pelosi's prize

Nancy Pelosi shows off shiny necklace from popular Houston designer during State of the Union

Nancy Pelosi shows off shiny necklace from popular Houston designer

Nancy Pelosi state of the union clap mariquita masterson necklace houston
Pelosi's necklace, at least, is the genuine article.  Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It’s the clap heard around the world — or at very least, Washington, D.C. During the February 5 State of the Union address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cheered President Donald Trump in a style that’s being called everything from “exquisite shade” and “disrespectful” to a straight up “f--- you clap” by comedian Patton Oswalt. Rarely has applause been so closely scrutinized.

But in Houston, there’s a glittering Texas trinket that’s stealing the spotlight from Clapgate (our term): Pelosi’s necklace. Stylish locals in the know (including Gow Media CEO David Gow) instantly recognized the piece by Houston designer Mariquita Masterson.

The red glass necklace set in sterling silver with blue agate beads was a gift from Pelosi’s daughter, Jacqueline Kenneally, who resides in Houston. The necklace was purchased last year at the designer’s eponymous River Oaks showroom (2505 River Oaks Blvd.) for the retail price of $650, a source tells CultureMap.

Masterson says the response has been “really bizarre” since her friends and colleagues noticed Pelosi wearing the necklace during the speech. “I was at the Rienzi Society dinner and my phone started buzzing,” the designer tells CultureMap. “I was in a panic — I have grandchildren and I was worried about them. I look down and there was a picture of Nancy Pelosi and my necklace. I figured everything was okay.” 

Masterson says she approves of Pelosi’s all-white ensemble, which served as a canvas of sorts for the necklace — in what could be considered a patriotic outfit of red, white, and blue. The speaker and her fellow congresswomen donned white for the joint session of Congress in tribute to the women’s suffragette movement — a reference to the suffragettes who would wear white dresses in hopes of getting their photos printed in the newspapers. “I like that she was wearing a white jacket,” Masterson notes. “It really showed the necklace off well.” 

Fashionistas and jewelry-savvy shoppers are well aware that Masterson has been creating jewelry here for more than 30 years. Her career started while she was working with a glass blower designing a table setting for a museum gala in Houston. The designer is known for her love of dazzling, colorful crystal set in sterling silver and in vermeil. Masterson also dabbles in recycled glass from gin bottles or antique vases.

The Bayou City designer is hardly new to the national limelight. Houston society queen Lynn Wyatt gifted Elton John some of Masterson’s rings and former British prime minister Tony Blair’s wife counts herself a fan.

So while the country debates the merits of Pelosi’s clap, it certainly seems that the speaker’s applause for the affable Masterson is genuine.