Meet Sustainable Jewelry Designer, Monique Péan

Photo of Lo Brewer
15 November 2016

Jewelry designer Monique Péan is a premier artisan who seeks to bring awareness to environmental issues through her work. Through her use of sustainable materials that she collects from around the globe, she’s sharing different cultures with the world and bringing go-green initiatives to light. Péan is a designer of note, not only because of her unique artistic perspective, but also because what she takes from the earth in the form of materials, she gives back triple fold in her charitable enterprises. We caught up with the sustainable designer to find out what inspires her.

What makes Monique Péan’s work stand out has a lot to do with her dedication to being ecologically and culturally conscious. Her goal is to bring awareness, not only to environmental issues, but to also expose the world to different cultures through her globally inspired avant-garde designs.

Her jewelry is created with materials gathered with absolutely no mining. All of her gems and materials are conflict-free. Péan is also a member of the No Dirty Gold campaign and a supporter of the Too Precious to Wear campaign, both of which champion sustainability and conflict-free materials.

Travel photos courtesy of Monique Péan

When Péan creates a new collection she travels to a new destination, works with local artisans to source new sustainable materials, and immerses herself in their culture. She then works with master craftsmen in New York to do the finishing work on the pieces. Once sold, proceeds from her pieces are contributed to global charities that help provide basic sanitation and clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

For Péan’s most recent venture, she stayed stateside. Her journey brought her to Utah and as she traveled throughout the state she was inspired by arch formations found all over Utah’s national parks, the salt flats, the paleontological history, and the merging of nature and art at Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels. This inspiration led to her latest line, Solcin, which features fossilized dinosaur bone.

Monique Péan was born and raised outside of Washington D.C. In 2003, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Before finding her true calling in jewelry design, she worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York City. During her free time, she took design courses and just three years after graduation, in 2006, she launched the Monique Péan fine jewelry line.

Travel photos courtesy of Monique Péan

As her brand grew, she’s been recognized as an authority on design, sustainability, and business. Péan has guest lectured at Harvard Business School, Parsons The New School for Design, Illinois Institute of Art, and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.

During her decade long career in design, Péan has been recognized with many awards and accolades. In 2009 she was the recipient of the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award and was runner up for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. She was honored again by the Council for Fashion Designers when in 2013, she received the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Kate Spade Marketing Grant. She has been named ‘Best of’ on many prestigious lists. Fast Company named her one of the ’10 Most Innovative Fashion Companies’ in 2001 and she made their ‘Most Creative People in Business 100’ in 2014. As recent as 2015, Péan’s line was selected as the Best Jewelry by Wallpaper magazine.

In addition to being recognized by her contemporaries, she is the go-to jewelry designer of several celebrity fashion influencers. Her designs have been worn by First Lady Michelle Obama, models Gisele Bundchen, Karlie Kloss, Liya Kebede, Constance Jablonski, and Joan Smalls, and Academy award winners Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain, Rachel Weisz, and Lupita Nyong’o.

Travel photos courtesy of Monique Péan

Monique Péan’s pieces are sold online at Her jewelry is also sold at Barneys New York as well as independent jewelry stores like Forty Five Ten and A’maree’s. Internationally, her work is sold at Alara Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria), Lane Crawford (Hong Kong, China), Gago (Aix-en-Provence, France) Matches (London, England), Holt Renfrew (Toronto, Canada), and Strasburgo (Tokyo, Japan).

Monique Péan has in a short amount of time established herself as an authority on sustainability, an innovative designer, and an astute business woman. She will no doubt continue to bring a high-end aesthetic to her environmentally inspired strategy.

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