Sunday, November 22, 2009

Madeleine Albright's Famous Political Pin Collection

By on Sunday, November 22, 2009 3 Comments

The former US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright is famous of her extensive personal collection of pins. You can now see some 200 of them at the Museum of Art and Design in New York . The exhibition runs until January 31, 2010.

The exhibition also coincides with the launch of her latest book Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box.Albright said, "I try to talk about foreign policy in a way that people find interesting. I thought this was the ultimate way -- to use the pins to tell the stories."

Madeleine Albright, official secretary of Stat...
Image via Wikipedia
During her political tenure under the Clinton adminstration, she often used her jewelry to convey unspoken views by encouraging colleagues and news reporters to read her pins instead of reading her lips. She said, "I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal." (n.b. Using jewelry to deliver messages is not unique - check my past post on the Romance of Zulu beads)

Her collection is varied, span over a century and are from different parts of the world. Some are valuable but most of her pins though are costume jewelry.

My favorite story about one of her pins happened when she was the US Ambassador to the United Nations in the 1990's.

She made it clear exactly what she thought about Iraq's non-compliance to UN weapons inspections. Saddam Hussein's press then dubbed her a snake in a poem. So guess what she wore for the next meeting in Iraq? This gold serpent brooch :

Many of the pins were gifts or tied to important events. For instance, Albright wore the polar bear pin in 2008 when she was in the Arctic to discuss climate change.

Check out her other pins in this CBS news broadcast with Katie Couric.

After January, the exhibition will move to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas then Washington DC and lastly Indianapolis, Indiana in the fall of 2010. Via

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips
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  1. Love the pins... thanks for the posting, I will check out the book.

  2. I am going to check out the book too!

  3. I actually learned about her pins when they did a segment on the CBS Sunday Morning Show a few weeks back. It was very interesting and her pin collection was quite impressive with added interest with the stories behind them.