French luxury company Louis Vuitton wants to conquer the (still fragmented) jewellery market. As an eye-catcher, it is going to get the second-largest diamond ever cut in Antwerp and processed into smaller gemstones.
The Sewelô, which means "rare find", is a rough 1,758-carat diamond of that was found in a mine in Botswana last year. How much Louis Vuitton paid for the diamond is unknown, but it is using the stone to generate a lot of publicity for its increasing focus on diamonds. Jewellery is one of the categories with the highest growth, perhaps the highest, Belgian newspaper De Tijd quotes Michael Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton.
In November last year, parent company LVMH took over American jeweller Tiffany & Co over for 14.7 billion euros and opened a new flagship store for the jewellery chain in Paris. The jewellery sector currently mainly consists of very small jewellery companies, and consolidation around one of the larger players could, therefore, be a very lucrative option for LVMH.
After buying the gemstone, the luxury company now wants to have it cut, polished and divided up by the Antwerp company HB. The French luxury brand reached an agreement with Lucara, the Canadian company that owns the mine in Botswana. Lucara is also entitled to 50% of the final yield of the resulting diamonds.
Choosing Antwerp was logical, Paul Van der Steen of the Scientific and Technical Research Centre for Diamonds said to Belgian radio station VRT Radio 1. “A lot of technology is needed for the processing operation. This expertise is especially present in Antwerp, which makes us the first choice to process such pieces."