By Rachel Garrahan in New York
Monique Péan Jewelry leads the way in gem design for the New York fashion set. And in her elegant, light-filled headquarters in the creative hub of Manhattan's Soho district, the designer recently unveiled the pieces that together form her new Seto Collection.
Always inspired by her travels, whether it be to Norway or the far reaches of South America, this year Péan was taken with the allure of Japan, a country that has won over many artists over the centuries with the spare beauty of its landscape and traditional artistry.
She was also inspired by the modern Japanese architecture of Tadao Ando to create a collection that is her signature combination of understated elegance, geometric shapes, an ethical approach plus dramatic splashes of colour amid the muted tones.
The designer, who is a dedicated art lover, took the collection's name from the inland sea on the coast of Naoshima, which is surrounded by contemporary art museums.
"It was incredible to watch the sun descend into the Seto inland sea. I felt as though I were surrounded by only art and water, faintly illuminated by a golden hue," notes Péan.
One such sunset inspired the warm amber shades of the striped agate Monique Péan earrings, which contrast effortlessly with their matte gold setting and inlaid diamond baguettes, a perfect study in balance and colour.
You can also picture yourself at dusk with the deep crimson of the one-of-a-kind Monique Péan bracelet, which contrasts a rare and richly textured eudialyte with the clean geometry of the surrounding dendritic opal, violane, and dendritic agate. The diamond overlay on the central stone brings to mind the majestic Mount Takao that overlooks Tokyo.
The designer also evokes Japanese calligraphy in the beautiful monotone of the dendritic agate oval ring, the black spreading like ink on a blank page.
Throughout the Seto Collection, Monique Péan Jewelry manages to capture the serene minimalism of the Orient that will transcend as a future heirloom.