For Tiffany Adler, designing pins for the Rex organization is an honor and a welcome challenge. Aside from the official ducal decorations, other pieces are personal, hand-painted and kept secret until they are handed out by royalty each Mardi Gras season.
It's a meticulous labor of love that's been going on since the days when her great-grandfather emigrated to the United States and began his jewelry trade in New Orleans.
Tiffany spends countless hours coordinating with the Rex organization to create these magnificent pieces of history, transforming sketches and blueprints into treasured keepsakes. She has been working with the same jeweler for more than three decades.
"You want somebody to say, 'I didn't think they could do that in costume jewelry. Look how great! I want to wear this beyond Mardi Gras'" she says.
The pins usually reflect the year's theme, and often include a Maltese Cross, a nod to Rex's strong ties to the military.
The personal "greeting" pins showcase the personality of the chosen king, or the royal family member who chooses to hand them out.
Each year there's an official Rex pin that features a very distinctive, custom-milled ribbon from Germany. The tradition of ladies Rex pins began in the 1960s. They are a miniature version of the gentleman's ducal pins.