Jewellery

Francesca Amfitheatrof on Deep Time, her new Louis Vuitton high jewellery collection

Louis Vuitton's Francesca Amfitheatrof discusses the launch of Deep Time, her latest high jewellery offering and biggest collection to date. This new high jewellery collection was unveiled this week on the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece

13 June 2023

Story by Ian Thorley; Photography by Richard Dowker; Styling by Alicia Ellis

This is the French maison’s largest high jewellery collection to date with over 100 unique pieces. Francesca Amfitheatrof, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s jewellery and watches, unravels her creative direction, noting: “Deep Time will transport you directly 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 will bring you right there, to the beginning of the planet and into a history of the world that knows no bounds.”

Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
Louis Vuitton yellow gold and white gold Deep Time Rupture high jewellery ring, set with opal and zircons

Deep Time is split into two chapters – Geology and Life, which, in turn, are split into 13 themes. The first chapter, Geology, follows the birth of planet Earth through the early millennia, first as molten rock, then the formation of the oceans and movement of the tectonic plates. Part two, Life, follows the formation of cells and DNA to the arrival of flora and fauna, told through breathtaking high creations.

The Geology collection begins with the Gondwana theme, christened after the supercontinent in Earth’s prehistory formed of South America, Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica. Standout pieces include a seven-row platinum necklace set with 270 diamonds, alluding to the Earth’s rotation. This is finished with a further seven emeralds, marking the Vuitton signature V formation, and punctuated by a vibrant 4.51-carat emerald of deep inky blue hue. The Volcano theme has a dual signification. It alludes not only to a period of huge eruptions, but also to the fiery imagination of Amfitheatrof herself. A high collar necklace, which required over 2000 hours of workmanship, stands tall in 168 carats of mandarins, garnets and pink tourmalines – stones formed in heat and lava. The breathtaking creation is finished with 15 LV monogram star-cut diamonds.

Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
Louis Vuitton’s Deep Time high jewellery presentation in Greece
Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
Louis Vuitton’s Deep Time high jewellery presentation in Greece

Rupture follows the breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent. This split inspired the most audacious pieces of the collection. In a bold gold necklace, 33 zircons, 15 carats of oval-cut opals and a 13.81-carat triangle-cut yellow sapphire blaze in a symbolic adulation to the sun. This piece then converts into two separate designs, and features alongside rings and ear cuffs.

“We know the geological history of the planet through fossils. Fossils are literature, the handwriting the planet has left us,” says Amfitheatrof. “We know that, for example, the same fossils you find in New Zealand, you find in Scotland, and that’s because it was once one of the supercontinents. And so, what we’ve done with this collection, we have pieces that feature different artworks, drawings we’ve found on stones and rock across the planet reimagined in a honeycomb design with LV-cut diamonds inside. They’re like lines, song lines.”

Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
Louis Vuitton white gold Deep Time Bones high jewellery earrings, set with diamonds and tsavorites and white gold and platinum Deep Time Life high jewellery ring, set with diamonds

Moving to the second chapter, entitled Life, here, eight themes follow the development of our planet – Origin, Life, Fossils, Plants, Flight, Bones, Seeds and Flowers. Origin is a pure-white jewellery suite combining diamonds and twinkly white gold. This theme continues into Life, capturing the complexity of DNA as a spiral that curves in a subtle V shape.

Sixteen pieces make up the Flight theme, which celebrates the origins of birds. Evoking the lightness of feathers, a transformable cocktail ring, set with a 7.67-carat pigeon-blood Mozambique ruby, represents one of Deep Time’s most important pieces. The ring can be worn as a solitaire flanked by two LV monogram flower-cut diamonds. Alternatively, two diamond wings can be added for additional flourish.

Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
Louis Vuitton’s Deep Time high jewellery presentation in Greece

“Flight nods to when creatures came out of the water and grew wings,” Amfitheatrof explains. “Here, we have beautiful LV-cut diamonds and gorgeous rubies that emulate the structure of feathers.”

The Bones collection features one of the most complex pieces ever created by the maison. Requiring 4430 hours of workmanship, a bib-style necklace boasts clusters of Paraíba tourmaline and 91.74-carats of emeralds. Versatile, the necklace can be worn in four different ways – the Paraíba tourmaline itself, wearable on its own.

Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
Louis Vuitton yellow gold Deep Time Seeds high jewellery ring, set with diamonds and tourmaline

The Seeds theme traces nature’s evolution. A single-strand necklace with a gold and diamond trellis pattern is magnified by 13 rubellite and garnet cabochons, totalling 256 carats, reflecting the beauty of the natural world.

“All life began in water. But then plants, like algae, came out of the sea and started to grow and change. The first plants were all cylindrical. If you look at ferns and agaves, they have this cylindrical structure,” says Amfitheatrof, discussing the collection’s Plant theme. “We created this necklace with two incredible rows of round emeralds and round rubies in yellow gold and white gold. What’s so amazing here is that you will never see again a suite of emeralds in a brilliant round cut – this is the rarest thing ever. This is like a museum piece from a gemmology point of view.”

Louis Vuitton Deep Time high jewellery
A look at Louis Vuitton’s Deep Time high jewellery performance in Greece

Finally, the theme of Flowers is brought to life with an LV monogram flower necklace studded with alternating raspberry-tinged rubies and pink sapphires on layered white and yellow gold petals, tracing the silhouette of the Red Pagoda flower.

“We love the language that we’ve created at Louis Vuitton,” Amfitheatrof concludes. “To mix the colours of gold, to mix the cuts of diamonds, to have pieces that have a lot of originality in design. We will never make another one, all of the pieces in this collection are completely unique.”

All clothing Louis Vuitton; Make up by Claire Urquhart; Hair by Hiroki Kojima using Oribe; Photography assistant: Federico Covarelli; Casting by Christine Phedon; Model: Diwen at Premier Model Management

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