection includes more tha...

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Featured Articles

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

From flea markets to estate jewelry market leader

With Millennials marrying in record numbers, “something old” includes more than a handed down wedding dress. Ernest Perry, owner of Perry’s Fine Antiq...

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Hoover & Strong reports Fairmined Gold gaining new ground in the U.S.

25 DAYS AGO
Hoover & Strong reports Fairmined Gold gaining new ground in the U.S.

In the Peruvian desert, lies a small gold mining town by the name of Relave. Families here have depended on small-scale mining since the 1980s when economic hardship and conflict drove numerous families to settle as informal miners. Starting out without basic infrastructure, they worked the tailings...

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JA offering Members Scholarships

25 DAYS AGO

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, funds scholarships for members on renowned industry diploma, professional development and certification programs. JA awards scholarships during the enrollment period from Februar...

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NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

25 DAYS AGO
NCJA and SCJA to “horse around” at 2015

North Carolina and South Carolina jewelers will return to “horse around” together May 15-17 at the Marriott Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, SC.  The same dates as Triple Crown horse race Preakness Weekend!  The North Carolina Jewelers Association and the South Carolina Jewelers Association are togethe...

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Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

25 DAYS AGO
Jewelers for Children announces 2015 Rings of Strength Tour

The 2015 edition of the Jewelers for Children Rings of Strength Tour will be held for Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Las Vegas. This will be the third installment of the popular event. Start time will be at 5:30 a.m. outside the tour bus entrance at the Mandalay Bay Resort Casino.  Participants will be a...

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Chris Glaser forms CAD/CAM consultancy

25 DAYS AGO
Chris Glaser forms CAD/CAM consultancy

Chris Glaser is proud to announce the formation of his new company, Glaser Cad Cam Advisers, LLC. The new company began operation in February serving both retail and manufacturing jewelers’ CAD/CAM needs, providing revolutionary design software, EnvisionTec 3D Printing solutions and state-of-the-art...

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Jewel-Craft, Inc. announces acquisition of LogoArt®

25 DAYS AGO
Jewel-Craft, Inc. announces acquisition of LogoArt®

(ERLANGER, Ky.) - Jewel-Craft, Inc. announced it has officially acquired the thriving licensed jewelry manufacturer, LogoArt®, returning the brand to its original birthplace. The family-owned and operated full-service jewelry repair and manufacturing trade shop enters the licensed jewelry market with...

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Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

25 DAYS AGO
Southern Gates® debuts new Spring Collection

(CHARLESTON, S.C.) - The Southern Gates® 2015 Spring Collection is now available from The Cargo Hold, Inc. The 2015 Spring Collection includes more than twenty new sterling silver items inspired by the historic wrought iron gates found throughout legendary gardens and courtyards.

The new Spring Collec...

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Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

25 DAYS AGO
Obaku introduces new styles for Spring/Summer 2015

Obaku, makers of an exclusive collection of watches with a focus on simple, serene design, is pleased to introduce new styles for Spring/Summer 2015. Included are new styles in men’s watches with Super Luminous indexes and fully open designed dials in various sunray colors, including navy blue, gunm...

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To Bee or not to Bee?

Former Secretary of State Albright’s “Pin Diplomacy”

When Madeleine Albright, the former US Secretary of State, donned a wasp pin before an important meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, he was visibly disturbed. Brooches had become her diplomatic calling card, a way of non-verbally signifying her mood or intentions. Bees or wasps could signal “something like a sting. I wore wasps on days I wanted to do a little stinging and deliver a tough message,” she explains.

Mia-Liberty-Dec
This 1997 Gijs Bakker Liberty Brooch is part of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s collection. Courtesy of the Albright Collection and the Museum of Arts and Design. Photo: John Bigelow Taylor.
It all started in 1994 when the Iraqi press referred to her as an “unparalleled serpent.” Taking it in stride, she began wearing a gold and diamond serpent pin, a circa 1860 estate piece, as a badge of honor. “And so then I thought, well, this is fun, so I went and I bought a lot of costume jewelry to kind of fit whatever the issue was we were going to be working on. When people would say, ‘What are we going to do today?’ or ‘How do you feel?,’ I said, ‘Read my pins.’”

