THE ST. ERASMUS NECKLACE
Pieter Erasmus had no idea that his design would end up on the neck of the First Lady. “When I saw her wearing it, I had to sit down,” he says. “It was a tremendous shock, but in a good way.” The jeweler, who calls Mrs. Obama “a very stylish girl,” was originally inspired to make the crocheted fresh-water pearl and Swarovski crystal necklace after reading about the gems owned by a 19th-century Indian ruler, but he may have found a new muse. “Mrs Obama has a fantastic sense of personal style,” he says, “Feminine and powerful. She is the kind of woman that is in my mind when I design jewelry.”
THE LOREE RODKIN EARRINGS
For the Nobel Piece Prize gala in Oslo, Mrs. Obama chose white gold and diamond drop earrings from Loree Rodkin. The designer, who also crafted the First Lady’s Inaugural ball gems, cites “celestial inspiration” for the design, saying that the meaning behind them is to “reach for the moon, the stars and the galaxies.”
THE CAROLE TANENBAUM BROOCHES
Canadian vintage jewelry collector Carole Tanenbaum is “always proud to see the First Lady wear one of my loved ‘jewels’!” Mrs. Obama, whose brooches are purchased through the Chicago boutique Ikram, owns a ’60s-era Hattie Carnegie pin made of silk threads (left) and a jade-green papier-mache flower that dates from the ’70s (right). “I love the color and scale in these pieces,” says Tanenbaum. “Mrs. Obama’s put the fun back in accessories with her daring large-scale brooches and the way in which she positions them.”
THE BOCHIC EARRINGS
Talk about statement jewelry! For the recent State Dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur, Mrs. Obama chose a shoulder-dusting set by Bochic designers David Joseph and Miriam Salat. “When we designed the earrings we wanted to integrate both Eastern and Western design elements,” Joseph said in a statement. “We were drawn to the orange hue of the natural amber and the rose color of the rubellite tourmaline, which are traditional Indian colors. We also added rose cut diamonds to create a vintage feel.” And, naturally, “The First Lady was an absolute vision.”
THE TOM BINNS NECKLACE
“You are not dealing with reason, you are dealing with attitude,” designer Tom Binns has said of his work. The Irish-born jeweler has a magpie’s eye for combining multi-colored crystals into surreally beautiful creations like Mrs. O’s necklace from his Mutiny of Splendor series. The First Lady, who purchases Binns’s pieces from Chicago’s Ikram boutique, wore the eye-catching piece to the recent Kennedy Center Honors event.
THE GARAVELLI DIAMOND BROOCH
Mrs. Obama’s latest pin has lofty provenance indeed-that is, the President of the United States. During Oprah’s Christmas at the White House special President Obama pointed out that the First Lady’s Garavelli brooch was a recent anniversary surprise. “You get some nice stuff,” he said to his wife, joking, “Here’s the general rule-I give nicer stuff than I get!” He certainly can’t claim that she hasn’t appreciated the gift-not only has she used it to accent a draped Lanvin design, she has also dressed up a double-strand of pearls with the custom piece.