Luxury retailer Louis Vuitton has snapped up the second-largest rough diamond in history as its owner stakes a bigger claim in the high-end jewelry market.
The French fashion house bought the 1,758-carat “Sewelô” diamond in a deal announced this week with mining company Lucara, which unearthed the massive gem in Botswana in April.
The arrangement will turn the Sewelô “into a collection of fine jewelry that will commemorate this extraordinary discovery and contribute direct benefits to our local communities of interest in Botswana,” Lucara CEO Eira Thomas said in a Wednesday statement.
The diamond will be cut and polished through a partnership with the HB Company, an Antwerp diamond manufacturer, Lucara said in a news release. The company didn’t reveal the price of the deal, but Lucara said it will keep a 50-percent stake in the polished stones produced from the Sewelô.
And 5 percent of the proceeds from retail sales of the diamonds will fund Lucara’s “community-based initiatives” in Botswana, where the company has discovered several large gems. The Sewelô whose name means “rare find” in the country’s official language of Setswana is the biggest ever recovered there.
Louis Vuitton’s acquisition of the diamond marks another step into luxury jewelry for its parent company, LVMH. The French luxury conglomerate agreed to buy storied New York jeweler Tiffany & Co. in November for about $16.2 billion. The cash deal is expected to close in the middle of this year.
Lucara was able to unload the Sewelô more quickly than its last huge find. It took nearly two years for the company to sell its 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona” diamond before dealer Graff Diamonds plunked down $53 million for it in September 2017.
The Sewelô’s size is second only to the historic 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond, which was found in South Africa in 1905. It was split into nine major stones, two of which are part of the British Crown Jewels.
Source: New York Post