Political Bling Maker Prepares for Inauguration Sales in January
In the spirit of patriotism, Washington D.C. jeweler Ann Hand’s designs gain much attention during presidential election years.
Hand, a fine jewelry designer in the Georgetown neighborhood, designs lapel pins supporting candidates running for national office: her newest pin resembles the presidential seal and is gold with red, white and blue gems. The pin, $75, was designed especially for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama and is scheduled for release in early December, but can be reserved on her website www.annhand.com.
“Election season is always a wonderful time…people always want a piece of history,” Hand said. “People supporting President-elect Obama were genuinely so excited. They were really showing support much earlier in the game than any other candidate.”
Hand’s boutiques, Ann Hand, LLC, are located at 4885 Macarthur Blvd. NW in Palisades neighborhood and 2900 M Street NW in Georgetown.
In business since 1988, Hand’s specialty lapel pins compose the majority of her collection with symbolic pins of American pride, and others designed especially for government and military affiliations. For example, her collection includes American flags, peace doves, and her famous “Liberty Eagle” pin.
In addition to Obama pins currently generating majority of Hand’s sales revenue, the “Liberty Eagle” pin has generated a large amount of revenue for years. The pin is a sterling silver eagle plated in 18k gold with a ruby gem eye and set above one pearl.
“The eagle symbolizes strength, unity, and power,” she said. “I wanted to design beauty and strength that women would like to wear.”
The pin, Hand’s expression of feminine power, has been seen on the lapels of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
Originally from the Houston area, Hand moved to the district in the early 80s with her husband, former chief of protocol to President Lyndon Johnson, Lloyd Hand. While in D.C., she took up crafting and a few small beading classes before deciding to enroll in the Gemological Institute of America.
“Over the past 20 years what began as a hobby, became a passion and soon a global business,” Hand said.
Her pins have become the gift of choice amongst politicians with The White House, Department of State, and Department of Defense utilizing her collections for “diplomatic gifts to foreign dignitaries.”
“We were in D.C. and surrounded with a general sense of patriotism,” she said in response to the idea of patriotic lapel pins.
This years candidate pins were silver plated with Swarovski crystals. A tradition since 1996, Hand held a mock election based upon the sales of her candidate pins. This year Obama won her election. Expanding upon her Presidential collection for Obama, Hand designed an additional inauguration memorabilia, gold toned and silver toned dog tags set for release in early December. The tags bear the words “I was there,” and “This is our moment…this is our time” with the date Jan. 20, 2009.
Additionally, Hand’s collection extends beyond politics. She designs jewelry to benefit the Miss America Pageant Scholarship Fund and other jewelry for women.