The Sewelo, a 1,758 carat diamond retrieved from a mine in Botswana last year, is on its way to Antwerp to be processed into Louis Vuitton jewellery. The French luxury brand made an agreement about this with Lucara, the company that owns the mine in Botswana where the diamond was mined. The Antwerp company HB will cut, polish and divide the record diamond into smaller stones. With 1,758 carats, the Sewelo is the second largest diamond ever found.
The Sewelo – meaning “rare find” in the local language Setswana – was extracted from the Karowe mine in Botswana in April 2019. From the same mine a diamond of more than 1,000 carats was dug up four years earlier.
The stone is of “near gem” quality, which means that it is suitable for industrial applications rather than jewellery, but also contains pieces of the more qualitative “white gem” level. Louis Vuitton therefore ordered the Sewelo to be cleaved, cut and polished to create a collection of diamonds. Lucara retains 50 percent of the value of the resulting diamonds, 5 percent of the proceeds of the final jewellery goes to initiatives of Lucara that benefit the community in Botswana. How much the stone will eventually yield, will only become clear after processing.
The arrival of the Sewelo in Antwerp is a boost for the Antwerp diamond sector, which has had a particularly difficult year. Wednesday it became known that the city of the Scheldt traded a total of 37 billion dollars (33 billion euros) of rough and polished diamonds. That is 20 percent less than the year before, and comparable to the level during the financial crisis in 2009 and 2010. Diamond umbrella organisation AWDC does not expect improvement in 2020, but a recovery as of next year.
Louis Vuitton has been focusing more and more on fine jewellery since the opening of a flagship store in Paris and the appointment of Francesca Amfitheatrof as head designer of the jewellery branch.
To promote the necklaces, bracelets and earrings, marketing campaigns have started with Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner and Brokeback Mountain star Michelle Williams.