Justice Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18, became a cultural icon in her later years, even inspiring others to take up her workout routine and earning the nickname "Notorious RBG". The justice was most known for the path she blazed fighting for equal rights for women as the second woman appointed to the court. But along with this remarkable legacy, it's worth noting how she embraced her individuality within her role. Seeing how Ruth Bader Ginsburg used jewelry to stand out from her peers and embrace her position as a woman on the court makes that remarkably clear.
In her time on the court, the New York native came to be known for her distinctive decorative collars, a signature contrast to the solemn black robes worn by justices. These iconic accoutrements — which come from around the world — showcase not only her sense of style, but was a tool RBG used to stand out among her male colleagues. In an interview with The Washington Post from 2009, the justice shared that she and fellow court member Sandra Day O'Connor used collars and jabots in their ensembles. She said, "you know, the standard robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie."
In addition to reinforcing her presence on the bench as a woman, RBG's collars indicated her opinions and positions for different arguments brought into court. One example is her dissenting collar — a black jeweled bib necklace from Banana Republic, which the brand reissued in 2019. Of course, she also had one for majority opinions: a gold crocheted collar with scalloped edges. But of all the options in her extensive collection — which took up prime real estate in her closet — the RBG's favorite was a dainty lace beaded style from South Africa.
Justice Ginsburg typically accessorized her collars with large statement earrings, completing a look of strength. Scroll down to see how she wore jewelry over the years.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Lace Collar Layered Over Pleated Jabot With Blue Earrings
Justice Ginsburg poses for the official Supreme Court photo of 2005 wearing a jabot — the ornamental blouse front — layered underneath a lace Peter Pan collar to highlight her status as a woman in the court.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Red Beaded Necklace and Floral Brooch
The official uniform for the Supreme Court wasn't the only time she optimized her accessories collection. At the funeral of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2009, Ginsburg wore a beaded red necklace with a floral brooch and gold bubble earrings against an all-black ensemble.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Sheer Lace Jabot Cobalt Earrings
For another Supreme Court portrait session, the justice wore a delicate lace jabot with the same large cobalt blue earrings from the 2005 photos.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Gold Scalloped Collar With Turquoise Earrings
At President Obama's State of the Union Address in 2013, the Brooklyn-born judge donned a gold crocheted collar with scalloped edges with a thick gold box chain and turquoise earrings. Justice Ginsburg typically wore this piece when speaking for the majority of the court.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Beaded Lace Collar With Gold Earrings
The associate justice celebrated her 20th anniversary on the Supreme Court bench in 2013 wearing her favorite collar — a delicate beaded lace yolk from South Africa — with textured gold statement earrings.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Blue Beaded Collar With Red Earrings and Necklace
RBG opted for another colorful option for President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address with an intricate blue and white beaded collar. She complemented the blue hues with a red necklace and matching earrings.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Ruffled Jabot and Silver Earrings
In 2015, Supreme Court justice appeared in a frilly, ruffled jabot and round statement earrings with her long black robe to officiate the wedding of opera star Alyson Cambridge. The judge wore a blouse with equally frilly cuffs that peaked out of the sleeves of her robe.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Lace Jabot With Amber Earrings
At President Obama's final State of the Union Address in 2016, the equal rights pioneer wore a lace jabot collar to accompany her uniform. She completed her ensemble with a pair of spherical amber earrings.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Silver Beaded Collar and Wire Earrings
For President Trump's inauguration in 2017, RBG went for a more minimal approach to her style with a delicate silver lace beaded collar paired with silver wire earrings.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Geometric Necklace With Gold Earrings
For the 2017 Supreme Court class photo, Justice Ginsburg wore a bold, geometric bib-style necklace and metallic earrings to finish off her outfit for the occasion. She's also seen wearing this necklace at the 2018 swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens.
How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wore Jewelry: Metallic Feathered Necklace With Round Metal Earrings
In 2018, one fan, according to Town & Country, sent her a metallic collar reminiscent of warrior-like armor, which she added to her robe for that year's official Supreme Court photo session.