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Piece of the Week: A Pair of Cufflinks Jimmy Carter Wore

CollectionsFeb 24, 2023

Piece of the Week: A Pair of Cufflinks Jimmy Carter Wore

The 39th president and longtime humanitarian donned these Oscar Heyman-made American flags when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

20230224_POTW Carter cufflinks.jpg
New York—On Feb. 18, The Carter Center announced that Jimmy Carter, the longest-living president in U.S. history, had entered hospice care. 

Born and raised in the small town of Plains, Georgia, the 98-year-old Carter served as a Georgia state senator and governor before winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 1976 and, ultimately, defeating incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford.

He served a single term, from 1977 to 1981, but lost his bid for re-election to Ronald Reagan.

In 1982, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, opened The Carter Center in Atlanta in partnership with Emory University. 

The center works to prevent and resolve conflicts, improve health, and enhance democracy worldwide, with the Carters personally dedicating years to flying around the globe to monitor elections, fight tropical diseases, and promote progress in developing countries. 

The former president and first lady also have worked as Habitat for Humanity volunteers for more than three decades.
 

For what The Norwegian Nobel Committee described as his “decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development,” Carter was granted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

He wore these Oscar Heyman cufflinks when accepting the award in Oslo, Norway.

First designed around 1940, Oscar Heyman’s American flag cufflinks feature 56 square rubies totaling 1.98 carats, 26 baguette-cut diamonds (0.96 carats), 10 square sapphires (0.79 carats), and 10 round diamonds (0.12 carats).

The jewelry house said it sold this particular pair to a store in 1994, and they subsequently were gifted to Carter.

It got the cufflinks back, along with the note for authenticity (both pictured above in a post from the @oscarheyman Instagram account), around the time the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston published a book on the company’s history. “Oscar Heyman: The Jewelers’ Jeweler,” came out in April 2017.

Oscar Heyman said it was told Carter had written the note so the cufflinks could be auctioned off one day.

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