By  on January 18, 2005

WASHINGTON — The status jewelry this inaugural season isn’t Harry Winston diamonds, vintage platinum or signature Chanel. Instead, it’s the pearl-studded eagles, armed forces pendants and insignia-laden cuff links and brooches that can be found at Ann Hand’s eponymous jewelry boutique here.

Tucked at one end of a neighborhood strip mall just down the street from the Palisades home of White House consigliore and client Karl Rove, the 2,400-square-foot shop capitalizes on two qualities Washington veterans admire most: an intimate understanding of protocol, rank and VIP access, and a whole heap of grit.

“We did QVC for Clinton’s second inaugural,’’ said Hand, who this time around already is selling out of her extensive collection of pins and pendants commissioned by all the branches of the armed forces. “This whole inaugural is built around honoring the armed forces.”

The Texas Buttons and Boots Ball on Wednesday night will carry Ann Hand’s jewelry, including her Bush 2000 eagle pin. Over at the capital’s two Ritz Carlton Hotels, inaugural guests will be able to buy Stetson hats decorated with the Ann Hand pins that entitle them to a free martini or glass of Dom Perignon champagne.   

In business for more than 15 years, Hand has carved out a niche in the costume and custom jewelry business by providing reasonably priced jewelry with a flare for patriotism to a host of star-studded clients on both sides of the political aisle. 

With her sales numbers in the “seven-figure range,’’ Hand has been operating in the black for the last decade. Her designs epitomize Washington’s unique concept of branding. Celebrating the city’s top trademarks, she merchandises symbols of power in ways that give political wives a chance to show off their own team spirit. She also offers price ranges to suit all government pay grades — starting at around $100 for her popular pearl-studded eagle to $250 for 14-karat gold on silver pendants with Swarovski crystals to $6,000 for custom pieces made from 18-karat gold using crystals and precious stones.

“It all started in 1991 when Colleen Nunn, wife of the former Georgia senator, asked me if I could make a pin to celebrate the return of the Statue of Freedom, which was being put back on top of the dome of the U.S. Capitol after a year of restoration,’’ said Hand, who began building a local clientele stringing pearl necklaces in her kitchen.

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