Michelle Obama may have delivered the message, but the inspiration behind the powerful-yet-fashionable “V-O-T-E” necklace worn by the former first lady of the United States, during her speech at last month’s Democratic National Convention, carried a distinct Caribbean flavor.
The necklace, which drew praise and a rush to buy, was designed by Jamaican-born jeweler Chari Cuthbert, a resident of California, and produced by her line BYCHARI.
Cuthbert, 36, who formerly worked as an executive assistant, associate producer, talent coordinator, photo assistant and office manager before founding her company in 2012, is a graduate of the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. She told the LA Times she sat at her desk and cried for five minutes when she learned Obama was wearing her design, describing the moment as “overwhelming in the best way possible.
“Michelle Obama is the Holy Grail,” Cuthbert told the news outlet. “She’s the queen. She is the woman to be. She’s the woman to listen to.”
The V-O-T-E necklace is reportedly available in “14K yellow, rose, and white gold” with “small, large or diamond letters.” BYCHARI reportedly sold 4,000 pieces, at $295 each, in the two days following the national airing of Obama’s taped speech on Aug. 17.
Cuthbert has also designed jewelry worn by other well known personalities, including actress Kate Hudson and model Rose Huntington-Whiteley.