the rise of women to positions of great power has been slow and tortuous. as such, there is always a certain amount of attention when they break barriers, whether as the first woman president, vice president, constitutional court judge, etc. especially in the world of politics, which is still absolutely dominated by men, there are always expectations and even discussions not only about the competence of women in prominent positions, but also about the way they present themselves. finding a look that conveys authority and preserves identity is no easy task. the use of jewelry is no exception.
jewelry is not only a magnificent adornment, but also a source of great symbolism and a way to subtly convey a message or political statement. this is not a recent invention, for example queen elizabeth I wore pearls as a symbol of her virginity because her status as a virgin queen was part of her power.
pearls have maintained their status as the jewel of choice for women in politics. from jacqueline kennedy to michelle obama, pearls support a glamorous image and also reflect accessibility. the necklace kamala harris wore at the inauguration is now called "power pearls" because it looks authoritative but sparkles with femininity.
the most successful women in politics also go for brooches. the discussion about the significance of the spider brooch that brenda hale, the former president of the supreme court of the united kingdom, wore when she delivered the supreme court's judgment in the matter of the prorogation of parliament by the queen on the advice of boris johnson, has been the subject of worldwide coverage.
madeleine albright, former u.s. secretary of state, wrote a book, "read my pins: stories from a diplomat's jewel box" about the symbolism of her choices and the humor with which she faced difficult negotiations. queen elizabeth wore a brooch given to her by u.s. president barack obama when she met his successor, donald trump, on a visit to britain.
suffragettes proudly wore the symbols of their demands, ribbon rosettes, lapel badges, sashes, or the more famous holloway brooch (designed by sylvia pankhurst).
hollaway broch, by sylvia pankhurst
they also served as a symbol of special moments, such as the brooch of doves of peace and olive branches created by rené lalique and presented by the citizens of paris to the wife of american president woodrow wilson as a symbol of the end of the first world war.
"peace" pin, by rené lalique
justice ruth bader ginsburg's most important necklaces have been donated to the smithsonian's national museum of american history, like the "dissent" necklace - the one she wore on days when she dissented from the supreme court's majority.
"dissent" necklace, by elinor carucci
as for margaret tatcher, she reportedly wore jewelry in a very symbolic way, it was part of her armor as she prepared for her battles.
18 carat gold and amethyst ring
hardstone "pebble" bracelet
jewelry is inescapably about power, status, and connections. it's loaded with meaning, and most of the time it's not the value of the piece, but what it symbolizes to us and to others.
cláudia cavaleiro the editor in chief for CINCO editorial. born in '82 in coimbra, she is graduated in philosophy from the university of coimbra. passionate about books and podcasts in a geek kind of way, she always find something interesting to research. loves to bring awareness to social problems and loves working at CINCO!