Bauble Designer Monique Péan Talks Holiday Wish Lists, S.F. Grub, & More!

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60S_280x335 Dubbed one to watch in Fortune magazine's 40 Under 40 list and named by O, The Oprah Magazine as one of its Ten Women on the Rise, Monique Péan is kind of a big deal. Not to mention, Péan is also one of the most respected ladies in the fashion and design world right now — having created a highly covetable line of beautifully and responsibly made gems.

Thanks to Péan, when we think eco-friendly baubles, we no longer visualize hemp friendship bracelets, but instead, sparkling conflict-free diamond studs and fossilized woolly mammoth bracelets, worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Naomi Watts.

Plus, she happens to be somewhat of a foodie, so we’re pretty much convinced this gorgeous gal just became our "number one to watch in 2013.” We were lucky enough to post up with the designer, among her stunning bits and bops, and chat about local cheese shops, eco-friendly gifting, and Guatemalan adventures.

What's on your holiday wish list this year?
“There are a few pieces of clothing that I’d love to get. There’s the Céline leopard-print sweater, which I love. I’m also really big on traveling, and I love to plan new trips, so we’re going to explore South America this holiday, and that’s kind of my big ‘gift.’”

Do you have any favorite eco-friendly gift ideas for others?
"I think the FEED Project bags by Lauren Bush are always a great gift idea and extremely useful. I always get those for my friends every year. Amanda Hearst also just created a really great pair of shoes that benefit Friends of Finn and those are great for the holidays, and an inexpensive gift that gives back."

Have you visited S.F. before? Any favorite local spots that you hit?

"I love Susan’s and The Grocery Store — both great boutiques. And I always love shopping at Barneys S.F.; I think they have a really great selection. I always love to hit up all the great restaurants in San Francisco, too! I just went to Perbacco last night, which was so delicious! And Slanted Door is always one of my favorite spots. And then I love cheese, so I love going to The Press Club. It has some incredible local cheeses and wines."

You're dedicated to green initiatives, and S.F. is a pretty green city — how does it stack up with New York in that regard?
"I think there is a consciousness that exists in S.F. and New York that is really inspiring. People really respect being in a city and respect their environment, so I really love that about both cities. It’s exciting that people really collect my designs here, and have a real respect for the sustainability and our commitment to giving back and working to provide clean drinking water. I’m really excited about how enthusiastic people in California are about the collection."

Do you think consumers are really starting to drive the demand for more sustainable and responsibly made jewelry?
"Absolutely. When I began designing, people really weren’t as interested in the sustainable aspects of my designs. They were really just interested in the aesthetics of my designs, which was lovely, but I felt they were really missing half of what was amazing about these pieces. Magazines used to highlight only beautiful things, and pieces that were eco-friendly were of lower quality, but now people are really looking for sustainable options out there. It’s been really exciting to see that change and be part of that change."

Not that it gets much cooler than using fossilized woolly mammoth, but what are some of your favorite exotic materials to work with?
"I’m really excited about the Guatemalan jade, but we’ve also started working with Bumblebee Agate — it’s this really vibrant, fossilized stone that comes in mustard yellow and grays and blacks. I’m not very big on color but I love more neon colors and colors that are very impactful."

Any collaborations or projects that you can tell us about?
"Yeah! I’m launching a new collaboration with a designer who I know your readers love, but it’s a secret right now! So, you’ll have to stay tuned until the spring. We’re also working on growing our men’s collection, Monique Péan Homme, so that’s been really fun. We started doing some custom engagement rings for men and skinny tie bars. So, if you’re shopping for the guy who has everything, he probably doesn’t have fossilized woolly mammoth cuff links!"

Photo: Via Monique Péan Official Website