By Lenore Fedow
Named “Sethunya,” Lucara Diamond Corp. recovered this 549-carat rough diamond from the Karowe mine in Botswana. (Photo credit: Philippe Lacombe, courtesy of Louis Vuitton)
Antwerp, Belgium—A rough stone is the blank canvas of the diamond world, and tech company HB Antwerp wants to create a masterpiece out of a 549-carat stone.

Lucara Diamond Corp. recovered the diamond Feb. 1 from its Karowe Mine in Botswana.

Dubbed “Sethunya,” meaning “flower” in Setswana, HB Antwerp will cut and polish the diamond for luxury giant Louis Vuitton, who is offering a client, or clients, the chance to see the rough diamond and have input on how it’s cut.

“With over 1 billion years of history sealed inside, the possibilities to cut and polish a diamond of this size are endless,” HB Antwerp said in a press release about the partnership.

20201106 HB AntwerpBelgium-based HB Antwerp is a diamond manufacturing company that relies on technology to trace, cut and polish the stones it works with. It’s teaming up with miner Lucara and Louis Vuitton to cut and sell another big rough diamond.
Known for its made-to-order products, Louis Vuitton wants to extend this principle to its jewelry, as most clients never see a rough diamond.

That is “a missed opportunity, because rough diamonds are of the most beautiful and exceptional products of nature, formed more than a billion years ago, deep below the surface of the earth,” said Margaux Donckier, communications and external affairs director at HB Antwerp.

Lucara described the partnership as “the ultimate personalized high jewelry experience and the opportunity to create a truly unique gem, a storied family heirloom.”

“In this way, the client will be involved in the creative process of plotting, cutting, polishing, and becoming part of the story that the stone will carry with it into history.”

The idea also could appeal to consumers looking for more transparency and sustainability.

Today’s consumers are “aware of the origin of products, under what conditions products were manufactured and how often they were flown around the world before arriving at their destination,” said Donckier.

HB Antwerp’s closed-circle system lets customers see every stage of the process while minimizing the process’ carbon footprint.

This is the second time Lucara, HB Antwerp and Louis Vuitton have teamed up on a big stone.

Lucara mined a 1,758-carat diamond called the Sewelô in April 2019. HB Antwerp is cutting it and Louis Vuitton will turn it into a jewelry collection.

Also from the Karowe mine, the Sewelô is the second-largest gem-quality, or near gem-quality, diamond ever found, ranking behind only the 3,106-carat Cullinan.

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