Since first venturing into high jewellery in 2008, Louis Vuitton has secured its place in the Place Vendôme lineup of haute joaillerie maisons. Less than thirty houses fall into this category, which demands a sizeable dedication of human and financial resources to consistently create high jewellery masterpieces.
The 2023 Deep Time collection comprises 170 unique pieces, a milestone for Louis Vuitton in terms of both quantity and value, and proof that the maison is firing on all cylinders.
Francesca Amfitheatrof, now in her fifth year as Artistic Director for Watches and Jewelery, is the mastermind behind this powerful collection. Described as ‘an epic tale of transformation, life and interconnectedness’, Amfitheatrof take us on an ambitious voyage that spans from the birth of our planet to the creation of life.
‘At Louis Vuitton, we are, as ever, adventurers, travelling to extraordinary, unexpected places,’ says Amfitheatrof. ‘Deep Time will transport you deeply into the past, to a time and place that is so remote and perhaps even difficult to comprehend. But at the same time, the stones – these treasures that span millennia – will bring you right there, to the beginning of the planet and into a history of the world and its mystical geological legacy.’
One of the most striking pieces is the seven-row platinum Gondwana necklace (above), which circles the neck like rings of a planet. Seven Colombian no-oil emeralds, the largest of which weighs 4.51 carats, enhance the rhythmic energy of the platinum bands set with 259 diamonds. The intense green of the emeralds combined with the futuristic geometry of dazzling diamonds captures the mystery of the cosmos.
The Volcano suite has the power to express Nature’s destructive yet life-giving force through the spectacle of seismic activity and eruptions that formed the earth and its hidden gems. Garnets and tourmalines, which were born in the cauldrons of volcanic activity, were chosen by Amfitheatrof to convey the heat and explosive drama of these geological phenomena. A high-collar necklace of light gold and platinum bars (wax model above) drapes softly on the skin while showcasing 168 carats of fiery mandarin garnets and smoldering pink tourmalines. Fifteen LV Monogram Star cut diamonds complete the scene and the necklace alone took 2,000 hours of work.
The diamond ‘Wave’ collar necklace brings a cool respite after the tectonic collisions and explosions of the earlier chapters. The ‘Wave’ (above) is one of the collection’s masterpieces and summons the majesty of the tsunami that washed over the earth, transforming the primal landscape forever. A surging wave of diamonds curls under the neck, from which is suspended a 40.8-carat ocean blue sapphire and a 6.19-carat flawless LV Monogram Flower cut diamond. The dynamic composition of the necklace captures the force and beauty of the tsunami.
At no point does Deep Time flinch from the intensity of its creation narrative. The ‘Rupture’ three-tier necklace (main picture) recalls the rifts created as continents tore open the fragile mantle of our cooling planet in this epoch of extreme fragmentation. The necklace is formed of a rivière of earthy-hued zircons that sits above a flat yellow gold band of chain links that give way to a delicate lacy structure of white gold and luminescent opals. A glowing yellow sapphire takes centre stage and brings together this unexpected composition. Clashing and contrasting, the play of color, textures and styles embodies the swirling metamorphosis of the world’s birth. The necklace can be divided and worn as two separate jewels, with or without the matching rings and earrings. Zircons were a symbolic choice as they are one of the oldest minerals, even pre-dating diamonds. The sapphire’s orange tones evoke the sun’s arrival, and the opals’ mysterious luminosity heralds the dawn of time.
The scene calms down with ‘Drift’ that, through yellow sapphires and aquamarines, paints the world as we know it today. The warm, amber tones of sapphires represent the sun, and aquamarines recall water (above). ‘Drift’ logically segues into ‘Origin’, the start of life. Spirals of pure white diamonds offer a vision of the power of life and constant multiplication. At the heart of the spectacular ‘Origin’ necklace (below) is a 10.21-carat D flawless round diamond that, like a single cell, unleashes a vortex of life. A second diamond necklace is the futuristic-looking ‘Myriad’ sets diamonds into the double-helix spiral of DNA that ripples with movement and energy.
A change of gear takes us to ‘Fossils’, an intricate composition of diamond-studded gold beads and gems. Amfitheatrof explains the thinking: ‘Fossils is really a roadmap, an imprint that tells us where we come from. Each strand of the necklace is unique and almost imprinted with a visual language that’s left for us to read.’ Three rows of tubular gold beads are set with diamonds arranged in intriguing patterns, drawing us in to understand their coded message.
Berry-red rubies and leaf-green emeralds conjure up the proliferation of vegetation in the ‘Plants’ series. The richness and intricacy of the quality of the sculptural choker, rings, earrings and bracelets conjure up abundant plant life. ‘Wings’ (above) celebrates the arrival of birds, one of the world’s oldest species. Feathery diamond wings wrap around a Mozambique ruby to create the illusion of a bird in flight.
The most elaborate jewel ever to be made by Louis Vuitton is the ‘Bones’ necklace (above). A bib of baguette-cut diamonds mimics the human skeleton to form an articulated fringe that sways around a luminous 43.58-carat Australian opal, a 20.93-carat paraiba tourmaline, and nearly 92 carats of tanzanites. The vitality of life continues in ‘Seeds’ (bottom) with its outsize, glossy rubellite and spessartite garnet cabochons that sensuously drip from the gold tubular choker. Joyous and bold, the jewel appears to be oozing with life and alive with color.
The final stop in this cosmic journey is ‘Flowers’. Petals set with diamonds, pink sapphires and rubies radiate from an LV Monogram Star cut diamond to create a chunky medallion on a thick gold, diamond-set chain.
Look out for the second chapter of Deep Time that Louis Vuitton will present to complete this groundbreaking high jewelery collection.
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