Albright’s collection of roughly 300 diplomatic pins are currently on display through January 31, 2010 at the New York Museum of Arts and Design following the publication of her “Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box.” A self-confessed jewelry lover, the former Secretary of State has spoken at Gemological Institute of America conventions and will be honored at the upcoming Jewelry Information Center’s GEM Gala with its Style award.

According to Holly Hotchner, the NY Museum’s Director, Albright discovered that “what she wore had a lot of interpretive meaning to those she was with. The pins became an added way that she communicated.”

In December 1999 a Russian agent was caught listening to signals from a bug planted in a State Department conference room. In her next meeting with Russian officials, Albright handled the tense situation by wearing a large brooch of amethyst, chalcedony and gold in the shape of a bug. Remaining cordial, she let her pin do the talking. The message was received loud and clear.

Mia-Bee-Dec
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s “Bee” (circa 1980, designer unknown) pin. During meetings with foreign heads of state Albright would often wear a pin as an additional means of communication. Photo courtesy of the Albright Collection and the Museum of Arts and Design.
When she was negotiating the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, she wore an arrow-shaped pin. Albright recounts, “All of a sudden the Russian foreign minister looked at me and said, ‘Is that one of your interceptors?’ and I said, ‘Yes, we make them very small.’”

The former Secretary of State’s “pin diplomacy” became so established that foreign leaders would regularly read her pins to interpret her message. President Putin told President Clinton he would look at her pins to try to figure out how she was feeling or what she was trying to say. Albright recounts one incident. “I was very concerned about what the Russians had been doing in Chechnya and denying everything, so I wore the three monkeys, the ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ monkeys, because they were denying what was going on. I’m not really sure he got the message.”

The pin collection includes all-purpose “good mood” pins such as ladybugs, flowers, butterflies and hot-air balloons as well as a “whole menagerie” of more menacing spiders, bees, wasps and crocodiles. When she met with Nelson Mandela, Albright honored his native Africa by wearing a zebra pin. One of her favorites from the collection is a dove pin presented to her by Leah Rubin, the wife of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Throughout history, pins and jewelry have been worn as symbols of power, sending messages. “Interestingly enough, it was mostly men who wore the jewelry in various times, and obviously crowns were part of signals that were being sent throughout history by people of rank,” Albright explains.

Mia-snake-Dec
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s gold and diamond Snake pin (c. 1860, unknown designer). Courtesy of the Albright Collection and the Museum of Arts and Design. Photo: John Bigelow Taylor
“It’s a real icebreaker.” While a man may open a conversation by commenting on a tie or the weather, the first female Secretary of State has discovered a creative use for pins in such situations, taking advantage of her gender. “I love being a woman and I was not one of these women who rose through professional life by wearing men’s clothes or looking masculine. I loved wearing bright colors and being who I am.”

Albright has shopped the world for her brooches, including local international bazaars as well as Washington DC’s Tiny Jewel Box, a favorite for her costume pieces. Asked what she would wear now that her collection is on display, Albright doesn’t miss a beat. “It’s a good excuse to go out and buy more.”

Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer, specializing in one-of-a-kind and limited edition high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-24 karat gold and platinum. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List Hollywood celebrities, are featured in many top galleries and stores throughout the country, where she regularly hosts Trunk Shows. Contact Mia via her website, http://jeweljewel.com, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (877) JEWEL-MY.

Sources: “Madeleine Albright’s Jewel-Box Diplomacy,” NPR interview, 9/29/2009, NPR.org; Newsweek, “The Ambassador’s Jewels,”  Eleanor Clift interview, 9/28/2009; Associated Press, “Albright’s brooch collection to be shown in NYC,” Ula Ilnytzky, 4/1/09.


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