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Louis Vuitton buys Karowe’s 1758 carat Sewelô Diamond

Publishing Date : 20 January, 2020

Author : REARABILWE RAMAPHANE

Canadian multi listed rare gem producer  Lucara Diamond  Corporation , which wholly owns Karowe Mine has announced a watershed collaboration with the world‘s leading luxury goods outfit , Louis Vuitton , a unit of multibillion dollar conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE , owned by French billionaire Bernard Arnault.


 A communiqué from the Vancouver headquartered top gem mining giant says an agreement has been reached in which the famous luxury goods behemoth in conjunction with HB , a diamond manufacturer in Antwerp, Belgium will manufacture Lucara’s historic, record setting, 1758 carat Sewelô diamond recovered from its 100% owned Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana in April 2019.


Sewelô, which means "rare find" in Setswana, is the second, +1000 carat diamond recovered from Karowe in four years and the largest ever recovered in Botswana. The diamond has been characterized as near gem of variable quality, with recent analysis confirming that it also includes domains of higher-quality white gem.


Lucara says the full potential of this special stone will only be revealed once polished. The BSE listed rare diamonds producer revealed this week that the purpose of this unprecedented collaboration between a miner, a cutting edge manufacturer and a large luxury brand will be the planning, cutting and polishing of a collection of diamonds from Sewelô.


Eira Thomas,President & Chief Executive Officer of Lucara shared that the company will receive an upfront non-material payment for Sewelô and retain a 50% interest in the individual polished diamonds that result. Further, 5% of all of the retail sales proceeds generated from this historic collection will be invested directly back into Botswana on community-based initiatives undertaken by Lucara.


 “We are delighted to be partnering with Louis Vuitton, the famous luxury House, to transform the historic, 1,758 carat Sewelô,Botswana's largest diamond, into a collection of fine jewellery that will commemorate this extraordinary discovery and contribute direct benefits to our local communities of interest in Botswana." She said.


Karowe mine’s unparalled gem producer status

After discovering one of the magnificent and extraordinary diamonds in history ,the 812.77-carat Type IIa stone named the “Constellation” at Karowe in 2015 , Lucara sold the diamond to Dubai based Nemesis International in collaboration with Swiss jeweler de Grisogono in May 2016 at a tune of $63.1 million (about P635 million) Nemesis and de Grisogono went on to cut and polish the Constellation into 8 exceptional diamonds amongst them the largest D-color diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America, 313 carats named the ‘’Constellation One’’.


The UAE diamond giant, Nemesis says it took 18 months to cut it from an enormous chunk of rough unearthed in the outpost of Boteti district, stone away from Letlhakane village. Sewelo is the world ‘s second largest rough diamond ever mined , unearthed from EM/PK(S) unit of the South Lobe of Karowe Mine and was recovered through Lucara’s XRT circuit .


The largest was 3 106.75 carat  Cullinan diamond which was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and eventually yielded two enormous high-quality stones  one of 530.4 carats and one 317.4, both now part of the British crown jewels, as well as many smaller stones. The name Sewelô was selected from over 22,000 submissions in a contest open to all citizens of Botswana.


Karowe has also produced Lesedi La Rona, discovered in 2016 and sold to Graff for $53 million .Unlike both the Constellation and the Lesedi la Rona , Sewelo is relatively black  ,covered in carbon, visibly looking like a ball of coal , something which diamond experts say it makes what kind of diamond material is inside a “mystery,” . This is according to Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson, a senior research scientist at the Gemological Institute of America.


Louis Vuitton dominance

This is the first time Louis Vuitton has bought a rough stone without having presold it to a client, most branded fine jewelers buy stones that are already cut and polished. This follows weeks after  Louis Vuitton ‘s parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE acquired American iconic jewelry brand Tiffany & Co at a tune of over $16.2 billion.


The purchase of the world ‘s second largest diamond ever found put out a clear signal that LVMH is out not just to compete, but to utterly dominate the high jewelry market. American Business writer Vennesa Fredman of the NewYork Times says taken together, the double punch of purchasing brand and stone in less than two months is the luxury equivalent of shock and awe.

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