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Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) ann...

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Schnack’s Fine Jewelry turns 150

Not many jewelry retailers can say their store ope...

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

From Vicenza with Love: At Oro International, Italian family values shine

Fifty years ago, Qurino Ruzza, with 20 years as a ...

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelr...

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Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and southwest England. The route gives a glimps...

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Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

Jewelers Mutual presents honors at National Sale Conference

(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company recognized its top agencies and agents during the annual awards ceremony held at their National Sale...

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Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

6 DAYS AGO
Ancient trade route shows gold's enduring power

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found a prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and southwest England. The route gives a glimpse into how ancient cultures regarded gold.

A new study has shed more light on how the value of gold has endured – and changed – since ancient times.

Arc...

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Colorado woman finds 8.52 carat diamond in Arkansas state park

6 DAYS AGO
Colorado woman finds 8.52 carat diamond in Arkansas state park

MURFREESBORO, Ark. –  An 8.52 carat diamond has been found by a Colorado woman at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park at Murfreesboro.

Park officials said Friday that the gem found by Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, is the fifth largest diamond found since the park was established in 1972....

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From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

6 DAYS AGO
From Jewels to Tools: Ivan Levi to speak on enhancing business practices at RJO Show in August

(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) - The jewelry industry has seen changes in the way business is being done since the advent of the Internet, and especially since the economic downturn began in 2007. Ivan Levi’s quest to find answers to questions about these changes led him to discover how one specific, yet easy...

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Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

6 DAYS AGO
Rings of Strength collects over $60,000 for JFC

(NEW YORK) - Jewelers for Children (JFC) held the 3rd Annual Rings of Strength Tour on Thursday, May 28, at Mandalay Bay Resort Casino in Las Vegas, NV. More than 125 participants assembled at 5:30 a.m. to either walk or run 5K, or bike one of two courses, a leisurely 15K route or a challenging 50K r...

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Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

6 DAYS AGO
Padgett elected President of NC Jewelers Association

The North Carolina Jewelers Association (NCJA) announced that Brad Padgett, an independent jeweler and native of Jacksonville, North Carolina, is the new president of the statewide association. His two-year term of office as the organization’s president began May 16.

Padgett graduated with a B.S.B.A....

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Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

6 DAYS AGO
Two Houston jewelers named Distinction Winners in Houston Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence

(HOUSTON, Tex.) - Houston Jewelry and Jewelry Judge Ben Gordon were among the businesses recognized at the annual Houston Better Business Bureau Awards of Excellence held in May. Both businesses were named Distinction Winners, a designation awarded to businesses that maintain a superior commitment to...

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In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

6 DAYS AGO
In tune with the times? New Unisex Ring Collection keeps the beat

Designed by Elaine of Esprit Creations

New to SJTA and the Atlanta Jewelry Show, family business Esprit Creations has been successfully manufacturing and wholesaling fine sterling silver jewelry with genuine gemstones for over 2 decades. Standing apart from the ordinary, their wide selection of exclu...

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Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

6 DAYS AGO
Mason-Kay Jade to make Atlanta Jewelry Show debut

Mason-Kay Jade has been a leading fine jade jewelry wholesaler/supplier/designer in the United States since 1976. The company specializes in all natural (type “A”) jadeite jade fine jewelry, designed in-house by their exclusive designer Kristina and MK design team. Mason-Kay Jade is excited to intro...

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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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