How Madeleine Albright Let Her Jewelry Do The Talking!

Madeleine Albright Says “Read My Pins”

Oh, the interesting things you find when cruising the Internet! I happened to come upon information about a traveling exhibit of Madeleine Albright’s jewelry collection. The exhibit, named “Read My Pins,” toured from February, 2010 through June, 2015 and featured a striking collection of her favorite pins.

Most of the jewelry are costume pieces that she picked up at antique shops and flea markets. She wore these to silently make a statement when she met with foreign dignitaries, a habit that she began when she served as U.N. Ambassador (1993–1997) and continued during her time as Secretary of State (1997–2001).

A few of the pins are shown below.

The Serpent Pin

Madeleine Albright's Antique Snake Pin
Madeleine Albright’s Antique Snake Pin

“This all started when I was ambassador at the U.N. and Saddam Hussein called me a serpent. I had this wonderful antique snake pin. So when we were dealing with Iraq, I wore the snake pin.”

Source: NPR Article and Radio interview (see links below)

 

You’re Bugging Me!

Madeleine Albright's 1997 Iradj Moini Large Bug Pin
Madeleine Albright’s 1997 Iradj Moini Large Bug Pin

In 1999, it was discovered that the Russians had bugged the U.S. State Department. The next time Albright met with the Russians, she pinned this giant bug to her left shoulder.

Source: NPR Article and Radio interview (see links below)

 

 

Pretending Not To See

Iradj Moini See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil pins
Iradj Moini See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil pins

Because she felt that Russia was ignoring human rights violations they had committed in Chechnya, Ms. Albright wore these Iradj Moini “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” monkey pins for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Source: NPR Article and Radio Interview (see links below)

 

Madame Secretary

Antique French Diamond Eagle brooch
Antique French Diamond Eagle brooch

This beautiful antique French diamond eagle brooch was worn for her swearing-in ceremony as Secretary of State.

Source: NPR Article and Radio Interview (see links below)

 

Lady Liberty

Gijs Bakker Liberty Brooch
Dual Watch Liberty Brooch by Dutch Designer Gijs Bakker

This striking “Liberty” pin was created for Secretary Madeleine Albright by Dutch designer Gijs Bakker in 1997. It features two clocks, arranged so that she, when looking down, and a visitor, looking across, will each be able to tell when the time for the meeting is finished.

Source: Smithsonian Article and Photo Gallery (see link below)

 

 

Support the Troops!

Trifari 1940s Uncle Sam Top Hat and Eagle Brooches
Trifari 1940s Uncle Sam Top Hat and Eagle Brooches

Ms. Albright also loved to wear patriotic pins, like these fabulous Trifari vintage 1940s Uncle Sam Top Hat and Eagle, which she often liked to wear together, especially when visiting the troops.

Source: Mint Museum Exhibit Article and Photo Gallery (see link below)

 

 

 

 

Many More to Come!

Madeleine Albright's Book, Read My Pins
Madeleine Albright’s Book, Read My Pins

Ms. Albright has written a fascinating book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box. The book documents her life through these brooches and contains over 200 photographs, along with many interesting and often humorous stories about jewelry and her diplomatic career.

Check out the book on Amazon here:

Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box

 

 

Stop by the Shop!

When you’ve finished looking at all of the lovely jewelry, stop by the My Classic Jewelry shop and get some for yourself, or find a wonderful gift for someone special!

Shop link: My Classic Jewelry

Resources

Although the exhibit has ended, you can see additional photos and read more about the pieces at some of the sites that hosted the exhibit, below.

Initial announcement with exhibit schedule: Museum of Arts and Design Exhibit Announcement

Smithsonian article with Interview and Photo Gallery: Madeleine Albright on Her Life in Pins

Article and Photo Gallery on the Mint Museum site: Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection

Article on More site: Read Her Pins: Madeleine Albright on Diplomacy Through Jewelry

NPR article with Photo Gallery: Madeleine Albright’s Jewelry-Box Diplomacy
NPR Audio of Radio Interview with Susan Stamberg Here: NPR Interview with Madeleine Albright

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