Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pin Stories

"The idea of using pins as a diplomatic tool is not found in any State Department manual not found in any State Department manual or in any text chronicling American foreign policy....  Before long, and without intending it, I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal. Former President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying, "Read my lips."  I began urging colleagues and reporters to "Read my pins"....   I do not claim too much, but I do believe the right symbol at the correct time can add warmth or needed edge to a relationship. A foreign dignitary standing alongside me at a press conference would be happier to see a bright, shining sun attached to my jacket than a menacing wasp pin. I felt it worthwhile, moreover, to inject an element of humor and spice into the diplomatic routine. The world has had its share of power ties; the time seemed right for the mute eloquence of pins with attitude."    ~ Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box  by Madeleine Albright

Many, many years ago, a friend and I were talking about my Pin collection when she asked me if I wear certain pins for certain events. She expressed to me that she wore a certain necklace to all military events and that it only comes out for those events.   I smiled and said,  "I do."  I have several that I wear though. For starters, I wear a military pendant on a necklace when Beloved is at war. 

I wear one of these three.
More often than not it is the aviator wings.
It goes on when he leaves and gets taken off when he comes home.

Over the years, I have been reminded of my conversation with her and so I began to  notice certain jewelry that military ladies wear while attending certain events. We are apart of a unit where we do not move around much but if we do we move around with in the same small community. This allows all of us ladies to get to know each other well so seeing these ladies on a regular basis showed me that indeed their was a silent jewelry tradition among almost all of us.  Unfortunately, this was mostly observed during funerals and after several in which we have had to attend I began to ask if indeed they had specific jewelry they wore during military events.  In our unit, these tend to be the pins that most women wear as a quiet jewelry statement.  There are many more pins in which I have but these are the less obvious ones so saying all that most woman wear what their husband is affiliated with during the mission that the funeral represents.

Now, I suppose that those that know me well know that the above pins are not typically what I wear because my collection that I enjoy wearing are vintage rhinestone only.  I wear these for all funerals. The Bible records the Holy Spirit in a number of symbols namely wind, fire, rain, oil and dove. These Rhinestone pins look like fire to me and it reminds me to pray that the Holy Spirit comforts the Family that has lost a love one.

Now, since reading Madaline Albrights book, there are several pins that I am looking for simply because of her uniqueness in expressing things with her pins.  I need one particular type of pin for a family event, another one for attending weddings, etc. 

A couple of weeks back my Mom sent me this flag pin. Unknown to her I have been searching for more Patriotic pins to wear. I like wearing them on the Sunday Weekends of Veterans and Memorial Days.

I loved that Madaline Albright had the same desire.  She says, " I purchased a large American flag pin that I have grown accustomed to wearing on the Forth of July and other festive occasions."   In her book she wrote that "The manufacture of costume rhinestone jewelry with patriotic themes flourished in the United States during and immediately after WW 11. All the symbols I love -- eagles, flags, drums, trumpets and rousing slogans -- were in vogue.  The pieces were worn by noncombatants to signify support for the war effort and bought by sailors and solders to leave with sweethearts before taking up arms across sea."  (pg 57)       .

Honestly, sometimes I think it is the uniqueness of the history of women's jewelry that makes the silent proclamations unique. I bet if you start paying attention you will also discover that many ladies in your circles probably have a piece of jewelry close to their heart as well. The uniqueness in jewelry is often just as unique as the person and story that it represents.


  1. Very interesting! I'll have to pay attention. I appreciate that such a token can have deep meaning!

  2. I have noticed just within my family, certain women wear pins for certain things. We are a Navy family mostly. Very interesting, loved reading this post. :)

  3. wow, this was so interesting to me to read! It's not that big here in Australia I don't think though I will have to start paying more attention from now on!

  4. Very interesting post. I have a few old pins that I love too. Maybe I'll do a post and show them to you all. Enjoy your day and God bless.

  5. Please do so, Mrs. Donna! I would enjoy seeing them.

  6. Can't figure out how to follow so I'll be back;-)


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