Louis Vuitton brings clear, 549-carat Sethunya diamond to Singapore in high jewellery showcase

Louis Vuitton purchased the historic stone and named it Sethunya, which means "flower" in the Setswana language. PHOTO: COURTESY OF LOUIS VUITTON

SINGAPORE - Just months after showcasing the world's second largest rough diamond - the 1,758-carat Sewelo - in Singapore, Louis Vuitton (LV) has brought another record-breaking stone here.

The 549-carat Sethunya is a crystal-clear diamond of exceptional purity, high lustre and high colour, and estimated to be one to two billion years old.

It was discovered on Feb 1 in diamond mining company Lucara's Karowe Mine - the same mine where the Sewelo was unearthed almost a year earlier in April 2019.

The uncut Sethunya was recovered unbroken and pristine by a Motswana diamond sorter who reportedly screamed when she found it.

LV purchased the historic stone and named it Sethunya, which means "flower" in the Setswana language - a nod to the French luxury house's emblematic Monogram flower.

The two stones may have been discovered in the same mine, but could not be more different.

A speculation diamond, the Sewelo is a rarity for its size and is the second largest rough diamond in the world. The iceberg-like Sethunya, though smaller in number of carats, is distinctly rare for its "remarkable consistency of extreme purity and whiteness throughout the crystal", according to the French luxury house.

It declined to reveal the stones' estimated value.

From now till Dec 7, both are on show at Capella Singapore as part of LV's Stellar Times high jewellery showcase. Viewing is by appointment only.

The newly unveiled Stellar Times collection features 90 exquisite pieces inspired by a journey through the cosmos. Spanning seven galactic themes, the pieces incorporate precious gems including sapphires, rubies and opals into an array of chokers, rings, necklaces and more.

Still, the show stealers are the two massive diamonds.

Like yin and yang, the Sewelo and Sethunya captivate from behind glass cases - one glinting through its black carbon coating, the other a blinding white vessel of light. It seems serendipitous that, unearthed from the same mine, the two are now returned to sit side by side in one exhibition.

The showcase is making limited stops around the region.

Like yin and yang, the Sewelo (left) and Sethunya captivate from behind glass cases. PHOTOS: ST FILE, COURTESY OF LOUIS VUITTON

LV has acknowledged that the hefty acquisitions are a testament to the house's desire to be a major player in high jewellery - competing with players like Cartier and Bulgari.

Its strength lies in its history of personalisation. As with the Sewelo, LV is offering clients the ability to custom-cut and polish the Sethunya into bespoke pieces once it finds its buyer.

According to the house, the Sethunya's cutting possibilities are multiple, and could yield a diamond of 200 carats, or two 100-carat polished diamonds in the LV signature cut.

The maison prides itself on offering clients a transparent, personalised process to creating the final pieces - working directly with Antwerp-based diamond cutters HB Company and cutting out the middleman.

LV's chairman and chief executive Michael Burke said: "I believe that this is what the future of jewellery is about. We provide our clients with the unique opportunity of being involved in the cutting processes and the end-to-end jewel creation.

"By clearly establishing the origin and getting rid of mediators in an often secretive market, we offer them a truly unprecedented fine jewellery experience."

Ms Margaux Donckier, communications and external affairs director HB Antwerp added in a press release: "Today, consumers expect transparency and sustainability. They 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."

Mr Burke added: "Our clients are searching for uniqueness, something that they cannot find somewhere else. Globally there is an increased demand for one-of-a-kind creations."

Clients interested in viewing the Sethunya diamond and Stellar Times showcase can contact Louis Vuitton Client Services by telephone on 6788-3888.

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