But pearls are more than just a trend. In fact, it’s a piece of jewelry that’s embedded in American politics and fashion history, a staple for American female political leaders from Jackie Kennedy and Hillary Clinton to our first female vice president, Kamala Harris. Over the past year, Harris pulled out her pearls for many momentous occasions, wearing a Wilfredo Rosado necklace to the inauguration and black Tahitian pearls to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Pearls were a symbolic sensation for many women at the inauguration, with Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman paying tribute to legendary author Maya Angelou with a pearl ring gifted to her by Oprah, and Rep. Barbara Lee wearing a pearl necklace that belonged to the late Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress.
Lee tweeted a picture wearing the pearls. “On this historic day, I’m wearing Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s pearls,” she wrote, “Because of Shirley Chisholm, I am. Because of Shirley Chisholm, Vice President Harris is.”