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    Inside the realm of Louis Vuitton’s Deep Time High Jewellery Collection

    Francesca Amfitheatrof shares her inspirations

    Cast your mind back to last summer and you will likely recall the debut of Louis Vuitton’s high jewellery collection, Deep Time. A first of its kind for the house, its memory is etched into the mind thanks to its unique storytelling approach and record number of pieces.

    When it comes to storytelling, occasionally, the second instalment falls short of the first (no matter how good the cliffhanger). However, authoring her second chapter in the Deep Time high jewellery collection, artistic director Francesca Amfitheatrof has crafted yet another stellar story. Writing with precious jewels in lieu of words, Deep Time II tells the tale of a journey through space and time.

    Fifty new pieces have entered the collection’s metaphorical universe (which debuted with 170 items). Each one has been intricately created and assorted into one of ten themes that each explore the start of life on earth. “We continue the story of the most beautiful, poetic collection that symbolises a vast and incredible storyline,” explains Amfitheatrof.

    Her Deep Time canon is a defining moment in the realm of high jewellery. It is not only unique for its narrative but also for its trailblazing craftsmanship. 

    “In five years, we’ve created our own two cuts. I don’t think there’s been anything that revolutionary for decades,” explains Amfitheatrof, who has been at the house for five years.

    In its latest and final chapter, the beginning of time is the starting point, and the collection begins with geology at its core. It takes us back to a time when the planet was populated by only two continents, Gondwana and Laurasia. Using yellow diamonds with colour-contrasting metals, the Laurasia necklace is tiered and uses a square cut diamond as its contemporary centrepiece.  Moving along the passage of evolution, the collection then separates into Seismic and Drift as new life dawns on the planet. 

    Marking the beginning of life, Myriad is a stand-out necklace. The piece celebrates the intricate dance of change with a labyrinth of brilliant white-gold, arranged in waves reminiscent of the double-helix structure of DNA. Quiet in colour, the complex structure does the talking.

    Other pieces, however, bring in vibrant stones to compel the narrative. “We are incredibly strict about the stones we choose,” says Amfitheatrof, adding, “No stone we use is ever heat-treated.”

    Sourcing directly from the mines, the Symbiosis necklace is one of the most colourful pieces of the collection with its pink and purple stones. Drawing inspiration from the structures of fungi and mycelium, the necklace includes myriad stones arranged in clusters that beautifully mirror the symbiosis found in nature.  

    Beyond stone choice, the way the stones themselves are cut puts Louis Vuitton on the map as an innovator in the high-jewellery space. Fashioning the diamonds into the shape of the LVCUT Star Monogram and Flower, the house has transformed the high-jewellery landscape with two unique cuts attributed to the brand. 

    In fact, this type of diamond-shaping hasn’t been attempted since the 18th century, when the marquis cut was commissioned by Louis XV. “Only one to two percent of rough (stones) can become a star or a flower,” the jewellery maverick explains. “We are teaching cutters how to cut these as it’s a very difficult process.”

    Balancing the act of storytelling with contemporary cuts, the Fossil necklace is a high point for Deep Time II. “Fossils are another way we recognise the story we are narrating. They are literature that has been left for us to read,” says the artistic director as she moves her mind through the collection. The necklace, designed to replicate the patterns left by animals who once roamed the earth, is a three-tiered piece in a mixture of different-coloured gold. Speaking of cutting a blue sapphire into a square, Amfitheatrof stresses, “Normally, sapphires are cut into ovals, due to the way the intensity stays in the stone. To have a sapphire of this size in an emerald cut, is very rare.” Each of the three necklaces can be worn alone in a bid to make the fine jewellery more wearable and functional.

    Blending functionality with unprecedented design and distinctive storytelling is where Amfitheatrof and Louis Vuitton carve out their niche. With its adventurous nature, Deep Time II has firmly cemented the house’s position as a top-player in the high-jewellery arena. The brand is redefining the approach, with innovation that starts with a story and ends with ground-breaking design. And as the tale continues to unfold, we wait with bated breath for Amfitheatrof’s next plot twist…

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