Louis Vuitton has gone through many evolutions in its 200-year existence – from the birth of travel and trunk-making to a luxury goods company, known today for its ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, even books. To mark the brand’s 200th anniversary, the Maison has brought together an emblematic jewellery collection, Bravery, to pay homage to the extraordinary journey and visionary spirit of Louis Vuitton himself.
Who would have known that the story of a young Louis Vuitton, who set out of his home in the Jura region to Paris on foot to make a living for himself, would one day have his journey immortalised in the finest jewels?
Francesca Amfitheatrof, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for watches and jewellery says, “I was so surprised that a fashion house like Louis Vuitton was created through the sheer courage of one young man. Driven by his curiosity about the world, he embarked on that incredible journey across France.
“That’s why we have named this collection Bravery,” continues Amfitheatrof. “It’s not a word often used in high jewellery! Yet these notions of determination and adventure are intrinsic to Louis Vuitton, and we wanted to express them through this collection.”
Bravery is a collection of 90 extraordinary jewellery pieces that celebrate and retrace the footsteps of the legendary Vuitton in an almost dreamlike manner, yet the pieces, which feature rare jewels, are extremely intricate and peerless in their jewellery-making savoir-faire.
It took the Maison three long years to source all the sapphires, emeralds, rubies, diamonds and gemstones to create this spectacular collection, which are then set in special bezels and made-to-measure settings, as well as LV monogram-cut diamonds that make this collection uniquely Louis Vuitton.
Tying all these elements together are eight themes to represent the legacy of Louis Vuitton. Read on to discover all the high jewellery in the Bravery collection.
The Arrow, which also symbolises the letter of his surname, was adopted as a personal emblem by Gaston-Louis Vuitton, the founder’s grandson. The Arrow Necklace features diagonally pavé-set rubies, blue sapphires and diamonds in a three-coloured pendant, from which dangles a 2.61-carat D-colour IF Type 2A LV Monogram Flower-cut diamond and a royal blue Sri Lankan sapphire of over 26 carats at the tip. The necklace can be worn in three different ways and is part of an entire parure that includes a solitaire ring featuring an extremely rare velvety-blue, 18.62-carat sapphire.
The unpickable Tumbler lock was invented in 1890 by Louis Vuitton, and today makes a grand debut in high jewellery. The bracelets, earrings and rings in this set all come with beautiful large, emerald-cut aquamarines and diamonds of different cuts. The necklace, with an off-centre diamond-set clasp inspired by Le Tumbler, features a Santa Maria-type cerulean aquamarine weighing over 24 carats and a confection of more than 130 rainbow-coloured gems such as citrines, tourmalines and amethysts.
The lattice-like jewellery is inspired by the mallet age pattern that lines the interiors of Louis Vuitton trunks – it is also coincidentally one of Amfitheatrof’s signature designs. Diamonds and rubies come together on an articulated white gold construction to form a cuff bracelet with oval-cut rubies; necklaces, two rings and clip earrings make up the entire parure.
The alternating emeralds and diamonds represent the roads and forests of Vuitton’s 400km trek from the Jura area to Paris in his early years. The emeralds, from Colombia, took two years to gather. Damier chequerboard stone marquetry is used, presenting four different settings on each circular link, over which hangs a 5.21-carat D-colour flawless pear-shaped diamond pendant, an LV Monogram Flower diamond and a brilliant-cut diamond. Taking 1,600 hours to complete, the necklace can be worn in six different ways and is complemented by three rings, a bracelet and two pairs of earrings.
The Le Mythe set features a variety of LV elements, including trunk-making signatures such as the Damier canvas pattern, studs and motifs inspired by trunk locks, the rope and the LV Monogram Flower. The transformable necklace, requiring 1,300 hours to make, can be worn in 12 ways and features three sugarloaf cabochons: a 19.70-carat Sri Lankan royal blue sapphire, an 8.64-carat deep green Colombian emerald and a 7.11-carat Madagascan sapphire. To match the necklace are bracelets, rings and pendant earrings in the set.
La Constellation d’Hercule
The set references a constellation that was only visible at the time of Vuitton’s birth on August 4, 1821. The beguiling set, with the La Constellation d’Hercule necklace being the highlight, shows off 209 carats of tanzanites, 50 carats of Australian opals, 34 carats of tsavorites along with LV Monogram Star- and Flower-cut diamonds. The diamond-set rope of the necklace is inspired by elements of the trunks.
The rope-and-knot motif of this theme pays tribute to the luggage Louis Vuitton carried as a young man. The monochromatic necklace, like a sensuous rope of white gold, is set with 2,000 brilliant diamonds, with tassels featuring LV Monogram Star-cut diamonds. The parure includes bracelets, earrings, chokers and rings.
La Star du Nord
Also known as the “good star”, La Star du Nord represents the guiding light for Vuitton on his journey. The graphic design has all the makings of a high jewellery classic. The necklace features two rows of scintillating diamonds anchored by a knot in white gold, featuring a Monogram Star-cut D-colour IF Type 2A diamond of 10.07-carats that can also be worn as a ring. In the epilogue of Bravery, this parure – including matching earrings, a ring and a bracelet – conveys a sense of hope for the future.
This article first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.