First-Lady Jewels to Inspire This President’s Day

I have the true pleasure living in our nation’s capitol, and sometimes I forget to take advantage of the things it has to offer, particularly in the winter when it’s just so much better to hole up inside. This weekend, however, we had a crazy, unseasonable shock of warm weather (preparing to hear the curses from my friends further north), and so I set out on the town—really, I just museum-hopped. Now I’m not much of a history buff, but throw in a fashion twist and you can count me in. That’s why no matter how many times I visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, I spend most of my time ogling the dresses and jewels worn by first ladies of past and present. I snapped some photos with my trusty iPhone, and in honor of President’s Day, thought it would be a great time to share them with you. Regardless of your views on politics, I think we can all take a few lessons in style—or at the very least marvel at—the choices made by our POTUSes. I hope that these inspire you to beef up your stock of jewels for spring, in the categories you and your customers love most. Tell me, whose jewels do you love best?

Jacqueline Kennedy pearls, Kenneth Jay Lane

Jacqueline Kennedy’s custom pearl necklace, designed by Kenneth Jay Lane


Barbara Bush signature custom pearls

Barbara Bush’s signature costume pearls, purse designed by Judith Leiber

Both of the pearl necklaces on display and worn by Kennedy and Bush were three-strand costume pieces. I find them to be quite proper and absolutely timeless. Pearls have gone through many iterations as of late, and we’re seeing them in new and super-exciting ways that I’m not sure I’d expect to see on a first lady. But it’s good to know you can always count on the classics.

Stock up on those pearls—Mother’s Day is coming!


Mary Todd Lincoln enameled gold bracelet watch

Mary Todd Lincoln’s enameled gold bracelet watch

Now here is a piece I would just love to get my hands on. Mary Todd Lincoln’s enameled gold bracelet watch was made in Geneva by V. John Magnin & Guédin, and the description told us that Mrs. Lincoln was sure to be presentable; she believed that her appearance was as much a part of the image of the presidency as the White House. It’s so incredible to me how much we continue to covet jewels like this. A great vintage piece is just as sensationally savored today as it was back then—if not more. Though they can be hard to find, vintage-inspired jewels prove to be quite popular as an alternative, mixing modern technique with the lovely looks of yore.

Take a look at these vintage and vintage-inspired pieces.


Edith Roosevelt's Harry Winston diamond necklace (copy)

Edith Roosevelt’s Harry Winston diamond necklace (reproduction)

A copy of Mrs. Roosevelt’s flowery diamond statement necklace is on display (both the original and reproduction made by Harry Winston). We can’t get enough of jewels like this, and I’m sure many of you would agree that it’d be a major plus to see more of this on the red carpet. Celebs, take note!

Michelle Obama's Loree Rodkin jewelry suite

Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball jewelry suite, designed by Loree Rodkin

Last but not least, and certainly most spectacular, is this diamond jewelry suite on display worn by Michelle Obama. The drop earrings, stacking bangles, and stunner of a ring were all designed by Loree Rodkin, specifically for the inaugural balls. The earrings boast 61 cts. of diamonds in the form of rose-cut and briolettes (wow), the bangles are loaded with 13 cts. of diamonds (swoon), and the black rhodium-accented cocktail ring, dubbed the Michelle Signet Ring, shines with a rose-cut diamond center and total weight of 13 cts. (mega swoon). I suppose it’s because this is the most modern of the bunch that I find this jewelry display to be the one that I relate to most, but on the other hand, diamonds. Lots and lots of diamonds.

Stock up on the latest in diamonds, because, well, obviously.

Overall, though the jewelry on display was limited, I think there is something to please everyone, and most definitely a jewel or two (or three) to lust after. I wish you a wonderful President’s Day (and great three-day weekend, if you’re taking it!).

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