Brooching It in Diplomacy With Madeleine Albright

NEW YORK -- Here's a brooch you probably won't see pinned to the lapel of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright f an 18-carat yellow gold piece showing a face being punched by a fist.

Still, it was made with her in mind.

"To me diplomacy sometimes becomes a form of verbal punching," said Daniel Jocz, creator of the "Punch" pin. "It is how I see Madeleine Albright, as a person able to deliver the ultimate punch in negotiations."

OK, so maybe it's not the right message for talks on Kosovo.

But Albright has made a habit of wearing brooches with subtle political messages f like the tangled spider-and-web pin for Middle East peace talks, or a serpent brooch as a reproach to an Iraqi diplomat after his country's newspapers compared her to a venomous snake.

"Read my pins," she has quipped.

After reading an article about Albright's brooches, collector and Philadelphia craft gallery owner Helen W. Drutt challenged artists around the world to create unique brooches that theoretically could be worn by Albright.

In tribute to her political jewelry, 61 artists from 16 countries have created 71 brooches that they would have Albright wear while conversing with the world's top diplomats.

They are being displayed in an American Craft Museum exhibit called "Brooching It Diplomatically: A Tribute to Madeleine K. Albright."

In her forward to the catalog, Drutt wrote that the exhibit pays tribute to Albright's "confidence to herald her negotiating stand to the whole world with her brooches."

Some brooches make strong political statements, some are patriotic and others are simply whimsical. Some are gaudy and huge f as large as 23 centimeters f making them unwearable. They are made of gold, silver, diamonds, plastic, paper and other objects.

Albright agreed to be photographed for the cover of the show's catalog, wearing a silver pin of the Statue of Liberty's head.

A handy piece for her long negotiating sessions with world leaders, the 11.5-centimeter brooch has two round watches for the statue's eyes. Gijs Bakker, the Dutch artist who made it, explained that one watch is set upside down "for Mrs. Albright to know how long her appointment will last and the other for her visitor to know when to leave."