Photo from the Associated Press
Michelle Obama is a happy woman. The White House China she spent three years picking out after consultations with Pickard China in Antioch, Illinois, has arrived. It has enough pieces to serve 320 people, individual soup tureens for guests, and will be on the tables for this week’s state dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
But most impressively, the service will be known as “Kailua Blue.” Consider the details:
Michelle Obama’s office said the first lady chose what’s been dubbed “Kailua Blue” to distinguish her family’s china from the red, green, blue and yellow used on more recent state services.
A fluted band of Kailua Blue, framed by a textured gold rim and a simple gold inner line, appears on all pieces of the service, except for the dinner and serving plates. The solid white dinner plates are edged in gold; the service plates have a wide gold rim and the presidential coat of arms at the center.
“It’s a modern and fresh color not previously seen on state chinas, but Mrs. Obama’s main goal was to create a modern service that is completely compatible and interchangeable and usable with all the historic china services,” White House Curator William Allman said during a preview of Tuesday’s state dinner.
To be honest, this is a bit of a tradition, and many other first ladies have bought new services. Most recently, Laura Bush spent $493,000 on new china.
So, how much did this set cost the U.S. taxpayer? Nothing. “The purchase of the china was funded by a special donation from the White House Endowment Trust of the White House Historical Association, a private, nonprofit organization.” The final price was not disclosed. However, the endowment plunked down somewhere around seven figures for official state china. After all, the Obama legacy has to leave something useful behind even if this is White House china service number 15.