Smart fashionistas in these tough economic times know that buying “accessories as investments” is both tasteful and fiscally sound. With gold at a record highs, why buy the latest Manolo pump or designer handbag when you can pepper your portfolio with jewelry? And designer jewelry at that!
Iconic fashion house, Louis Vuitton, is wisely diversifying their accessory offerings with the debut of their new signature diamond cuts, Les Ardentes (which translates roughly as “the blazing.”)
“We wanted to produce diamonds that resemble the Louis Vuitton brand,” explained Albert Bensoussan, watch and fine jewelry director at Louis Vuitton Malletier in an article for W Magazine.
“You have it today with ready-to-wear, with handbags, with watches, with eyeglasses. You can recognize a brand, and that association is very appealing to us. You’re going to recognize the name and value behind the shape of these diamonds.”
The two new patented shapes mirror the monogram flowers that appear on Vuitton bags and trunks: one is a rounded flower diamond, the other a pointed version. The designer gems have between 61 and 77 facets (more than the standard 58 for a brilliant cut diamond) and are set in a bracelet, a pair of earrings, two brooches, a ring and a necklace – the latter of which contains 108 carats and retails for a whopping $4 million.
So much for fiscal responsibility.
More than four years in development, the LV ice was cut at Lili Diamonds in Tel Aviv, Israel, considered one of the foremost cutting centers in the world. Bensoussan estimates that he visited about 60 workshops before settling on Lili, where he found three seasoned artisans who could take his complicated designs and fashion precise stones with as little waste as possible.
“There is one very experienced cutter there,” Bensoussan says. “One day I will ask him to cut the Vuitton diamond blindfolded, because I think he could do it.”
While Tiffany’s Lucida Diamond and the Leo Diamond are perhaps the most popular patented gems on the market today, LV hopes the customers that value their iconic bags will see the light and blaze a trail to their jewelry counter.
Sally Morrison, director of the Diamond Information Center told W, “For the same reason someone’s going to buy a Louis Vuitton handbag, there are consumers who are definitely going to want the LV diamond. It offers a certain kind of promise—it’s a kind of badge that says, ‘I’m a first mover, aesthetically.’”
For the first movers out there, carrying last year’s signature tote and wearing an old pair of Mary Jane’s might be a hard pill to swallow, but tough economic times call for tough fashion measures.