Marc Newson’s Gobsmacking Fractal Necklace

The designer’s new creation for Boucheron took 1,500 hours to craft, and 2,000 diamonds and sapphires.

Marc Newson necklace

It’s good to be Marc Newson. Where other designers may worry about terrestrial concerns like cost and marketability, he’s free to pursue his wildest, most intricate ideas. The newest is “Julia,” a fractal-inspired diamond and sapphire necklace that took 1,500 hours to make.


Created for Boucheron, the French jewelry house, the one-off piece is named after Gaston Julia, the mathematician who, in the early 1900s, discovered the formula upon which the necklace is modeled. Specifically, the formula, when graphed, reveals a structure whose form repeats itself at ever smaller scales, so that it looks the same no matter how much you zoom in on any piece of it. Newson’s necklace, though it’s not infinitely complex, comes close in sheer brain-scrambling grandeur: It was created using rapid-prototyping, and contains 2,000 individual stones set in tiny three-pronged settings, which makes each gem look like it’s floating. As Newson told The Moment, the blog of The New York Times Style Magazine, “I wasn’t thinking luxury at all, but the technical rigorousness of the piece, as well as the sheer number of stones that went into it will probably make this one of the most expensive necklaces Boucheron’s ever made.” 

There’s reason to think that it might also be a money making venture. Newson, in addition to his mass market industrial designs, has a history of setting records at auctions–his Lockheed Lounge remains the most expensive piece of furniture ever created by a living designer. Moroever, what other baubles seem so perfectly geared to the tech billionaires that can actually buy them? The Julia set adorns the Google logo in its Kirkland offices.

Christmas is a mere months away, Sergey and Larry! Try not to get caught in a bidding war.

Related Stories:
Marc Newson’s Qantas A380 Interiors Make Us Want to Fly to Australia
Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson Gripe About Design’s Current State
Who Buys This Stuff? Inside with Some Design Collectors

[Via The Moment]

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.