Brooch Diplomacy - Madeleine Albright Communicates with Jewelry

If Michelle Obama is ushering in a new era of power brooch diplomacy, she wouldn’t be the first. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a tenacious negotiator, loved to communicate her mood and intentions through her brooches, and now the Museum of Arts & Design in New York will exhibit 200 of her favorites.

Albright "found that what she wore and how she presented herself had a lot of interpretive meaning to those she was with," said Holly Hotchner, the museum's director. "The pins became an added way that she communicated as secretary of state."

"Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection," scheduled to open today, comes 10 years after the museum presented "Brooching It Diplomatically," a show of pins created by contemporary artists inspired by the ones Albright wore.

"She started acquiring pins because of their inherent messages, their whimsical and pictorial quality," said David Revere McFadden, the museum's chief curator. "It's not about jewels and gems, it's about jewelry as a communication device."

The collection is diverse, ranging from Americana styles — including flags and eagles — to ones with flora, fauna and insect themes. She always brought a selection with her on her travels so she could be ready for any situation.

For instance, Albright chose to wear a bee pinwhenever she felt talks amounted to "something like a sting," McFadden said.

"It's a very gentle way of saying to whomever she is speaking to: 'Listen carefully because I'm kind of telling you where I think this conversation is going,"' he said.

When she thought negotiations would likely go well, she would wear a balloon pin. Another pin, made of stainless steel, shows the head of Lady Liberty with two watch faces for eyes, one of which is upside down. The pin allows both her and others to check the time.

I wonder how many times Albright said the word ‘pinhead’ during the Bush administration?

The exhibition, running from Sept. 30 though Jan. 31, 2010, will be accompanied by a book, "Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box," written by Albright.

Mariah's New Record and Record-Breaking Diamond

With all the buzz about Khloe Kardashian's 9-carat diamond ring cluttering the airwaves, it's easy to forget about other celebrity bling that made our hearts skip a beat.

Now that Mariah Carey is running around on all the talk shows promoting her latest album, I am reminded that this diva has a rock to rival them all.

Do you remember the 17-carat pink diamond ring she got from Nick Canon back in 2008? The impressive sparkler from Jacob & Co is valued at a whopping $2.5 million and with a center stone weighing in at 10-carats – a little smaller than a dime.

"I wanted to do something extremely special, something that Mariah would really appreciate," Cannon told PEOPLE back in the day. "We got the pinkest stone we could find, surrounded by other diamonds."

Carey definitely approved. "It's so clear, you can see my finger through it," she said.

According to Jacob Arabo of Jacob & Co., Cannon "was very involved," in picking the ring, which has an emerald-cut fancy light pink center stone surrounded by 58 intense pink diamonds, flanked by two half-moon diamonds.

Stop! It's too much to bear...

Who wears your favorite celebrity enagement ring bling? Weigh in!

Khloe Kardashian's Engagement Ring Bling

Well, jewelry hounds? I found the Khloe Kardashian diamond ring low down for you.

The wedding that has everyone in Hollywood buzzing went down yesterday evening between Khloe and her LA Laker bf, Lamar Odom - and of course Ryan Seacrest was there to film the fiesta for his Keeping Up With The Kardashians reality show (why that show gets ratings is beyond me).

Actually, I do see at least one angle of interest here. Khloe's whopper of a diamond engagement ring was finally spotted, and the 9-carat radiant cut bauble rivals that of fellow Laker wife, Vanessa Bryant (wife of Kobe).

While Vanessa lost in the carat count (she has a mere 7) she does win the dating game - hanging with Kobe for a marathon 6 months before walking down the aisle. Way to take your time, ladies.

Anywho, check out for details of the wedding itself. Lots of celebrity guests, white roses, gourmet food and the like - and of course plenty of reality show cameras there to make sure America watches.

What's next? Hospital bed footage when sister, Kourtney, delivers her baby? I think I'll pass...

Khloe Kardashian's Engagement Ring MIA

What's more outrageous than a 9-carat diamond engagement ring? Getting a 9-carat diamond engagement ring and not wearing it!

Reality star Khloe Kardashian is stealing the spotlight from her famous sisters this week with news of her last-minute wedding to LA Laker, Lamar Odom, after dating him for only a month.

"I'm thrilled to finally be able to tell you that the news is true...Lamar and I are getting married on Sunday!!!" Kardashian wrote on her Celebuzz blog Tuesday. "I couldn't be happier and I'm so excited that I can finally share the news with all of you."

