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Exclusive: Discover The Story Behind The World’s Largest Pair Of Diamonds

HB Antwerp has recently presented the world’s largest pair of round diamonds — Vogue Arabia shares everything you need to know about these exceptionally rare stones.

world's largest pair of diamonds

Photo: Courtesy of HB Antwerp

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and now there are two worth befriending, thanks to HB Antwerp, who has crafted the world’s largest pair of diamonds. Believe it or not, each of the round brilliant sparklers surpass the 100 carat mark, and together, are being currently valued at nearly $100 million. Unparalleled in size, quality, purity, and color, these diamonds represent a historical milestone for the global luxury diamond industry —  a testament not only to exceptional craftsmanship and ethical sourcing with clear provenance but also to the remarkable collaborative endeavor between the Government of Botswana, Lucara Diamond Corp, an outstanding diamond mining company, and HB Antwerp, an innovator reshaping the diamond value chain.

“When we received the single piece of rough, the 9th largest to be ever found in Botswana, it was very clear from day one that this will be of the ultimate top characteristics, no matter what we do,” stated Oded Mansori, Co-founder of HB Antwerp. “It was apparent that it would be the best color and purity.”

The Belgium-based mineral infrastructure brand — just under four years old — has an exclusive sales agreement with the most lucrative diamond mine in the world, Lucara’s Karowe mine in Botswana. Thanks to this collaboration, HB is purchasing all diamonds larger than 10.8 carats discovered at Karowe. When Lucara found this rare gem , the rough piece was then transported to the HB Antwerp headquarters, where it was received with bated breath.

As the brand celebrates its ground-breaking offering, the world’s largest diamonds, Mansori sits down with Vogue Arabia for a special conversation to reveal more about the dazzling diamonds that have the world falling in love.

Can you share some details on the first day HB Antwerp came across the rough stone? What was the atmosphere like?

Upon first encountering the rough diamond, our team was truly overwhelmed by its exceptional quality and unparalleled clarity. Even with three decades of expertise in the field, none of us had ever witnessed such a remarkable gemstone of this magnitude. Its sheer size and the purity of its form were breathtaking—it was evident from the outset that we were in the presence of an extraordinary and unique treasure, one that stands out as a rarity even to seasoned professionals with years of experience. This stone didn’t just meet our expectations; it surpassed them, leaving an indelible impression of awe.

How many people from HB Antwerp did it take to transform the world’s largest diamonds from the day they were discovered to the day they were finally ready to be presented to the world?

The transformation of the rough diamond into the masterpiece we are presenting today was a testament to joint collaboration on an impressive scale. Over 2,000 individuals from the mine to the market pooled their expertise and efforts, seamlessly working together in a shared pursuit of excellence. The collaboration spanned continents, with teams from Lucara, Genesis HB Botswana and HB Antwerp in Belgium all contributing to the process. Each person involved was integral to the endeavors success, united by a common goal. The meticulous journey of analyzing, planning, scanning, measuring, cutting, and polishing these two identical stones was an endeavor that spanned over three years. This extensive period reflects the careful consideration and precision that went into every single step of the process, ensuring that the final product met the highest standards of perfection. Each phase was carried out with unwavering attention to detail, illustrating a commitment to excellence that took time but resulted in a pair of matchless and impeccably crafted diamonds.

HB Antwerp’s history-making diamond pair was presented at DJWE (Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition). What was that experience like for the brand?

Interestingly, we had a visit from a representative of the Belgian government in our facility one week before the show, and he suggested DJWE to showcase our curation, and we made the arrangements expeditiously. The exhibition for me was the most exquisite showcase of diamonds, jewelry, and watches in the world. What happened in Doha was something I have never experienced in my 35 years of being in the diamond business. There was not a single visitor or jeweler who did not stop at this showcase, and spent much more time than we had anticipated appreciating the jewels.

What has been the most interesting reaction the diamonds have received?

The exhibition of these extraordinary diamonds has garnered captivation from every spectator who walked through the doors—from casual expo tourists to discerning collectors who journeyed specifically for a glimpse of these rarities. The allure of these gems was so magnetic that once the news of their showcase spread, it became a focal point of attraction, transcending the typical expo experience into a pilgrimage for aficionados and enthusiasts alike. Simultaneously, this showcase has sparked a wave of interest among prestigious brands, with many reaching out to explore partnerships. These rare gems have not only drawn eyes but have also opened doors to new collaborative ventures, signaling the potential for these diamonds to be the cornerstone of innovative luxury experiences and products. The stones have thus become a beacon for both public admiration and exclusive business engagements, highlighting their unique position in the tapestry of luxury and craftsmanship.

world's largest pair of diamonds

Photo: Courtesy of HB Antwerp

HB Antwerp has a strong focus on ethical mining. What are some of the key measures in place to ensure that gemstones are being mindfully sourced?

Together with our mining partner Lucara, we’ve committed ourselves to ensuring every diamond’s journey, from Lucara’s ethical mining operations to the masterful hands at HB, is traceable. Our advanced blockchain technology meticulously records over 3,500 data points to validate each step of the process. This not only guarantees that you know the origin, the crafters, and the economic flow associated with your stone but also ensures the narrative of each diamond is preserved. We foresaw the industry’s pivot towards sustainable sourcing and have positioned ourselves at the vanguard of this
transformative movement.

This wonder — the world’s largest pair of diamonds — will likely catch the eye of several connoisseurs around the globe. What plans do you have for their future?

This item is a celebration of purity and overwhelming beauty which would instinctually make everyone say, “We will take it.” But we are catering to a very niche clientele, aiming at royal families, collectors, countries, and nations that would like to utilize the pair to tell an exuberant story.

After breaking the record with the largest pair of round brilliant diamonds ever crafted, what’s next on HB Antwerp’s list of accomplishments?

I wish we could produce something like this once a year or every 10 years, but the reality and history show that the chances of this coming again from Mother Nature are near zero. But our business is to deliver a clear governance story, representing the best craftsmanship and the ultimate technology working together to create items that meet people in times of their celebration. To ensure consumers are at ease knowing the origins of diamonds and where their money is going. Diamonds are an item to which you can add your own story, and pass it on to kids as an heirloom and so on, it is something you buy as a legacy and that’s what we want to continue accomplishing.

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