Louis Vuitton announces its participation together with Lucara Diamond Corporation and the HB Company of Antwerp, in a unique collaboration to transform a rare and exceptional diamond specimen, a 1758 carat diamond, the second largest rough diamond ever discovered.
April 19th, 2019 will go down as a history-making moment in the long story of the divine diamond: the day when the monumental 1758 carat rough diamond, now named Sewelô, meaning Rare Find in the Setswana language, was recovered at the Lucara Diamond Corp.’s 100% owned Karowe mine, Botswana. It is the second largest rough diamond ever discovered and the largest to come out of Botswana.
Roughly the size of a tennis ball, measuring 83mm x 62mm x 46mm, weighing 352 grams, the Sewelô is the second largest rough gem diamond in recorded history, eclipsed only by the Cullinan, at 3106 carats, discovered in South Africa in 1905, and fashioned into historic diamonds that are now in the British Crown Jewels and royal collection. The Sewelô is also the largest, exceptional rough diamond to be recovered from Lucara’s state-of-the-art Karowe mine in Botswana.
Remarkably, the diamond remained unbroken thanks to Lucara’s high-tech XRT circuit, a highly advanced recovery process that avoids crushing the diamond-bearing rock, a drawback of previous processes. Initial analysis of the Sewelô characterises the stone as ‘near gem quality’ with ‘domains of high-quality white gem’, while detailed studies of the stone, its composition, qualities and potential will continue for several months.
The Sewelô is spectacular not only for its immense size but also for its intriguing characteristics
of shape, colour, formation and composition. The rough crystal is largely covered in a very thin layer of black carbon, enveloping yet hinting at the 2 billion-year-old secrets hidden within; the full extent of variations in colour and clarity of the diamond yield is still unknown. This was exactly the kind of extreme rarity, unconventional and challenging, to appeal to Louis Vuitton’s sense of adventure and creativity: an extraordinary, idiosyncratic diamond specimen, a wondrous miracle of Mother Nature, mesmerizingly mysterious, with its contradictions of darkness and light, and hidden depths of beauty and lustre, waiting for the right expertise and sensibility to be revealed to the world.
Karowe, meaning ‘precious stone’, is Lucara’s 100% owned diamond mine that is situated on the northern fringes of the Kalahari Desert and came on stream in 2012. It is renowned for the quality and size of the diamonds it produces, specifically superlative Type IIA diamonds – chemically pure, and with exceptional limpidity – of over 10 carats. These have included the 1109 carat Lesedi La Rona, and the 813 carat Constellation.
Karowe uses the most advanced processing technology in the world, and puts corporate and social responsibility, sustainability and the safety and welfare of its workers, at the heart of the business. Boasting a workforce which is 98% comprised of Botswanan nationals, the huge success of the mine has brought great economic and social benefits to local communities. Lucara is committed
to ensuring the Sewelô has a positive, lasting impact on Botswana. As part of this mission, when the astonishing 1758 carat rough diamond was discovered last year, the mine invited the people of Botswana to submit ideas for a name. The winning submission, Sewelô, or Rare Find, one of 22,000 entries, was announced and the stone officially named at a gala event last summer in the presence of the President of the Republic of Botswana.
Louis Vuitton is working closely with master diamond cutters, HB Company, from Antwerp, studying the Sewelô in minute detail, using the very latest scanning and imaging technology to assess the final potential of the stone, and plan the optimum yield of individual finished, cut and polished diamonds. The first step is to open a window onto the stone, in order to gain visibility into the heart of the Sewelô, and plot various permutations of size, colour and shape. Diamond-cutting is an age-old, near-mystical blend of art and science, expertise and intuition. Advanced, cutting-edge technology will play a crucial role in the entire process from initial scanning and planning to the cutting and polishing which is estimated to take a year to complete. The unique properties of the Sewelô, its size and black surface coating, mean that new nano-technologies have to be used in place of standard equipment. In a spirit of creative collaboration with HB Company, Louis Vuitton will be involved at every stage, ensuring that the maximum light, life and fire, character and charisma will be unleashed from the magnificent rough crystal. The size of the diamond will enable production of Made-to-Order Louis Vuitton Cut diamonds, each complex, each skillfully fashioned in the form of one of Louis Vuitton’s emblematic Monogram, the rounded flower and star-shaped motif.
Finally, in a characteristically barrier-breaking initiative of innovation and individuality, Louis Vuitton plans to use the extraordinary variety and abundance within the Sewelô to offer clients the opportunity to create bespoke, custom-cut diamonds. This industry disrupting move allows for the ultimate personalisation and exclusivity, remaining entirely in tune with Louis Vuitton’s heritage of special, made-to-order commissions. In this way, the client will be intimately involved in the entire creative process, in the life and story of an extraordinary, magnificent diamond from its source in the famous Karowe mine in Botswana, Africa, to a refined masterpiece, conceived and crafted in Paris, Place Vendôme – from the centre of the earth to the heart of High Jewellery.
Photos: © Louis Vuitton