Obama's First Gift As President to Be Crystal Bowl

January 9, 2009 - 9:36 AM
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This photo provided by Lenox Inc. shows a hand-cut, crystal bowl with an etching of the White House. It will be Barack Obama's first official gift as president. (AP Photo/Lenox Inc.)

Washington (AP) - To Barack Obama from Congress on behalf of the American people: One hand-cut, crystal bowl with an etching of his new home in Washington.
 
The president-elect will receive the present at a luncheon with members of Congress after the inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20.
 
The $2,500 one-of-a-kind bowl weighs nearly 8 pounds and shows an image of the White House, with cherry trees on each side. As the bowl is rotated, the president's residence can be seen through the trees.
 
Congress commissioned the bowl from Lenox, Inc., which donated it as a gift, a favor permissible under a congressional resolution.

Hand-cut, crystal bowl by Lenox, Inc. shows an etching of the Capital with blooming cherry trees. It will be Joe Biden's first official gift as vice president. (AP Photo/Lenox Inc.)

Joe Biden will receive a similar crystal bowl when he becomes vice president, only his will have an image of the Capitol, with blooming cherry trees.
 
The gifts took thousands of hours to make and were designed by glass cutter Timothy Carder using a combination of etching and hand cutting. It is 5 1/2 inches high and 9 inches in diameter and sits on a hand-cut base made of optical crystal engraved with Obama's name and the date of his inauguration.
 
"The inauguration of a new president is one of the most solemn and ceremonial moments in our nation's history," said Senator Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. "Lenox, a great American porcelain company, has once again created a beautiful gift that captures the beauty and dignity of this truly special occasion."
 
The company also created the inaugural gifts for former presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.