Laura Bush’s Mystery Necklace

It’s a Presidential mystery: What happened to the diamond necklace First Lady Laura Bush was supposed to wear for her husband’s inauguration—but didn’t?

Working in consultation with Bush’s dress designer, Dallas jeweler Sue Gragg crafted a gold necklace of three diamonds for the new First Lady. The three “Leo” cuts weighed 8 cts. in all. One dealer quoted in The New York Times placed the piece’s value at more than $100,000.

However, the necklace didn’t work with the First Lady’s outfit, and she ended up wearing a diamond necklace she’d had for years. But Gragg told JCK she has no idea what happened to her piece. “I haven’t heard anything, to be honest with you,” she said, adding that, as far as she’s concerned, Mrs. Bush can keep it. The Times noted that ethics rules might prevent her from holding on to the piece, depending on whether she received the gift before or after the inauguration. “I think the lawyers might be deciding,” Gragg says, noting that she hopes it will appear on Mrs. Bush’s neck sometime in the future. Until then, no one knows. “It’s a mystery necklace right now,” says Eric Austein of Leo Schachter, which developed the “Leo.”

In any case, Gragg is happy that both the President and Mrs. Bush wore pieces she had designed for the festivities: The First Lady wore a brooch, and President Bush sported cufflinks monogrammed with a “W.” “They’re very simple people,” Gragg says. “They don’t like a lot of flashy things.”