Maybe his 4-year $33 million-dollar deal motivated her? Or perhaps the rumored 9-carat diamond ring sealed the deal? But the ring is nowhere to be found! What gives?

Apparently, the diamond dazzler is being sized so it's ready for the pending nuptials this Sunday. You can bet I'll be tracking it - once it makes its debut it will be hard to miss.

What do you guys think of Khloe's decision to walk down the aisle? Is she marrying for the money? Or do you think it's true love - with (some major) benefits?

Jewelry Trend Alert: Earring Hoop-la!

Hoop earrings (aka: the little black dress of the jewelry world), are making a big splash on celebrities and fashionistas alike this season. And the good news is: you don't have to jump through hoops to get a shining pair for your own jewelry box.

Classic hoops have always been a fashion staple for women of all ages, and while the style is great for anything from a board meeting to a girls' night out, we're also seeing them on the red carpets as celebrities and their stylists bring basics back to high fashion.

Beyonce wowed us at the VMAs with Lorraine Schwartz hoops rumored to be close to $1 million smackers, Kim K. wore a more classic hoop silhouette to the Emmys, and Padma Lakshmi threw in a bit of color to help her red carpet hoop-la.

Now I know you most likely already own a pair of classic gold hoops, but now is the time to take the look to new levels. Try a larger size. Add some color with a gemstone look. Grab a pair in a different metal. Go big with an all-diamond pair.

And has hundreds of styles for your browsing pleasure from the retailers you trust at prices you can afford.

Click here for our full selection of happenin' hoop earrings and bring the basics back full circle this season.

Searching for the Worst Dressed American

Jewelry hounds, admit it: We like to gawk at gaffs on the red carpet. From Paula Abdul's unfortunate turn at the Grammys (and OK - the 2008 Almas) to the misplaced pants suit (Jennifer Aniston? That means you!), I am certainly guilty of letting my horror get the better of

That's why I am LOVING TLC'S latest contest. In celebration of its 250th episode, TLC's WHAT NOT TO WEAR is going on a nationwide search for the Worst Dressed American, and for the very first time in the history of the show, viewers will be in charge of nominating the worst fashion victim ever.

Mirroring a typical WHAT NOT TO WEAR episode, Stacy and Clinton will visit the chosen victim's hometown and interview her loved ones. But with an ambush on a much grander scale and a makeover like no other, the overall transformation for this victim will be the most dramatic one viewers have ever seen on the show. The show will air in January 2010.

TLC is still accepting nominations until the 25th. For details, please visit:

In the meantime? I would love to hear about your favorite fashion faux pas. You can reference someone famous, someone you know, someone you work with, even yourself - no one is off limits.

The pics in this blog are some of my top celebrity choices. Do you agree with my selects? Weigh in!

Jewelry Fashion at the 61st Emmy Awards

Diamond classics and splashes of color dominated the red carpet at the 2009 Emmy Awards yesterday, with a few new jewelry trends emerging to keep things interesting.

Before I get to the jewelry run down, can I just have a ‘Kanye’ moment for a sec? What kind of world do we live in when the guy from Breaking Bad beats out Mad Men’s John Hamm for Best Actor in Drama Series? Does anyone even WATCH that show? Criminal.

And OK. How tired are we of seeing Amazing Race and the Survivor guy win in the reality category? I like my reality catty and cringe-worthy thank you very much, with a splash of fashion and untrained throat-singing thrown in for good measure. Emmy? America has moved on.

Ok. Back to our regular programming.

It was great to see a return to blingy glamour on the carpet last night, with a few WOW moments thrown in for good measure (thank you, Blake Lively and January Jones).

I am loving the black diamond trend that emerged on stars like Heidi Klum and Alicia Witt. And clear jewels on lovelies like Ginnifer Goodwin (in Ivanka Trump) and Jamie Lynn Sigler surprised and satisfied.

Purple and red were the colors of the night, with strapless gowns and braided Swiss Miss hair making a strong showing.

But it was classic diamond glamour that reigned supreme, with most stars opting to bedazzle not just the ears this year, but the wrist and the neck as well.

Who was your favorite fashion celeb last night? It’s a toss up for me between January Jones and Blake – both in Versace.

Weigh in! And be sure to visit for even more Emmy jewelry coverage.

