Fine jewelry collections are re-writing the genre #4: Gucci, Vuitton and Boucheron, an invitation to travel

Marianne Riou

Our journey of discovery through the latest jewelry collections leads us in the footsteps of Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Boucheron. These Maisons compete in technical virtuosity and expertise which – alongside their exceptional stones and creations – they use to enhance their stories, whether telling tales of the splendor of Italy during antiquity, or of the freedom of the 1970s, of rebirth and surpassing your limits, or of the poetry of nature through dreamlike wandering. 

Gucci, “Hortus Deliciarum”: from Grand Tours to sumptuous voyages

Gucci is continuing the journey it began with the “Hortus Deliciarum” fine jewelry collection in 2020 and 2021. Featuring a wealth of baroque pieces and colored stones – in a style faithful to Gucci’s symbolism – this third instalment draws its initial inspiration from the enlightening journeys that high-born young men, aristocrats and intellectuals of the 18th century used to take through Europe. The collection ends with a dive into the colorful aesthetics of the 1970s.

Alessandro Michele invites us to read and admire his “travel diaries” in five stages over several periods: a Grand Tour of Europe – where the ancient splendors of Italy are represented in the form of paintings embedded in necklaces and bracelets – then a tribute to the kaleidoscope of colors that was the India of the Maharajahs (a popular theme in high luxury collections) – then onto the discovery of pearls, followed by a passage through the geometric modernism of the 1930s and 40s, before concluding with apotheosis and the expansive freedom of the 1970s.

It is a fine-jewelry collection of monumental and architectural pieces, embodied by the grace and power of Jessica Chastain and driven by a resolutely romantic aesthetic. White pavé, brilliant and baguette diamonds provide the backdrops that allow rubellites, yellow beryls, tourmalines, spinels, garnets, peridots and topazes to reveal the splendor of their colors.

Each piece is a journey in itself!

Louis Vuitton, “Spirit”: an odyssey to the heart of the Maison’s core values

Following its LV Diamonds collection, Louis Vuitton takes us on a journey to the boundaries of reality with “Spirit”. It’s a contemporary re-envisioning of a Maison with a strong identity. Comprising 125 pieces and five worlds, this odyssey-like collection sees Francesca Amfitheatrof continue her work around the motifs and symbols of the Vuitton Maison, from the letter V and the Damier pattern, to the chevrons and triangles.

In the words of Louis Vuitton’s Artistic Director, it is about embodying “freedom, the idea of taking flight, the notion of infinity. But it is also about destiny and surpassing your limits”, which are some of Vuitton’s iconic values. Liberty, Grace, Fantasy, Radiance and Destiny are embodied in diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies set on spectacular geometric necklaces.

The Liberty necklace features a Damier motif comprising a mosaic of fantasy-cut, princess and triangle-shaped diamonds, as well as a diamond Monogram flower, all of which enhance the necklace’s rare sapphires (“royal blue”, 18.08 carats) and emeralds. Each stone ”fits” perfectly and finds its role in support of the main motif, resulting in a piece that combines great technical mastery and beauty. On the back of the setting hides a secret message as a mantra: “Liberty is the freedom to explore, to discover the world, to express innate power.”  The Liberty bracelets, rings and earrings toy with the same themes.

The Fantasy theme puts the Chevron motif front and center, playing with yellow gold, triangles and white gold letter Vs set with diamonds. This powerful ring is one example – with a gold chevron topped by a round 8.73 carat D FL diamond and two Monogram flower diamonds placed on either side of the central stone – while the imposing and theatrical cuff bracelet is another.

The Grace theme is inspired by the Phoenix rising from the ashes, and tells the story of a brave Vuitton woman who takes flight to “discover new lands“. Entirely paved with baguette and brilliant cut diamonds, the necklace is formed by a double V crowned with a 5.12-carat LV Monogram Star D IF diamond and 65.26-carat oval-cut, sparkling green tsavorite. It is symbolic of rebirth and power, and demonstrates great technical virtuosity.

Itis a graphic collection where the stones pay tribute to the motifs, and the motifs enhance the stones in turn.

Boucheron, a dreamlike, innovative journey to “Elsewhere”

“Ailleurs” – Elsewhere – is where Maison Boucheron is taking us with its new Carte Blanche 2022 fine jewelry collection. From a starting point like this, “anything is possible“. We are taken on a dreamlike journey, where the woman shapeshifts from sand to leaf to pebble, and the man takes the form of a volcano. Each creation adheres to a simple rule: “revealing all of nature’s beauty and poetry”. With the creative direction of Claire Choisne, the result is as beautiful and innovative as it is breathtaking, blending gems, diamonds and natural materials – or seemingly natural, at least!

The Sand Woman is initially adorned with a palette of beige and warm blonds, and the desert appears as if transfigured by a neck or necklace, where rattan curves and diamonds intertwine. Shell earrings are also adorned with diamonds for a light and airy feel.

The Leaf Woman leads us on a tropical journey, wearing a Feuillage cuff bracelet on which a 37.97-carat green tourmaline appears as if hatched from a braid of diamonds and leaves. A toucan, snake and tropical flower draw the eye both through the blend of stones and the unique designs of the pieces.

The Earth Woman’s aesthetic is more in tune with the soil and organic shapes. The brooch flower with wood and diamond petals is a confrontation with reality, and the earthy tones blend wonderfully with the translucent white of the diamonds!

The Pebble Woman creates a new “lunar ocean” with its “vast astral beaches”. We see marble pebbles tattooed with white gold and diamonds, a bear and an elephant entirely paved with diamonds and, as the main focus, this incredible headpiece in the shape of a coral, also with diamond-paved or marble-sculpted branches – it embraces the ear, rises and becomes one with the wearer’s face. The whole aesthetic is white, bright, clear and calming.

Finally, the Volcano Man immediately tells a story of power; power wrapped in black and white – white of mother-of-pearl and diamond – with a necklace of feathers, engraved stones and shells as his medium, featuring an airbrushed motif that recalls the strength and symbolism of primitive art. Or the piece that envelopes and dresses the ear like octopus tentacles that appear almost lifelike.

It is a breathtakingly beautiful collection!

Boucheron has also recently breathed new life into its mythical Serpent Bohème collection. The “Solarité” drop motif created in 1968 – paved with gold and diamonds – now closely resembles the aesthetic of tattoos and piercings, where the sculptured jewels become one with the wearer and leave them with an intense shine.

And this Maison has not stopped there when it comes to innovation. The new Jack de Boucheron Ultime capsule collection is made from Cofalit, a material derived from the recycling of industrial waste (an unexpected choice for fine jewelry, to say the least). Rough, black, diamond-paved and mixed pieces make up the collection. In Claire Choisne’s words, it is a “radical” choice for the Maison, with a resolutely focused aesthetic. It is worth remembering that, at Boucheron, jewelry and fine jewelry are no longer restricted by norms, playing on the masculine and the feminine as part of a strong desire to be free.

Source Rubel & Ménasché

Photo © Courtesy of the brands, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Boucheron.