It may be due to the fact that she's the first female Speaker of the House, but California Representative Nancy Pelosi's wardrobe has been getting a lot of attention lately. And the most ink has been devoted to Pelosi's signature strand of South Sea cultured pearls.
Make that strands. Because the well-dressed speaker has at least two spectacular large and lovely strands in her wardrobe. The first, which she wore on election night, is a multicolor Tahitian cultured pearl strand.
The second, which she wore to her swearing-in ceremony, is a golden South Sea strand. Both strands, but particularly the multicolor Tahitian, are helping to drive retail pearl sales. The Speaker, who just made Blackwell's best-dressed list, is becoming a factor in the pearl market.
"This holiday season, we sold a lot more South Sea pearl strands, expensive ones in the $20,000 and up range: in white, golden, or Tahitian," says Marilyn Rudd of Scheherazade Jewelers in Edina, Minnesota. "And we sold a lot of matching earrings, big 13mm pearl drops on a lever back. We called one of our sales associates ‘the pearl queen' because she sold so many. We believe the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had a lot to do with these sales. She's been photographed so many times wearing her South Sea pearl strands and we had customers coming in and asking for the ‘Nancy Pelosi pearls.'"
Pelosi wore her multicolored Tahitian cultured pearls with a gray suit and black shirt, to the Washington Woman's Tea the day before her swearing-in, making the conservative suit instantly chic. In a noticeable style shift among these powerful women, many of the other women at the tea, young and old, wore similar strands.
Conservative blogger Lisa Schiffren of the National Review On-line wore the "traditional Republican double strand of choker-length eight-millimeter pearls" to a gala in Pelosi's honor that evening. "Just that morning, on the front page of The New York Times, was a picture of notables at the funeral of President Ford. In it, Barbara Bush, Lynne Cheney, Doro Bush, and Mrs. Ford herself all wore them." But Schiffren encountered a size shift in the pearls at the gala just as noticeable as the political shift taking place that day: "In honor of Nancy Pelosi and her signature strand of silver, gold, and white South Sea pearls (which my jeweler estimates at somewhere north of 80 grand), many women were wearing similar necklaces," Schiffren reported.
Pelosi's new role as a trendsetter has attracted the attention of the mainstream media, too. The Los Angeles Times has already devoted a story to Pelosi's wardrobe, leading with her pearls. The story quotes pearl dealer Leon Rebibo, who says he fielded calls from more than four dozen women of all political stripes who wanted a muted, multicolor strand of South Sea Tahitian pearls, just like the one Pelosi was wearing.