Louis Vuitton's adventure into high jewellery began only three years ago but already the famous trunkmaker turned luxury good purveyor par excellence has opened a jewellery boutique and atelier in Place Vendôme sitting alongside the traditional big names in the game. Linking the idea of travel born of their steamer trunk heritage, all Vuitton's fine jewellery collections so far are linked to idea voyages. As is fitting, the first collection was called "L'ame du Voyage" (read more here) and "La malle aux trésors" and theme "Les Ardentes" (read more here) all have been designed by Lorenz Bäumer, who says: "Vuitton likes to break the rules. This is not traditional jewellery and Vuitton is very brave to do it."
This collection, that from voyages around the globe to exotic locations led us back to Paris with the Escale à Paris ( read more here) including the bright and beautiful Orangerie collection ( read more here) now takes us on a different kind of voyage and invites us to travel through time as we gaze at its new jewels that are inspired by both the past and the future.
Five different journeys make up this collection. The first to catch my eye is the delicate Dentelle Monogram inspired by Marc Jacobs' catwalk designs that is a delicate and very supple Victorian lace work collar in gold and diamonds that features the house's motif of flowers and stars found on their trunks and leather goods. This theme includes ten pieces and most of them can be transformed to be worn as say a hair slide or a bracelet- two in one and handy for the traveller with limited trunk space. The jewels cleverly feature details from the trunk's hardware and fastening systems such as the hasps found on the locks.
Alongside this charmingly quaint creation we are zapped into the future with brave and innovative use of materials as seen La Galaxie Monogram choker that also transform into two cuffs. At first sight this striking piece of jewellery looks like a Belle Epoque choker but the glossy flashes of blue that punctuate the diamonds are in fact squares of white gold dipped in blue ceramic dust. From a distance I mistook the blue for very cabochon sapphires in rounded-off square shapes.
Look at the 'Flash Forward: du Monogram au Damier' pieces and you will see that Bäumer goes a step further with the monogram appearing as a mosaic made of diamonds and bright strawberry red 'grand feu' enamelling on a guilloché (engine turned) cuff bracelet. The well defined red and white motif then seems to disperse into a blurry pixellated chequer board pattern picked out in diamonds, pink sapphires and spinels, reminding me of a fading television screen. 'Far out', you may think, but in fact the effect is created by good old-fashioned techniques such as enamelling and meticulous gem-setting.
The 'Monogram Infini' designs are more clearly related to the idea of time and travel and are a very precious and modern take on the intriguing complexity of the mandala, the Buddhist symbol for infinity and the universe. Though I doubt a dyed in the wool Buddhist would be wearing such an opulent interpretation of this eternal symbol, the effect is mesmerising as a kaleidoscope of swirling diamonds ripple out from the central 3.82 carat flower-cut diamond. This is one of Louis Vuitton's special diamond cuts that yes you've guessed it, is inspired by the Monogram pattern found on the trunks.
The "Fleur d'Eternité' range combines pearls with diamonds and a deep green tourmaline to stunning effect. Five strands of diamond and gold beads are cinched together by the tourmaline surrounded by a spiralling pattern of diamonds that if you gaze at long enough you will feel quite trippy.