The group’s investment arm, LVMH Luxury Ventures, has acquired a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company led and owned by Israeli billionaire Benny Landa.
LVMH Luxury Ventures is the “most prominent,” if not necessarily the largest, investor in the $90 million funding round, Landa said in a press conference at the JCK show in Las Vegas.
Two Israeli funds, Ragnar Crossover Fund and More Investments also participated.
TAG Heuer, the watch brand owned by LVMH, has created a limited-edition watch using Lusix diamonds.
Landa declined to discuss whether other LVMH brands would use its lab-grown diamonds in the future, or whether TAG Heuer would use lab-grown diamonds for other watches.
“I cannot speak for LVMH,” he said. “They obviously made financial investments. But I would ask myself: ‘Why are luxury brands making financial investments?’ There’s obviously good reasons for that.”
Julie Bercovy, CEO of LVMH Luxury Ventures and now a board member of Lusix, said on her LinkedIn profile: “The companies that LVMH Luxury Ventures invests in are independently managed to enhance their entrepreneurial spirit and are not intended to be acquired.”
Other companies backed by LVMH Luxury Ventures include watch publisher and electronics retailer Hodinkee, as well as fashion brands Gabriela Hearst and Aimé Leon Dore.
Lusix also revealed a new slogan for its diamonds: “Sun Grown” because it uses solar energy to create diamonds.
“Some companies are like, ‘Okay, we’re going to use solar,‘” Landa said. “They put some panels on the roof…Growing diamonds is a very energy-intensive process. It takes a lot of power. So you have to invest heavily in solar parks. We have a 30 megawatt solar power generation farm, powering our factory, which produces more electricity than we use.”
He says his company is able to grow pyramid-sized diamonds — which maximize weight retention — as well as customizable shapes.
“We are pioneers in this industry,” he said. “I don’t want to sound arrogant, but we believe the gap between us and the next player will be huge.”
He noted that one-third of Lusix employees work in research and development.
“We have the most advanced, fully automated and fully computerized operations in the world,” he said. “Our technology is 100% domestic. We develop our own reactors, we build our own reactors, we don’t supply them to anyone. We are fully vertically integrated, from the theoretical modeling we do, to R&D, to to the growth of diamonds.”
Despite its sunshiny new tagline, Lusix isn’t planning any consumer outreach.
“We sell to retailers and wholesalers. But our goal is for consumers to see Lusix as the standard for sustainable, high-quality diamonds. Just like Intel doesn’t make computers, it labels every high-quality computer ‘Intel Inside.’ …we want the end consumer to say, ‘I want jewelry with Lusix diamonds.’”
Landa said conveying that message would be a “process.”