Louis Vuitton encapsulates French luxury in new high jewellery collection

June 2024

Louis Vuitton encapsulates French luxury in new high jewellery collection

The Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds collection celebrates the phenomenal, transformative period of 19th century France with the explosion of French savoir-faire and inventiveness – recalling the parallel journey of the luxury house’s own magnificent beginnings – set across 13 themes and 220 unique masterpieces.


n a year that shines with French pride, Louis Vuitton’s 2024 High Jewellery Collection – Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds – transports us to an epochal, transformative time, when savoir-faire became France’s legacy, and innovation its enlightenment. The Collection celebrates the country’s flourishing savoir-faire, great craftsmen and leading inventors of the 19th century. Here, luxury becomes synonymous with innovation, a spirit and ambition that is magnified by the Collection’s singular and daring design vision.

“France in the 19th century was a phenomenal time of incredible change, and when Paris really became the centre of the world,” says Francesca Amfitheatrof, Artistic Director for Watches and Jewellery. “The design language of Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds reflects that – all its intricacies, complications and innovations – turned into incredible jewels.”

At 220 unique masterpiece jewels set across 13 different themes, this is Amfitheatrof’s sixth High Jewellery Collection for the Maison and its largest Collection yet.

Embarking on the first Chapter with 11 themes and 100 one-of-a-kind pieces, Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds begins its journey with the end of royal court rule, as France’s ateliers and craftsmen are given free rein to explore and experiment, inspiring a renaissance of savoir-faire and know-how. An explosion of talent infuses all realms of craft, from woodworking and textiles to jewellery making.

Among those influenced is a 16-year-old Louis Vuitton, whose arrival in Paris in 1837 coincides with the great changes taking place. An apprentice who develops his own unique trunkmaking métier, Louis Vuitton debuts a flat and stackable trunk designed specifically for travel – embodying the ambition that defines this era in France.

“Craftsmanship becomes the currency of this country. It is the birth of France’s Art de Vivre – and the birth of what we know as luxury today,” says Amfitheatrof. Like a hand that belongs to the past, Awakened Hands evokes the rich embellishment and intricate ornamentation that once adorned France’s royal court and palaces. Exquisite masterpieces embrace a multitude of rich and elaborate jewellery-making techniques, savoir-faire and groundbreaking design, further galvanised by a cast of rare stones that pulse with Louis Vuitton’s unique vision.

The ornate mastery of an exquisite imperial bed, featuring lace-like, floral patterns crafted in intricate low-relief woodwork, was the inspiration for Splendeur. An ode to a spectacular suite of over 110 rubies, all perfectly matched for saturation, color and hue, Splendeur is themed around the Maison’s iconic LV Monogram Flower. A vivid and charismatic high collar, transformable necklace is set with 52 rubies, among the largest array of rubies ever set on a single jewel.

Framing the gemstones is an intricate, woven mesh of carved gold flowers that emulate woodwork. The necklace is among the Collection’s most complex creations, which required the workmanship of 17 setters and 30 jewelers, while more than 2,400 elements were individually mounted, for a total of 3,217 hours of work.

Splendeur also personifies Louis Vuitton’s ground-breaking spirit: the stones, hailing from Mozambique, are fully traceable thanks to blockchain technology, making Louis Vuitton the first Maison to offer traceability of colored stones.

Séduction celebrates textile and passementerie expertise – the sumptuous brocade, jacquard and tassel work that flourished during this time. A supple, platinum and yellow gold necklace is set with a 12.92ct Zambian emerald; with its impressive size and unique hint of blue, it is among the Collection’s most important stones.

Key codes of the Maison further galvanise the design: knot-like, V-shape detailing and cord-style fringing recall the ropes used to hoist the Maison’s historic trunks, while diamond patterns hint at the Monogram Kite motif. The Séduction necklace is the Collection’s most complex in terms of number of hours to complete – at 4,276 hours of work, with more than 900 hours of development to create the design.

Echoing Séduction’s intricate V-style knots and rope-like fringing is a stunning medallion-style pendant watch – rarely seen in Louis Vuitton High Jewellery – and celebrated with a 2.07ct vivid green emerald.

The rich, harmonious beauty of woven textiles radiates in Phenomenal, a necklace inspired by the intricacy of interwoven fabric replicated through precious materials and texture. Energised by a bi-color platinum and yellow gold theme - signature to Amfitheatrof - a voluminous, round collar emerald necklace is set in a mosaic of stones, presenting an impressive work of suppleness. Exuding a graphically powerful yet subtle V signature, the piece culminates in a 5.07ct Zambian emerald.

Rounding out Awakened Hands is the fiery brilliance of Elegance, a diamond-only theme that nods to the jewellery-making art of tremblant. Embodying a sense of play, Elegance hints at the mechanisation that is set to come in Awakened Minds, with pieces fashioned into a graphic interlocking pattern. The Maison’s signature V’s combine with a sprinkling of LV Monogram Star cut diamonds, as star motif mounted on a trembleuse tops a necklace and a tiara, the Maison’s first.

Heading towards the 1850’s, momentous changes are afoot in Paris. “Life really begins to change and there is a complete burst of intelligence – of ideas, vision, expansion,” explains Amfitheatrof. The year 1854 is also when Louis Vuitton becomes the first artisan-designer to create and register a logo. Undaunted and ambitious, he marks the bridge between Awakened Hands and Awakened Minds: a man with one hand embracing the finest craftsmanship, the other seizing the future, primed for expansion and innovation. Here, mastery becomes linked to freedom and exploration, as Awakened Minds embraces industrialisation, ushering in new stylised interpretations of mechanisation and graphic repetitions, infused with the interconnectedness of movement, exactitude and balanced geometry, all enlightened by key codes and signatures of the Maison.

