Ruth Bader Ginsburg wore a ‘superhero’ necklace, Nancy Pelosi an impeachment brooch – Here is how women at a world stage are using jewelry to make powerful political statements without saying a word

Michelle Obama’s ‘vote’ necklace, by Chari Cuthbert, had women across America ordering online to make their own political statements. Photo: Reuters


In a recent video endorsement for presidential hopeful and former US vice-president Joe Biden, Michelle Obama opted to rock the vote with not only her words, but also her choice of jewellery.

Here we take a look at the literal style statement the former Flotus made and three other women in power who let their voices be heard through their choice of jewels.

Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks at the all-virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention, knowing that the world had a clear visual on her statement jewellery. Photo: Reuters

Michelle Obama:
At the Democratic National Convention speech in August, former first lady Michelle Obama showed her support for US presidential candidate Joe Biden with a moving 18-minute speech that called for the nation to stand united and to make their voices heard in November’s upcoming election.

Elegant and stylish as always, Obama made the now-viral speech wearing a simple chocolate-brown satin blouse, hoop earrings and a tiny charm necklace that spelt out the word “VOTE”.

To no one’s surprise, the bipartisan trinket became a popular search on Google; the design, created by African-American jeweller Chari Cuthbert became an instant hit.

The same 18-karat gold necklace Obama wore retails on Bychari’s website starting from US$295 depending on the size of the letters, type of gold and gem set. The design is spot on with the current demi-fine micro jewellery trend and its relatively affordable price point has hit the sweet spot among Obama’s millennial fan base.

The former first lady sent a clear message in the hope of driving voters to the polls in November; and while sending signals with jewellery isn’t new or unusual, few other women in power have done so in such an overt and literal manner.

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Queen Elizabeth, US President Donald Trump and the Obama brooch. Photo: MOD

Queen Elizabeth:
Owner of one of the world’s most valuable jewellery collections, the queen probably has a piece of jewellery for every imaginable occasion. Many of the more important pieces in her collection are legacy pieces passed down through the generations of the British monarchy; but she’s also received gifts from heads of states, dignitaries and other royal families.

The queen is a devoted fan of the brooch – she can be seen sporting one at just about every public appearance. So when the Obamas paid a visit to Buckingham Palace in 2008, Michelle Obama handpicked a floral brooch for her royal highness.

After wearing the pin to a dinner with the Obamas later that evening, it seems the piece remained in her jewellery box. That is until 2018 when president Donald Trump and Melania Trump paid a visit to Britain, when the queen greeted the couple wearing the Obama brooch.

Royal commentators took that as the queen’s way of showing exactly how she felt about the new US president.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court in Washington with what can only be described as a truly ‘fierce’ necklace. Photo: AFP

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
The notorious RBG swapped her usual dissent collar for a superhero-inspired necklace from brand Stella & Dot. The Silver Pegasus necklace was a gift from a fan, who said it reminded her of the collars the octogenarian would often wear on the bench.

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The spiky, armour-like design was described by Susan Hyman, the lawyer who sent RBG the gift, as a “warrior princess’ battle armour”.

It’s believed she chose to wear the necklace instead of the usual fabric collar in the official portrait as a subtle protest against the newly appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh amid allegations of his misconduct.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up pages of the State of the Union speech wearing a Mace of the Republic brooch. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Nancy Pelosi:
During the 2019 State of the Union address, speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi showed the world exactly how she felt about President Donald Trump’s speech when she tore her copy in half on live television.

But that wasn’t the only silent statement she made that day. Dressed in white, Pelosi donned a gold brooch in the form of the Mace of the Republic, the symbol of the House of Representatives. Many felt it was her way of reminding everyone present that they were on her turf.

The piece was later dubbed the “impeachment brooch” when she wore it again later in the year, this time with a black ensemble, to Trump’s impeachment hearing.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.