For Francesca Amfitheatrof, Louis Vuitton’s latest high jewelry collection is rooted in the past with an eye on the future
Words by DAVID NASH
Francesca Amfitheatrof. PHOTO: Alique.
Leave it to Francesca Amfitheatrof, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for watches and jewelry, to explain basic evolutionary theory through the lenses of jewelry design with the Maison’s fifth High Jewelry collection, Deep Time.
From the genesis of the planet to the creation of life, Amfitheatrof has broken down billions of years of milestones with a record number of precious gemstones in Louis Vuitton’s most expansive High Jewelry collection ever. It includes more than 170 unique pieces, 95 of which were revealed to its most devoted collectors this fall at a presentation held at a private Tuscan-inspired villa in Montecito.
“Deep Time is a great way to explain our philosophy through the representation of the geological phenomena that occurred to create precious stones and diamonds,” says Amfitheatrof. “It’s really interesting to narrate something that happened over billions of years — like the splitting of supercontinents, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and tsunamis — allowing geological shifts to take place and make stones mineable, but to do it through these amazing colored stones and the jewelry itself.”
LEFT: Amfitheatrof’s development of the L’Aventure necklace from the Bravery High Jewelry collection. RIGHT: The Deep Time Flight necklace has a 4.17-carat ruby at the center.
Separated into two overarching ideas, geology and life, the collection comprises 16 themes, 13 of which were part of the recent debut. They include Gondwana (one of two land masses that now makes up five continents), Volcano, Wave, Origin, Flight, and Seeds, among others, and the remaining three will be revealed in January during Haute Couture in Paris. “The Volcano necklace is extraordinary, and definitely one of the stars of the collection,” she says. “The stones are phenomenal, beautifully placed, and vibrant in color. When the light hits them, you’re simply blinded.”
The Volcano necklace has mandarin garnets and pink tourmalines
Another showstopper is the Seeds necklace, a single-strand gold and diamond trellis pattern necklace that rests high on the neck and includes 256 carats of rubellite and spessartite garnet cabochons in a nod to the explosions of color found in nature. “It’s super unusual to put those stones together,” she says. “The funny thing is, they had been in the safe [waiting to be used] since I first arrived.”
For this jewelry design visionary, the time spent at Louis Vuitton has been some of the most rewarding in her career. “I’ve never been happier, and what we have achieved in five years is astounding,” she says. “We have an absolutely brilliant team. We work with so much intensity and have so much freedom to dream and be daring, and I think that’s why our High Jewelry collections have been so successful.” louisvuitton.com.
All the home’s architectural elements were imported from Italy. PHOTO: Dewey Nicks.
A display of graduated Louis Vuitton trunks. PHOTO: Dewey Nicks.
Feature image: The Tuscan-inspired villa in Montecito. PHOTO: Dewey Nicks.
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2023/2024 issue of C Magazine.
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