Jamaican News

Brunei queen’s jewelry gift to Michelle Obama ranks as most expensive diplomatic gift in 2013

By Matthew Lee


Michelle Obama

WASHINGTON _ From furniture and food to fine art, members of the Obama administration received thousands of dollars in gifts from foreign leaders. But first lady Michelle Obama appears to have raked in the most expensive gifts last year.

The State Department reported Tuesday that the queen of Brunei gave Michelle Obama jewelry worth $71,468 in 2013. The earrings, ring and necklace were studded with yellow sapphires and diamonds, according to the department’s annual accounting of gifts. That’s almost seven times more valuable than the most expensive gift received by President Barack Obama, a glass sculpture of a falcon worth $10,400 from Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S.

Federal ethics rules require the presents to be turned over to the government unless the recipient chooses to purchase the items from the General Services Administration.

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