When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton needs something to liven up her tone-on-tone, nondescript pantsuits, she calls upon Edina jewelry maker Gail Be.
The beader and owner of Gail Be Designs created the necklace that Clinton wore during her visit to Minneapolis in December. Clinton paired a strand of blood red beads with a multicolored scarf and knee-length burgundy jacket. The look made for one of Clinton’s brightest on the campaign trail since her days of donning a candy-colored wardrobe when she first ran for the Senate.
“This was one of the really great moments of my life,” Be said. “I can’t explain it other than when you work really hard at something — like I have with my beading — great things will come with it.”
How did a presidential hopeful hear about the Edina beader?
It all started with a letter and a locket sent by Be to Clinton in 1992 during the Clinton/Gore campaign. Be was struggling with bipolar disorder and was relatively new to beading, but she decided to create something for Clinton to wear on the campaign trail.
She created a hand-beaded American flag locket and sent it to Clinton. She never expected to hear back, but two weeks later, she received a letter thanking her for the locket.
“Your bead work is exquisite,” Clinton wrote. “Thank you for thinking of me and honoring me with your artistry.”
The response motivated Be to apply for a small grant to start a business from a state program for people struggling with mental and phsycial disabilities.
Since then, she has gone on to create custom beaded jewelry for Lady Gaga. She also has captured national attention with her impressive “Fantasy” wedding gown made from more than a million beads.
When Be learned that Clinton was running for president, she sent her another custom necklace, and, again, Clinton responded. This time, she invited Be to meet her at her campaign event in Minneapolis in December.
As Be waited in line for her turn to meet Clinton, she saw that she was wearing a scarf around her neck. And the necklace Be had made for her.
“When I got close to her I said, in tears, ‘Thank you for wearing my necklace,’ ” Be said.
Be posed with Clinton for a photo, hand-in-hand, both wearing Gail Be Design custom jewelry.
“I know the secretary takes thousands of pictures … but I know she doesn’t hold hands with many people,” Be said. “She has been in my heart for so long — for how she helped me — that it was just like meeting an old friend 24 years later.”
Clinton’s campaign staff wrote about the encounter in a blog post on Hillaryclinton.com.
Two days after meeting Clinton, Be sent 13 more necklaces to Washington.