A collection of pins has been touring the country.
All worn by Madeleine Albright, America's ambassador to the United Nations (1993-1997) and then first woman to occupy the position of Secretary of State (1997-2001).
She prefers pins to the old-fashioned old-lady term brooches, according to an interview.
Albright's collection of pins is being shown in order to make foreign policy 'less foreign' and tell a story.
And they do.
Once an ordinary fashion accessory, the pins became a diplomatic message after the following occurred:
A poem in a Bagdad newspaper compared her to an 'unparalleled serpent'
and that lead Albright to wear a snake pin when she met with Saddam Hussein.
From then on, the straight-talking negotiator began expressing her many moods through her jewelry.
On good days she was wearing flowers and balloons. Bad days were all about bugs and carnivorous animals.
Difficult meetings might require an eagle or perhaps atlas, indicating large responsibility.
The variety of pieces (both costume and antiques) on display in her collection range from flag pins to 'Breaking the Glass Ceiling' to a pin that includes a piece of the Berlin Wall. There is a clay heart that she wears every Valentine's Day (handmade by her youngest daughter when she was only 5 years old) and these sit amongst the angels, tributes to Uncle Sam and a very large (worn over the shoulder) bejeweled zebra pin that she is wearing in a photograph with Nelson Mandela.
It is an amazing collection, jewelry and photographs, history and fashion -- definitely worth a visit.
The collection can be seen at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana through January 13, 2013.