With the Fourth of July just around the corner, I can't help but be inspired by the spirit of the holiday. Celebrating who we are as a nation is a joyful occasion, worthy of breaking out some sparkling jewelry to match the festivities. And when it comes to making shining accessory choices, you can't beat the impeccable taste of our nation's inspirational First Ladies. From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, the women that represent our country have always used their jewelry to make compelling statements in fashion and politics. So, let's journey through our nation's past to discover the iconic jewelry stylings from five fabulous First Ladies.
An "Ancient" Endorsement
When George Washington was elected first President, his wife Martha, used her jewelry to make deliberate statements about the promising future of the nation. She chose adornments that were modest, yet deeply symbolic, such as a stunning amber necklace. In ancient Greece and Rome, amber was worn by the "democratically" elected ruling classes. By wearing amber, Martha aligned the budding American nation with once flourishing classical empires.
A Moderate Approach
By 1860, this earlier, hopeful chapter in American history had come and gone. The United States stood on the brink of the Civil War as Abraham Lincoln was elected president. It wouldn't have been tasteful or politically smart for the new First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, to sport the flashiest jewelry at the Inaugural Ball. It was for this reason that ol' Abe bought his wife a half-set of pearl jewelry. She attended the ball wearing lustrous bracelets and a choker her husband had purchased. But because it was a half-set, it didn't include the earrings, brooches or corsage of a full set and cost about 50% less. This helped Mary project a more modest image so it wouldn't appear like the new president was spending extravagantly during a troubled period.
Another president who served when times were tough was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was elected during the Great Depression in 1933. At this point, life for many Americans wasn't easy or glamorous. That's why it was vital that Eleanor Roosevelt didn't appear out of touch with everyday citizens by wearing expensive jewelry. Instead, the First Lady wisely selected simple faux pearls paired with practical wool dress suits. By appearing elegant without being gaudy, Eleanor was able to blaze a trail for women in politics throughout her distinguished political career. She changed the role of First Lady by being active in public life and was fiercely devoted to humanitarian causes. Eleanor may not have favored diamonds, but she definitely shone brightly as one.
Beauty and Intellect
In the early 1960's, the Kennedy administration was characterized by incredible hope and the jewelry shone just as brightly. Jacqueline Kennedy was one of the most iconic First Ladies due to her impeccable fashion sense, which showcased captivating pieces. She embodied sophistication in her chic, colorful suit sets and glowing multi-strand of pearls. Jackie's collection of beautiful treasures also included vibrant brooches as well as her glittering diamond and emerald engagement ring. Her shimmering style complimented her husband's optimistic and progressive politics. It also meshed with the image she projected as a poised and intelligent First Lady. Jackie showed that a woman could adore marvelous accessories while still being keen and informed, which was an absolutely smashing combination.
Off the Beaten Path
Let's fast forward to more recent times, when President Obama forged his own way in terms of politics and policies. His First Lady, Michelle Obama, was no different and her jewelry definitely reflected that. Instead of selecting big name brand pieces, Michelle favored items carefully made by independent designers. The most famous of these treasures was a necklace she wore to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, that spelled the word VOTE in small, handcrafted gold letters. That simple necklace spoke volumes to citizens everywhere during a crucial election year. In the weeks that followed the designer was flooded with requests for this timely piece.
Celebrate with Yelton's
Through their careful choices, these women successfully used their priceless pieces to connect with the nation. This demonstrates the timeless value and power of jewelry, something which we honor every day at Yelton Fine Jewelers. We also cherish the precious moments and special milestones these treasures commemorate, from anniversaries to birthdays. This includes the Fourth of July, which is the perfect occasion to add a little extra sparkle to your wardrobe in celebration. So, don't be a stranger, stop by 9263 Schulze Drive today. Allow me to personally show you around and find something that will make your own independent spirit shine through.