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Etched in Bone

As a longtime collector of architectural drawings, the jewelry designer Monique Péan ( recognizes a strong correlation between the architect’s craft and her own. “Jewelry,” she says, “requires the same attention to the details of proportion, form, and materials as architecture.” Her fascination with the relationship between these two disciplines prompted Péan to unite them by transforming blueprints of significant buildings into wearable designs in her Lahnse Collection. “I was awe-inspired by the artisanal scrimshaw technique that has existed for generations,” she says. Though traditional examples of this medium typically depict landscapes and wildlife, Péan applies the technique to express her own minimalist aesthetic. 

To fashion these miniature interpretations of modernist architectural ideas, Péan works closely with her master carvers based in the United States, who often spend several days or more etching a single image. Among the most elegant creations from her workshop are the designs based on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s plans for his much-admired Barcelona Pavilion; these pieces feature delicate carvings accompanied by conflict-free diamonds in Péan’s simple signature settings of recycled gold. Items from the Lahnse Collection start at $2,455 and climb to $45,730 for the large collar necklace with labradorites and Guatemalan black jade shown here. 

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