Divas and Diamonds Rock VH1

When VH1 resurrected its Divas Live! concert series after a 5-year hiatus, little did they know that a diva who can’t sing a lick would steal the show.

Host Paula Abdul (gasp!) lip synched her way through her tired catalog of hits in the show’s opening number and proceeded to make (kinda lame) American Idol jabs throughout the entire show – including one directed squarely at her replacement, Ellen DeGeneres.

"All kidding aside," said Abdul, 47. "[I have] nothing but love for Ellen, and I wish you the best of luck and congratulations on your new gig. And call me!" she added. "You gotta call me if you have any Simon problems, 'cause you know, I know him best."

Yeah, I’m sure she’ll get right on that, Paula.

Anywho, the diamonds did do some drippin’ on the red carpet where the real-life divas came out to play. Toni Braxton brought out the big guns in huge drop earrings and cuffs that cost a small fortune.

American Idol Alums, looked lovely in their red carpet wear and bejeweled accessories.

And even Kathy Griffin looked diva-worthy in a sleak white gown with crystal statement pieces. Bravo!

If you missed the show, be sure to watch some of the classy duets online or on demand. No one can match former divas Whitney, Mariah and Cristina in the pipes department (OK, Jennifer Hudson and Kellie Clarkson can) – but it was nice to hear less ‘warbling’ and more harmony singin’ this time around. In my humble opinion

Oscar, Opulence, and Orange – Oh My!

Jewelry hounds, my favorite designer has done it again. What would we red carpet watchers do without our Fashion Week Oscar de la Renta fix? Yes, this same Oscar who gave us Carrie Bradshaw’s stunning couture moment in the final Paris episode and oodles of Award Show memories.

His Spring 2010 collection was full of color and didn’t skimp on the bling, perhaps because his clientele includes some of the world’s wealthiest women – from icons like Barbara Walters to all those New York ladies who lunch.

For we mere mortals, it’s fun to gawk at the glamour. I am loving his tangerine touches, from simple sheath dresses to coral brooch accents.

And if you thought yellow gold was on its way out – think again. The runway sparkled with gold circle statement necklaces and earrings in addition to over-the-top chandelier shapes that would make Liberace blush.

And those red carpet gowns! How much would you die to see that pink number at the Emmys this weekend? Or, say, Angelina or Megan Fox in that black number?

Thank you, Oscar. For making me a covet-thy-fashionista pile of drool yet again. And for keeping Valentino-esque glamour alive (if you haven't seen the Valentino documentary, Valentino: The Last Emporer, put it at the top of your Netflix queue tout de suite!) .

Which designer makes you want to sell your first born for a chance at greatness? Weigh in!

Fashion Week Jewelry: Take 2

With one more day left of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York, my head has been spinning trying to keep up with all the top designers and their Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear creations. The week started slow, with not a lot of new trends to get excited about - and even less jewelry to gawk at.

Designers that usually offer up at least a little sparkle - Carolina Herrera, Thakoon, Narciso Rodriguez - opted out of the usual statement bling this season. But never fear - Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Diane von F came to the rescue.

Marc by Marc Jacobs:

Bold color, tribal influences and beads, beads, beads were the jewelry looks the 'chosen one' offered us for his little sister signature line (his Marc Jacobs collection offered up no jewels to speak of). Clearly, turquoise will be big for spring and layered bangles are still the best way to add color and style to any outfit.

Zac Posen:

Party wear is Posen's specialy, and he returned to what he knows best in what was arguably the critics' favortie collection this week. Primary colors ruled his catwalk as funky brooches and colorful statement necklaces in blues and pinks added sparkle.

Vera Wang:

Known for using jewelry creatively in her shows, Vera Wang did not disappoint this year as she sent her models reeling down the runway in lobster bib-sized chain mail pieces and lots of layered metal that gave an edge to her otherwise romantic collection of blacks and whites.

Diane von Furstenburg:

The First Lady of Fashion is still as ecclectic as ever, with yet another wearable ready-to-wear collection of boho chic garb. Layered bangles elbow deep made each look leap off the stage with a cornucopia of color. Seems to be the must-have accessory for next season, jewelry hounds. And the good news? You can find 'em cheap and plentiful just about everwhere - from Old Navy to Nordies.

So what do you think of my jewelry selects? Did I miss a designer you've been dying to see? I'd love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I'll continue to collect my thoughts and give you an overall rundown by week's end.