Madeleine Albright's Pin Collection
Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright wore pins to convey how she felt without saying a word. "The first President Bush had been known for saying 'Read my lips,'" she says. "I began urging colleagues to 'Read my pins.'"
The Dove Pin
Madeleine Albright was given this pin as a gift from the widow of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was slain because of his support for peace. She wore the dove pin while speaking about Middle East peace negotiations to convey the need for ending violence and to encourage reconciliation between historic rivals in Israel.
The Eagle Pin
Albright decided to wear this pin showing a gold eagle with widespread wings for her swearing-in ceremony—but later would come to regret it!
"What I failed to notice was that the clasp was not only old but complicated: Fastening it was a multistep process that I neglected to complete. All went well until I had one hand on the Bible and the other in the air.
"Then, I looked down and saw that my beautiful pin was dangling sideways. With all the commotion, I had no time to fix the problem until after the photographers had done their work, showing me standing next to the president with an eagle that had forgotten how to fly."
The Katrina Pin
This beautiful flower pin composed of amethysts and diamonds was given to Albright by a young man whose mother died as a result of Hurricane Katrina. "I wear it as a reminder that jewelry's greatest value comes not from precious stones or brilliant designs, but from the emotions we invest," she says.
The Ladybug Pin
Not all of Albright's pins had a serious message. When she wore pins like these ladybugs or a butterfly, the other foreign ministers would know she was in a good mood.
The Lion Pin
During four years of Middle East peace negotiations, Dr. Albright would wear this lion pin to encourage bravery.
The Serpent Pin
The serpent pin is the brooch that started it all. Albright served as America’s ambassador to the United Nations in President Bill Clinton’s first term. When she criticized Saddam Hussein for refusing to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors, Iraq’s government-controlled press responded angrily, publishing a poem that denounced her as an "unparalleled serpent."
Soon after, Albright was scheduled to meet in New York with Iraqi officials. She decided to wear a pin in the shape of a serpent, thereby sending the message: "Don’t tread on me." From that day forward, pins served as a way for Albright to communicate ideas and feelings without even saying a word.Watch Albright describe the secret meaning behind her pins Learn more about her book Read My Pins