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Eco-Chic Baubles from Monique Pean

Jewelry by Monique Pean

Accessories may seem to receive less attention on this blog, not because they're less admired than the first lady's clothes, but simply because their designers are often more difficult to pin down. Thus, I was excited to learn a bit more about the jewelry Mrs. O wore at various stops during her recent trip to Mexico, and hope you enjoy too!

The pieces Mrs. O wore on her arrival and departure from Mexico City are the work of jewelry designer Monique Pean. Hers is one of the first luxury collections to highlight the importance of sustainability. She uses 100% recycled gold, with the goal of reducing the demand for the dirty mining of precious metals. She also utilizes fair trade, and devastation-free and conflict-free stones in her pieces. Ten percent of the profit from each piece of jewelry goes to support Alaska Native art and culture, or to provide clean water wells to developing communities in need.

The fashion industry has taken notice of this potent combination of style and substance. Ms. Pean received the CFDA/ VOGUE Fashion Fund prize in 2009, and is the recipient of the 2009 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Accessories. Ms. Pean was just named as one of ten women on the rise in the May 2010 anniversary issue of O magazine.

A bit more on the Monique Pean pieces worn by Mrs. O, three of which are shown above:

- Monique Pean mammoth hand-carved scrimshaw cuff with southeast asian drawing style (bottom left)

- Mark Davis for Monique Péan Fossilized woolly mammoth ivory bangle with black spinel and smokey quartz, 20mm, 18k recycled gold (top left)

- 25,000 year old fossilized woolly mammoth ivory bead, champagne diamond and 18k recycled white gold necklaces (right)

References (3)

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Reader Comments (29)

Thanks Mrs. T! Great jewelry and great awareness of our environment and our native people.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 2:54 PM | Registered CommenterGroovy

Thanks Mrs.T. i hope other designer follow her lead.What a great message she is sending.

Mrs.T, here is a link postes by "Claire" about Mrs.O white Jacket. i think its the same jacket only the collar has been modified.what do you think?


Friday, April 16, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Registered Commenterchrystelle

Hey chrystelle, I did check it out. It's a tough call. There's definitely similarity. But it didn't look to me that the inset panels on Mrs. O's jacket were ruched. I will inquire regardless and report back.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

This stuff is amazzzzzinnnnng! Thank you for the insight Mrs. T. Sooo eco-concious and socially aware -- just a lovely match for our First Lady.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Sadly I don't think the Obamas will be going to Poland for the Polish president's funeral. Too many airports are shut because of the volcanic ash from Iceland.

When I think of the air miles this energetic First Couple travels it blows my mind!

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered Commentercanyongal

I found more Monique Pean jewelry here! http://www.osterjewelers.com
Mrs. O also wore a diamond rose broach by Garavelli this past holiday. I see Oster Jewelers also sells Garavelli.! It's one stop shopping at this address.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterIloveClothes

Thanks Mrs. T for the information. The necklace held my attention and I did mention it in my comment on the pant suit while wondering who was the designer. I have an obsession with accessories.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered Commentermarcelle

I would be surprised if it is Fendi, I don't think Mrs O goes for the typical expensive designers (Fendi, Versace, Vuitton).

The details in that link and her suit jacket ARE rather similar though.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMica

Eco friendly jewellry ? Excellent choice for the first lady. I LOVED the stack of bracelets that she wore with the Tracy Reese dress and I will definitely be adding a similar set to my summer wardrobe.

Marcelle, like yourself, I love accessories and fasion jewellry.

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJestina (England)

Beautiful pieces, just beautiful!!! Hey Chrystelle, the Fendi jacket looks close enough, but I suspect this could be any other designer: Margiela, Rick Owens or even Donna Karan.
They've all done similar stuff to this but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.
Mrs Obama was absolutely spectacular in Mexico!!! A First class First Lady through and through!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 8:56 PM | Registered CommenterEleroy

I'm wondering how "woolly mammoth ivory" can be eco-friendly.
There is obviously a very limited supply; I would be surprised
to learn that museums and research institutions would release it. Like elephant ivory, isn't its' sale restricted, if not banned?

