i was reading my march issue of marie claire today and came across these cool bracelets in the “101 ideas: traveler’s choice” section. i was drawn to the design initially, then by the fact that they’re scrimshaw (because boyfriend wants a whale bone scrimshaw pocket knife), and then to discover that they were carved from fossilized woolly mammoth tusks more than 10,000 years old really caught my attention. learning more about the designer and her background has been interesting. i can’t find the exact bracelets that are featured in the magazine online, but it’s page 90 of the march issue in “101 ideas: traveler’s choice”, the focus is on socially responsible fashion.
the designer is monique pean, 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. 10% of the profit from each piece of jewelry in her bering collection goes to support alaska native art and culture, the inspiration for the collection and among the world’s first environmentalists. the same holds true for charity: water collection (to provide clean water wells to developing communities in need). she also founded the vanessa pean foundation in her sister’s memory to raise funds to provide scholarships to underprivileged students in haiti. further, she is working with management leadership for tomorrow and yale school of management to create a career advancement program to provide networking and mentorship opportunities to post-mba minorities to help them attain leadership positions in corporate america.
but she’s not just an entrepreneur with a heart, in 2009 she received the cfda/vogue fashion fund prize and was also the recipient of the ecco domani fashion foundation award for accessories. in the may 2010 issue of o magazine she was named as one of ten women on the rise and can name michelle obama as one of her proud supporters.
as you can imagine, luxury jewelry made out of an extinct animal is expensive. marie claire lists the bracelets as selling from $805 at jeffrey new york and can cost thousands of dollars. barneys new york carries monique pean’s pieces.
it’s nice that there are so many companies now that care about more than just making a profit. i think this trend will continue as we think more about sustainability and how we can share the wealth.
for more information on why wooolly mammoth tusks/bone are a devastation-free alternative to illegally poached ivory, visit treehugger.