Six years into his administration, President Obama finally has his own plates: The White House today unveiled Obama's official state china service, an 11-piece setting trimmed in a hue of blue that was inspired by the waters of his native state of Hawaii. The china will immediately be put into service at tomorrow's state dinner for Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. Michelle Obama's office said the first lady chose what's been dubbed "Kailua Blue" to distinguish her family's china from the red, green, blue, and yellow of more recent state services. A fluted band of Kailua Blue, framed by a textured gold rim and a simple gold inner line, appears on all pieces of the service, except for the dinner and serving plates. The solid white dinner plates are edged in gold; the service plates have a wide gold rim and the presidential coat of arms at the center.
"Mrs. Obama's main goal was to create a modern service that is completely compatible with all the historic china services," White House Curator William Allman said. The White House did not disclose the cost of the china service, which has settings for 320. George W. Bush's cost $493,000. There is no requirement for presidents to have a state china service; Gerald Ford and George HW Bush did not. Some services were bought to increase the number of place settings or to replace pieces that went missing or were broken. "We really do a lot of mixing and matching (at state dinners)—sometimes because we really do not have enough, sometimes because we're trying to create a new modern, different, edgy kind of look," Michelle Obama said. "Kailua Blue is one of those colors that will complement other pieces already in the collection."