Madeleine Albright was never shy about wearing jewelry during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, but her large pin collection has become a trademark — and a way of making subtle statements about the events she participates in. It started after Saddam Hussein’s poet in residence called her “an unparalleled serpent,” in response to her criticism of Saddam. Later, dressing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright donned a snake pin.

Albright’s brooches represent her mood and expectations — a dove or ladybug pin conveys a far more optimistic mindset than a wasp, scorpion or bee. Her newest book Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box offers a look at 200 of Madeleine Albright’s brooches and the stories behind them.

Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images

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