There She Is—Wearing Bling: Power Jeweler Ann Hand Debuts Her Miss America Collection

By: Rachel Cothran

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In a recent Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton was asked whether she preferred diamonds or pearls. Of course the answer was “both.” Why not have it all, if you can?

Washington’s foremost power-elite jeweler, Ann Hand, must have been thinking the same thing when she designed her new Miss America Collection, which was unveiled last night at Georgetown power spot Cafe Milano with the help of Miss America Lauren Nelson. Hand’s collection uses the pageant’s crown as a motif, and it features pins, necklaces, and earrings adorned with oversize pearls, silver, and lots and lots of sparkly diamond bling.

A slew of Washington players showed up to give a tiara tip to Hand, including venture capitalist Mark Ein, lobbyist/hostess Juleanna Glover, Hardball producer Tammy Haddad, Meet the Press producer Betsy Fischer, and Miss America CEO Art McMaster. A gaggle of former Miss Americas were in attendance, including Phyllis George (’79; mom to NewsChannel 8 reporter Pamela Brown) and Donna Axum Wentworth (’64). Guests were treated to a pasta buffet and trays of red, white, and sparkling wine while a recently issued DVD of every Miss America win since the program’s televised debut played on the restaurant’s bar TVs. (The stunned faces and lip tremors of the contestants, unlike their gowns, proved timeless.) Event hostess Phyllis George reminded guests that there’s a “Miss America in everyone’s lives” who deserves to feel special (especially with the holidays coming up, right?). Indeed: All guests left with a piece of the crown—small, gem-encrusted pins in the shape of (what else?) a tiara.

If Hillary is to take the, ahem, crown in 2008, would she wear Ann Hand? Hand’s assistant, Maria Milligan, informs us that the senator is already a client. Of the presidential candidate’s wish to have “both” diamonds and pearls, Milligan replied: “She’s a smart lady.”

The Miss America Collection is available at both Ann Hand locations (2900 M St., NW, 202-333-1529; 4885 MacArthur Blvd., 202-333-2979) and will soon be available online at annhand.com.