When it comes to baubles with a conscience, it's rare to find specimens more beautiful and honourable than the creations of Monique Péan. Since establishing her eponymous label in 2006, the sustainably minded, New York jewellery designer has made it a point to incorporate unique and rare raw materials, such as fossilised walrus ivory and dinosaur, in dazzling pieces that still draw attention to cultural and environmental issues on a global scale.
This week, Péan reveals the latest additions to her Minéraux collection, a range of wedding and engagement-worthy diamond stunners that she first launched in 2014. Inspired by her own search for the perfect engagement ring, Péan has put together a stunning collection of rings featuring rare cuts of diamonds, such as hexagon, trillion, waterfall and rose cuts, that are not often seen in the fine jewellery market.
'I wanted to add modernity to an otherwise traditional and symbolic piece of jewelry. Many of the diamonds that I use are antiques that [have been] cut into geometric shapes not commonly found.' Péan explains. 'The Minéraux rings have detailed micropavé settings that emphasise each individual diamond's unique attributes. The collection exclusively uses recycled gold or platinum, which is identical in quality to newly-mined gold and platinum, but requires no new mining.'
Each one-of-a-kind Minéraux ring is finely crafted by artisans in New York City. Péan's exacting approach to sourcing stones; zero tolerance to conflict diamonds and only buying new stones from countries participating in the Kimberly Process scheme, ensures that the quality of the diamonds used is bar none.
'Many of the diamonds used in the collection are existing stones formerly used in antique jewelry. These diamonds require no new energy to create and thus leave a smaller ecological footprint than newly mined diamonds. Given the limited quantity of these diamonds, it is difficult to find the exact stones that are [used] in the collection.'
What's more, Péan's impeccable selection includes diamonds with unconventional hues, such as pale yellow, peach, translucent grey and steely blue. 'I find unexpected beauty in the subtle tones of colored diamonds,' she says. 'Only one out of every 10, 000 diamonds possesses natural color and the colored diamonds that I use are selected for the intensity and distribution of distinct hues.'
To highlight all the incredible qualities of the Minéraux diamonds, Péan commissioned photographer/filmmaker Terence Connors to create a film capturing the stones' every detail. Filled with texture and sensuality, the firm perfectly articulates Péan's multifaceted aesthetic.