All eyes around the country were riveted on the Bushes’ Washington debut, but within each state, attention also focused on local officials entering—and leaving—office. In North Carolina, it was Mike Easley, newly elected governor, who took center stage with his wife, Mary.
One of the inaugural events for Easley was a luncheon held in honor of the state’s new First Lady, and the focus of that luncheon was the presentation of a gold brooch made by jeweler Greg Pope of G.A. Pope Fine Jewelry in Hendersonville, N.C. Last year, the Junior League of Raleigh commissioned Pope to design and create the brooch. Along with the dual honor of being chosen to design and present the brooch, Pope earned invaluable publicity when a local newspaper ran a front-page story about the jeweler and his brooch. A large photo of Pope, along with shots of the brooch and the First Lady, made up the lead story in the Hendersonville Times-News the day after the luncheon presentation. The brooch, which is shaped like a dogwood, features a hand-hammered 18k gold leaf with a small cluster of diamonds making up the center of the flower. The retail price would be about $1,700.
Pope made sure that the brooch fit the inaugural bill: The event’s theme was “North Carolina’s Treasures,” and the dogwood is the state flower.