New Obsessions: Monique Péan’s Sustainable Jewelry

Courtesy Monique Péan

The jewelry designer’s latest capsule collection is inspired by and supportive of one of New York’s great art institutions. 

Modern and minimalist, the pieces that make up Monique Péan’s latest jewelry collection are like sculptural works in miniature. Inspired by Walter de Maria’s The Broken Kilometer (1979), a permanent installation made up of hundreds of polished brass rods in parallel rows, the necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings are a thoughtful exploration of line and scale. In typical Péan style, the pieces—all made with recycled gold and responsibly sourced diamonds—don’t just build off the artwork conceptually; all proceeds actually support Dia, the arts foundation that commissioned and maintains de Maria’s thought-provoking work. You can purchase the collection, which ranges in price from $1,300 to $7,600, at The Apartment by the Line in New York or Los Angeles, or online at theline.com. We caught up with the New York–based designer to learn more about her connection to the art foundation and the inspiration behind her understated ornaments.

How long have you been a fan of Dia? I have been following the artists in Dia’s collection for at least a decade and am fascinated by the way that Dia, through artists such as Michael Heizer, incorporates natural organic materials into its exhibitions while also facilitating art as part of nature itself, such as with Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field.

Dia’s New York City sites, including The Broken Kilometer and The Earth Room, are some of my favorite hidden gems in the city and I visit them often. Dia: Beacon is a beautiful, light-filled space in Beacon, New York with an amazing collection of minimalist artworks by artists including Richard Serra, Dan Flavin, and Sol Lewitt.

I’m a member of Dia’s Art Council and am an avid fan of Dia’s commitment to support and foster artists who have the ability to reshape the way we think about art. My designs are continually informed by minimalist and conceptual modern and contemporary art, and I wanted to create a collection that gives back to my source of inspiration.

Can you speak a little bit about the direct inspiration for the collection, The Broken Kilometer? Walter de Maria’s The Broken Kilometer is permanently housed across the street from my design studio in SoHo. The work consists of hundreds of brass rods that are a kilometer long when placed side by side. Pieces in my collection explore Walter de Maria’s use of line to create an awe-inspiring vision of grand scale.

Every time I walk into The Broken Kilometer, I feel a powerful sense of calm and after my first visit to the space I could not stop thinking about it. I am drawn to minimalist art and this is reflected in my own work.

Where do you usually look for inspiration? Are you often inspired by artworks? Each year, I take a trip to a different part of the world to find inspiration for my new collection. I am continuously inspired by geometry within nature as well as contemporary art and ancient and modern architecture.

Your brand is committed to sustainability and social responsibility. How do you support these goals? What are some additional ways the shopper can support these goals? All Monique Péan pieces are handcrafted by master artisans in New York City using sustainable materials sourced globally. This collection features 18-karat recycled yellow gold and conflict and devastation free champagne diamonds.

I utilize 18-karat recycled gold and recycled platinum to limit the environmental degradation that comes from new mining, and recycled gold and platinum are identical in appearance and quality to new gold and platinum. Purchasing pieces with repurposed antique diamonds is an additional way to reduce the impact of your jewelry. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy Monique Péan