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March 3, 2009updated Feb 11, 2013

Tiffany’s And Too Precious To Wear Auction Jewelry Collection For Charity

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Paloma PicassoMonique PéanMelissa Joy ManningCoral Reinterpreted proves that today’s jewelry can be fashionable and sustainable. Launched by SeaWeb campaign “Too Precious to Wear,” which promotes awareness of the over-harvesting of live coral for jewelry and home décor, the nine-piece collection features jewelry inspired by coral, wearable works of art that will be auctioned off to benefit the charity.

Sponsored by Tiffany & Co., Coral Reinterpreted brought together a wide range of designers, including Hannah Garrison of AZU, Tiffany’s own Frank Gehry, Paloma Picasso, and Jean Schlumberger, Melissa Joy Manning, Monique Péan, and Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock of Vena Cava. From a sterling silver to turquoise brooch to 18K gold arm cuff, the jewelry fits any style or any mood, but all the same social consciousness.

“It is a privilege to partner with such acclaimed designers for the urgent issue of coral conservation,” President of SeaWeb Dawn M. Martin said in a press release. “The jewelry pieces presenting Coral Reinterpreted are a source of inspiration and serve as a reminder that real corals are living animals worthy of protection. They are truly too precious to wear. Thanks to these designers, those that love the look of coral can own an exquisite, one-of-a-kind piece that will help safeguard the fragile marine animals for future generations.”

Tiffany & Co., which supports the campaign, has long worked to educate consumers about the conservation of live coral. The legendary jewelry company removed all coral from its stores in 2001, and according to chairman and chief executive officer of the company, Michael Kowalski, “believes that the only material to take from a coral reef is inspiration.” Three of Tiffany’s most famous designers, Gehry, Picasso, and Schlumberger, each created timeless pieces – 18K white gold earrings with Keshi pearls, 18K white gold and turquoise broach with diamonds, and 18K yellow gold tsavorite and garnet fish brooch, respectively.

Manhattan-based jeweler Monique Péan, who is deeply rooted in the collaboration between jewelry design and environmental awareness, expressed her delight about the project at the launch party at Rouge Tomate Restaurant in New York. Having created a collection for Charity:Water, which brings clean water to villages in Africa, Péan found inspiration for her featured necklace while witnessing coral destruction in Mozambique. The 14K recycled gold necklace combines bezeled orange and yellow calcite pendants with vintage recycled bakelite and a conflict-free diamond clasp.

“Since becoming involved with Coral Reinterpreted, I’ve learned that coral reefs support 25 percent of all known marine life,” Péan said. “The deep-sea coral species, such as red and pink corals, are some of the most widely used but least protected. They must be afforded international trade protection before it’s too late.”

Likewise, Melissa Joy Manning, known for use of reclaimed objects in her one-of-a-kind pieces, has worked with “Too Precious to Wear” prior to the current project. Diverting from her common designs, Manning created a quite literal representation of coral. But it’s the materials that really speak to the cause. The 22K-gold leaf necklace resembles coral branches, but is composed of precious metal clay, a combination of silver particles and organic binders. Like her entire collection, all the domestic materials are handmade in her California studio.

The Coral Reinterpreted collection will be auctioned off online with proceeds going toward increased trade protection of precious corals. The auction continues until April 30, 2009. Visit to view items and place bids. Pictured (top to bottom) are the pieces by Picasso, Péan, and Manning.

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