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Armure Artefact is the set of armor which provides each job with its classic Final Fantasy look. In addition, it provides each job with increases in the job-defining stats and abilities. Each set is unique to each job, and are obtainable only through a series of job-specific quests.
The first piece of Artifact Equipment is the Artifact Weapon, which is obtainable at level 40. The remaining pieces of Artifact Equipment are armor pieces for the head, body, hands, legs and feet, and are obtainable at level 50.
For original Final Fantasy XI and Rise of the Zilart jobs, four of the pieces are obtained through quests, and two of the pieces are obtained though Treasure Coffers. For Treasures of Aht Urhgan jobs, three of the pieces are obtained through quests, and the remaining three are obtained by trading materals to specific NPCs.
The Artifact Weapon is obtained via a quest. You must be at least level 40 in the relevant job to activate this quest. In order to obtain the quest, you must talk to the starting NPC as the relevant job. This AF piece is always a weapon. Once you have activated the quest, you may complete it as any job.
The first piece of Artifact Armor is usually level 52 and is obtained via a quest. You must be at least level 50 and have completed the AF1 quest to activate this quest. In order to obtain the quest, you must talk to the starting NPC as the relevant job. You may complete this quest as any job. (Note that for both the Ranger and Thief jobs, the AF2 piece is actually level 54, with the hands being level 52; this has no effect on quest order, as the AF2 must still be started before the hands quest.)
The Artifact Hands are obtained via a quest. You must have the AF2 quest at least started in order to obtain this quest. You can only have one Artifact Hands quest active at one time, irrespective of job, and this quest must be completed before you may activate an Artifact Hands quest for another job. In order to obtain the quest, you must talk to Guslam (H-8) in Upper Jeuno. He is just inside the door to Durable Shields. Unlike the other Treasure Coffer 'quests,' you can complete all parts of this quest as any job, including opening the coffer.
There are two other pieces of Artifact Armor obtainable from Treasure Coffers. These AF pieces are linked in part to the artifact hands quest, so you must at least activate the artifact hands quest (on any job) before you can open coffers for AF pieces. Once you have started the artifact hands quest for any job, for each subsequent job, you need only to begin your AF2 quest. Unlike the other parts of the quest, you must be the correct job while opening the coffer in order to obtain your Artifact Armor.
The last piece of Artifact Armor is obtained via a quest. It is usually the level 60 piece, but in some cases it is the level 58 piece when the hands are the level 60 piece of Artifact Armor. You must be at least level 50 and have the AF2 quest completed to activate this quest. In order to obtain the quest, you must talk to the starting NPC as the relevant job. You may complete this quest as any job; however, certain portions of some of the quests require abilities that only those jobs have, so in some cases it may be necessary to use the appropriate job. The Dragoon AF3 quest requires the use of Call Wyvern, and the Black Mage AF3 requires the use of Manafont.
Artifact Armor acquisition differs slightly for the three jobs added in the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion (Blue Mage, Corsair, and Puppetmaster.) As with other jobs, some Artifact pieces are acquired via quests. However, instead of the rest being found in coffers, you trade materials to a specific NPC to have the piece crafted.
If you need to re-acquire a piece you threw away or upgraded to AF+1, you can repeat the artifact quests by talking to Vingijard in Lower Jeuno. You do not need to discard your other AF first. You may reset the quests and start them again, even if you still have all of your original AF.
To upgrade your Artifact Armor to Artifact Armor +1, talk to Sagheera in Port Jeuno (J-8) near the Windurst Dock. She will offer to repair your worn Artifact Armor and make it all shiny and new. To do so, you will need to bring her your artifact armor, some ingredients dropped from Limbus and a crafted item. In addition, she will charge you a fee for her services in Ancient Beastcoins.