An Antwerp diamond company, HB Antwerp, has been given the job of cutting a huge diamond for the luxury goods company Louis Vuitton.
The new diamond, named Sethunya, is the second massive gem to come to the city this year, following Sewelo, the second-largest in the world, which was cut there in January.
At one time, Antwerp was the world capital of the diamond-cutting business, with half of the world’s stoned being processed there.
Since about the 1970s, however, the trade has moved away to lower-wage countries like India. But the Flemish port city has one ace up its sleeve.
“The business is certainly not extinct here, but the card we have to draw in Antwerp is technology, technology, technology,” diamond worker Peter Dedeyn told the VRT.
And that is precisely HB Antwerp’s strategy.
“We are investing heavily in technology and innovation and there will be a whole new production line that will allow us to carry out the production process, from rough to polished diamond, here in Antwerp,” said Margaux Donckier of HB Antwerp.
The city’s diamond business regards the fact that Antwerp has been entrusted with both Sewelo and Sethunya as a vote of confidence.
“Consumers today also expect products to be sustainable,” said Donckier.
“They want to know where they come from, under what conditions they were manufactured, and how many times they flew around the world before reaching their final destination.”
Sethunya was excavated on February 1 in Botswana.
“A rough diamond of 549 carats, exceptionally white in colour and extremely clear,” according to HB Antwerp. Sethunya is looking for another buyer, and will then be cut in Antwerp, later travelling to Louis Vuitton’s studio in Paris. There the stone will be further processed into exclusive jewellery.