The President & First Lady’s Fine China


Which china manufacturer and pattern does the president of the United States have at state dinners? If you guessed a custom service then you’d be correct! Four years in the making, American made Pickard China unveiled the eleven piece dinner set earlier this week.

THE SETTINGPickard_China_Logo

*Fun to note is that Mrs. Obama’s teal-colored manicure matched the border of her china service. We are certain this will be a new trend! Here is a picture:

nails to color…And a full shot.

china matches nails

According to the White House the Pickard China, a manufacturer based in Illinois, cost $367,259. Anyone would agree that is a very large number, however, this is no ordinary setting. As previously mentioned, the color as well as the entire pattern is custom and for formal state dinners in the most traditional sense. While most of us associate a 5-piece place setting with formal dinners, a true formal setting has 11 pieces. The Obama’s ordered a staggering 320 place settings! When you do the math (not including what is sure to be a decent amount of serving pieces which is part of the total) each setting is about $1,148. Again, this is for 11 pieces – all custom and gold plated.


Who you ask will be greeted to the first state dinner featuring the new Pickard Kailua Blue setting? Tuesday night the White House rolled out the red carpet to honor the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.

We are sure Prime Minister Shinzo noticed Mrs. Obama’s personal touches to the custom place settings. From the blue rim color customized to honor her husband’s home of Hawaii, to the first ever tureen in a presidential setting, to slightly larger dinnerware updated to accommodate modern day portions.


As mentioned above, according to the New York Times, to put her own stamp on the dinnerware, the first lady broke with the traditional primary colors that have adorned most recent administrations’ china and instead went with a border of what she called Kailua Blue, inspired by the waters off President Obama’s home state, Hawaii. It prompted an “aw” from the commander in chief. It is a bit humorous to see President Obama using a disposable paper cup from the White House, when he could be using his new Pickard. (It is all about balance!)


Mrs. Obama’s design goal for the presidential china was, “to draw a modern aesthetic to a new china while continuing to draw on historic and traditional elements.” We think she did a great job!! And adding to the note of modern aesthetic, we are pretty sure Michelle Obama is the first first lady whose nail polish matched her White House china service!

A final note about the new Pickard China setting that we have to mention is that The gold Presidential coat of arms appears at the center of the service plate and dessert plate, and on the side of the straight-sided can cup for coffee or tea. These are the forms seen first and last on the table at a formal White House dinner. It is very clever, because it makes both a wonderful first as well as final and lasting impression.


We were so inspired by the patriotic new dinnerware that we looked into what previous presidents and first ladies selected. By order of the first founding father through George W. Bush, enjoy the beautiful patterns:

Presidential China11111Presidential China22222

Presidential China3333Which one is your favorite?! One of our favorites is Truman’s pattern which is featured above as well as below:




Sources: The White House, New York Times, Pickard China

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