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$500K diamond-encrusted jewels, Cognac and a 41-inch saber: The lavish gifts given to President Obama, Hillary Clinton and others from foreign leaders

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Daily Mail

Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz gave Hillary Clinton diamond-and-ruby-encrusted jewels worth half a million dollars last year

The gift was disclosed by the State Department, which has released a complete list of items given to U.S. officials in 2012

By Hayley Peterson

Foreign leaders gave lavish gifts to a number of U.S. officials last year, including the Saudi Arabian king, who gave Hillary Clinton diamond-and-ruby-encrusted jewels worth half a million dollars.

Clinton's gifts from King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz - which included a necklace, bracelet, earrings and a ring - were by far the most expensive items among the hundreds of gifts given to U.S. officials in 2012.

A complete list of the gifts received last year, as well as a couple dozen from previous years, were disclosed by the State Department on Thursday.

CULTURE OF GIFTING: A SAMPLING OF ITEMS RECEIVED BY U.S. OFFICIALS

President Obama's gifts included:

Large book of original artwork and photographs by artist Marilena Ferrari from former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (124,000 including other gifts)

A gold-plated clock from Saudi Arabia ($16,500)

Crystal bowl centerpiece from Ireland and 27-inch tall bronze statue of White House architect James Hoban ($7,246 including other gifts)

41-inch saber from Mongolia ($440)

Christmas mugs, coffee, and steak knives from Brunei ($594 including other gifts)

Basketball autographed by Chinese President Xi Jinping ($740 including other gifts)

'Silver figure representing [an] oversized coffee bean' from Colombia ($942 including other gifts)

Leather wallet and tote bag from France ($1,473 including other gifts)

Porcelain vase decorated with images of the White House and Kremlin from Russia ($3,460 including other gifts)

Chest of liquor and a Coca-Cola bottle decorated with beads from Mexico ($2,788 including other gifts)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's gifts included:

Diamond-and-ruby-encrusted necklace, bracelet, earrings and ring from Saudi Arabia ($500,000)

Gold, sapphire and diamond jewelry from Brunei ( $58,000)

Wine and silver tea set from Algeria ($3,773 including other gifts)

Woven run from Afghanistan ($2,200)

Two-piece bronze sculpture of a red chili pepper from Singapore ($540)

Jewelry and golden pen set on a stand with a horse and human figurine from Kazakhstan ($1,500)

Caviar and a wool carpet from Azerbaijan ($420 including other gifts)

Cognac from Russian President Vladimir Putin ($560)

Vice President Joe Biden's gifts included:

Silver knife and chopsticks from Mongolia (worth $940 including other gifts)

Leather cigar box from Mexico (worth $390 including other gifts)

A female bare-breasted bust from Liberia (worth $540 including other gifts)

Former CIA Director David Petraeus's gifts* included:

Rolex watch ($6,500), white Fendi watch ($1,000), silver Valentino watch ($500)

Four silk rugs (worth a total of $14,900)

Model of a four-masted ship ($3,500) and model of a two-masted ship ($1,500)

Sword ($2,500) and dagger ($1,500)

Burberry cashmere scarf ($395)

Bottle of wine from 2001 ($1,700)

*The sources of Petraeus's gifts were not disclosed by the State Department

The gift-giving continues a long-held tradition of international diplomacy, in which dignitaries show their appreciation for one another by exchanging artwork, jewelry, electronics and other presents.

Most of the items are required to be donated to the national archives, though a few may bought by the recipients. The Hill newspaper first reported on the gifts.

In addition to her jewels from Saudi Arabia, Clinton also received wine from Algeria; a two-piece bronze sculpture of a red chili pepper from Singapore; a cuff bracelet, necklace and earrings from Kazakhstan; caviar and a wool carpet from Azerbaijan; Cognac from Russia; and gold, sapphire and diamond jewelry worth $58,000 from Brunei.

Among President Obama's gifts were: Christmas mugs, coffee, and steak knives from Brunei; a basketball autographed by Chinese President Xi Jinping; a 'silver figure representing [an] oversized coffee bean' from Colombia; a leather wallet and tote bag from France; a porcelain vase decorated with images of the White House and Kremlin from Russia; a chest of liquor and a Coca-Cola bottle decorated with beads from Mexico; and a 41-inch saber from Mongolia.

Gifts were also given to Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, former CIA Chief David Petraeus and Chief Justice John Roberts, among others.

Biden's gifts included a silver knife and chopsticks from Mongolia, a leather cigar box from Mexico, and a female bare-breasted bust from Liberia.

Petraeus's included watches by Rolex, Fendi and Valentino, as well as silk rugs, a $1,700 bottle of wine and a cashmere Burberry scarf.

In every case, the U.S accepted the items because 'non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S.,' according to a document provided by the State Department.

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