Perception captures the era’s sense of motion and rapid new pace. Mechanisation is signaled by repetitive, geometric patterns, which makes its way into an incredible stacked, high-collar necklace, and crafted in a mesmerising mix of diamonds. Different sizes and orientations play with height, volume, even optical illusion – to create a spectacular braided pattern that plunges into a V. An unprecedented lineup of prized gemstones is the centrepiece: two sapphires from Ceylon and Madagascar, of 20.10cts and 7.08cts respectively, are matched in their cashmere-like quality and velvety blue intensity.

The speed of modernity and rapid industrialisation continues apace in Frequence, evoking the interconnectedness of the modern era. Perception’s notion of repetition evolves towards the pure and hypnotic designs of Frequence, as the Maison’s iconic kite motif is interpreted, rippling through a succession of concentric patterns. Together they create a subtle flower theme across a four-tiered, all-diamond necklace.

Kites move towards Gravité – and the V’s perfect, balanced geometry. Encapsulating the exactitude that comes with scientific breakthrough and revelations, a statement necklace features a trio of sapphires in alternating sizes: 6.48cts, 4.38cts and 2.13cts. With the coveted Kashmir provenance and a penetrating deep royal blue, the stones are paired with different diamond cuts that form a V shape. The theme continues in a more minimalist choker that is set with an entrancing 27.20cts star sapphire, a mystical and rare stone celebrated for its unique inclusions that naturally produce a brilliant burst of star-style rays.

Optimisme nods to the energy of Paris, which is attracting the attention of the world. “It is literally a magnet to discovery, to intelligence and vison – and to optimism,” says Amfitheatrof. A super refined choker plays with reflections, its physharmonica design winding around the neck. Requiring 3,307 hours of work, the piece sets delicately shaped baguette diamonds among interlocking facades of platinum and yellow gold, creating a complex construction and theater of dual tones.

A new dawn of travel is ignited, thanks to breakthroughs in engineering and science that inspire the locomotive and the mechanisation of railways. Paris becomes interlinked with the rest of France and a newfound of sense of freedom and discovery is inescapable. Channeling this spirit of travel is Louis Vuitton – and its trunk making excellence. The metal rivets of Louis Vuitton trunks find expression in an enveloping necklace that is fully articulated for ultimate suppleness. Crafted in platinum, yellow gold and yellow sapphires, the disruptive design showcases a mastery of interlacing V-shaped structures, as two octagonal-cut yellow sapphires, of 13.47cts and 11.79cts, enhance the golden theme. Taking 2,504 hours to complete, the necklace required five jewellers to mount and set the necklace, section by section.

This penultimate suite looks towards the Eiffel Tower, which will redesign Paris’s skyline forever, altering perception. An astonishing necklace presents an inverted Eiffel Tower, its intricate arches set in a bejeweled, boxed-in enclosure. A web of golden rods pulse with light, holding multifaceted upside-down diamond pyramids in a V. The necklace features a highly important diamond – a 15.16ct, D IF stone cut in the LV Monogram Flower – the largest ever set in the Maison’s High Jewellery Collections. It can also be detached and worn as a ring. A second architectural, grid-like necklace stands out boldly from the neck. Fully articulated, this bi-color piece houses the Maison’s first LV Monogram Star cut yellow diamond, sized at 3.02cts – and resonates powerfully with Louis Vuitton’s spirit of adventure and innovation.

Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds culminates in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower is unveiled to the world – a Parisian marvel and beacon of modernity that also comes to symbolise the incredible inventiveness and thinking that flourished in the second half of the century. France is now the center of the world, with all eyes on Paris, host of the 1889 Exposition Universelle. The Eiffel Tower endows and inspires new perspectives, captured in the incredible Cœur de Paris necklace. “Imagine you are standing underneath the Tour Eiffel and looking up,” explains Amfitheatrof. “You’re really looking up at the heart of Paris.” Pink gold rods embrace a grid of baguette settings and diamond-lit arrows, which all lead to the jewel’s centerpiece: a captivating 56.23ct diamond. The Collection’s most important and rarest masterstone, the diamond features a completely unique color: an intense pink hue with unusual tones of orange. Christened the Cœur de Paris diamond, the stone’s unique cut and large facet further enhance its rarity.

Set medallion-like and paired with a 5.73ct LV Monogram Star cut diamond, the stones dangle from a magnificent and elegant necklace that interlinks 26 LV Monogram Star cut diamonds – the Maison’s first such unique rivière creation. The centre stone can also be detached and worn as a brooch.

Always ambitious and pushing the boundaries, the Maison complements the masterpiece with a second diamond, painstakingly sourced and matched for its rarity and museum-quality features. Sized at an impressive 12.67cts, the stone emanates a fancy, deep orangey-pink hue, and comes to life in a ring surrounded by diamonds.

Two centuries on and fittingly concluding in Paris, Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds signals Louis Vuitton’s incredible journey through a momentous period of flourishing French savoir-faire, craft and industriousness – as the Maison emerges forth as an emblem of the country’s link to luxury.

“Awakened Hands, Awakened Minds tells a story that’s very close to who we are,” says Amfitheatrof. “By showing this mixture of craftsmanship, engineering, invention and bravery – we are really talking about Louis Vuitton. This Collection signifies everything that is true to the Maison, true to French luxury, true to Art de Vivre – and we couldn’t celebrate in a better way.”