An activist with a penchant for gems, Monique Péan has been telling stories through her designs for the past eleven years. Known for its geometric shapes and sustainable materials, her fine jewelry brand strives to promote positive environmental and social change.
In 2015, Péan partnered with actress Emma Watson to create a collection and donates one hundred percent of its proceeds to the United Nations (UN) for Women HeForShe initiative. Consisting of cufflinks and shirt studs, the pieces come in several variations made with 18k recycled gold and repurposed diamonds. Each are engraved with the HeForShe logo, a connection of the cross and arrow from the female and male symbols, respectively. It represents the solidarity campaign’s goal to engage men and boys as advocates for gender equality.
Watson was named a UN Women goodwill ambassador since HeForShe’s inception in 2014. That September, she made a moving speech that sparked conversation across the globe. “If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about. It's about freedom,” she said. “I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the “he” for “she.” And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?” Since then, more than 1.3 million people have pledged support for the movement.
During the year of its creation, cufflinks from the Monique Péan HeForShe collection were worn by Steve Carell and Jake McDorman at the Oscars. Watson then tweeted photos of handwritten thank-you notes to the actors, which ignited a social media buzz. As relevant then as it is now, the collection was worn by stars John Legend and Mahershala Ali at this year’s Oscars.
Péan has studied philosophy, political science and economics. The Goldman Sachs analyst turned CFDA member travels the world constantly to find inspiration for designs. Her collections include materials personally sourced from local communities and artisans.
As a result, each piece of Péan’s jewelry traces back to why it was created: to express an emotion and make a connection. Isn't that what all great storytellers do?