King Abdullah was by far the most generous gift-giver to President Barack Obama, his family and administration, according to documents released by the State Department on Tuesday. The King gave Obama, his wife and daughters nearly $190,000 in luxury items in 2009, including the single most valuable gift reported to have been given to U.S. officials that year in 2009: a ruby and diamond jewelry set for Michelle Obama worth $132,000.
However, don’t expect to see the first lady wearing the fancy gems anytime soon. By law, most gifts to American officials must be turned over to the government and the jewelry has already been sent to the National Archives. Why do they accept these gifts if they can’t keep them? According to the documents, “Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and US Government.”
See a list of the most interesting gifted items after the jump.
- Barack Obama received a large desert scene on a green veined marble base featuring miniature figurines of gold palm trees and camels; large gold medallion with the Royal seal in a green leather display box; large brass and glass clock by Jaeger-LeCoultre in a green leather display case. Est. Value— $34,500.
- Michelle Obama received a necklace made of 33 pearls with a sterling silver pendant worth $14,200. She also received the aforementioned ruby and diamond jewelry set consisting of a pair of earrings, a ring, a bracelet, and a necklace worth $132,000.
- Malia Obama received a jewelry set including heart-shaped diamond earrings and a necklace worth $3,775, while Sasha Obama received a jewelry set including square diamond earrings and a necklace worth $3,500.
- Each White House staff members received a green leather briefcase with set of jewelry including ruby and diamond bracelet, earrings and ring, men’s and women’s silver Longines watches, Tiffany & Co. sterling silver cufflinks and Dior silver pen. The value of this set was between $4,500 to $18,000. The White House staff members who received these gifts are David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Jon Favreau, Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett, Mark Lippers, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Denis McDonough, Marvin Necholson, Daniel Pfeiffer, Benjamin Rhodes, Peter Rundlet, Puneet Talwar, Penny Price, and James Jones who also received a 48” x 77” red rug worth $700.
- Gamal Helal, a senior diplomatic interpreter, received a similar set to the one received by the White House staff. His set, however, is worth $23,400.