Friday, April 16, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNightowl

The necklace, while really great, was definitely not the one she wore with the white pantsuit. That necklace was pearls and crystals. When did she wear the Monica Pean necklace?

Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I think it's great that Monique Pean is recycling nature's beauty into wearable art, but the prices are stratospheric!

Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 3:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

Very nice. Too bad I can't afford it. Maybe one day...


Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterSmitty

Ms T thank you so much for the info on that jewellery. Imagine wearing 25,000 year old mammoth tusk?! Extraordinary. It felt really weird to be reading about mammoth tusk as a part of jewellery that's eco-friendly. My brain was going "Ok" and my heart was going "NOOOOO", but I guess we can hardly claim it was hunted to extinction for ivory, LOL! Funny how things turn about. The pieces are not my style but they are beautifully styled and made.

Monday, April 19, 2010 at 6:16 AM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

@Deborah, the first lady wore the Monique Pean necklace with her white pantsuit on her last day in Mexico City. This information came via Monique Pean's press representative and is fully visible in photos. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, April 19, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

Okay, Mrs. T, but first thing that last day in Mexico City, when we shook hands with her in the receiving line at the embassy, the necklace had crystal, sparkly beads with the pearls. Perhaps the illustrations don't show that the neclace sparkles as much as it does in person. I can't download from my camera into this computer!

Monday, April 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

Hi Deborah, If you're able to send me a photo that shows the necklace you saw, that would be great! You can always reach me at contact@mrs-o.org. From photos I've seen, I do believe Mrs. O wore the Monique Pean necklace at some point during the day.

Monday, April 19, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

Nightowl: I was wondering the same thing, and would like to find a definitive answer.

Monday, April 19, 2010 at 5:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

An article on the jewelry...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 11:50 PM | Registered Commenterann#1

Here's an interview with Michelle that gives a good insight into her thinking AND a fairly good look at the necklace. She looks G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S as usual.
I hope I did it right.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 6:42 AM | Registered Commentertrinisamba

Woolly mammoth is eco-friendly because it went extinct over 12,000 year ago and it is fossilized. I applaud Monique Pean for using reclaimed materials and recycled gold! Woolly mammoth is a found material like finding a shell on the beach, you can't search for it and there is no harm done to the environment by picking it up on the shores of the Arctic! It's also cool that Monique Péan works with local artisans! I found some MONIQUE PEAN jewelry here:



The scrimshaw pieces are cool as well!

Thanks for introducing her work to us Mrs. T!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterErica

ann#1 and trinisamba, enjoyed the info. thanks.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Registered Commenterprettiribbons

Really? Are some of you going to take this angle. This preposterous idea that Mrs. O's woolly mammoth ivory pieces are insensitive. At this point I should not be amazed that every avenue to run down Michelle is explored. But I am always left wondering the motive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 2:13 PM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

Pictures are posted from the event in DC this afternoon with Olympic champion Shani Davis. Mrs. O is wearing a very raspberry-rose looking suit with a cute top that has either sequins or different colored dots.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered Commentercanyongal

Erica: Thanks so much for the info!

McKinley: NO ONE said Mrs. O's jewelry was insensitive. You need to dial it down a notch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

I think these are the same earrings she wore when she was wearing the blue and white dress.

Here's more info on Monique Pean and more pictures of Mrs. O

Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterIloveClothes

I think the pieces are lovely -- that the designer donates part of the proceeds and is socially conscious is wonderful -- a great example. But the jewelry shown is made out of ivory -- what about the animals that were impacted to make these pieces? In many parts of the world selling ivory is against the law -- and reflects animal cruelty.

Monday, May 3, 2010 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

The ivory that Monique uses is pre-historic Mammoth Ivory. These animals have been extinct for 12,000 years. The ivory is collected in the spring during the thaw cycle when the ground is soft. Most of it is collected by native eskimo's in and around polar regions. No animals are harmed, they are long gone already.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterScot

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