Johan Louw was born in Paarl, just outside Cape Town, South Africa, in 1956. At Stellenbosch University he studied Fine Art (specialising in jewellery design and manufacturing) under Larry Scully and Dieter Dill. By graduation in 1980, he had also obtained a qualification in gemmology (from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain).
As a youngster he had spent hours in his brother-in-law's workshop, watching and learning, developing a love and talent for jewellery design. His brother-in-law just happens to be the world-renowned jeweller Uwe Koetter, and immediately after graduation Louw was brought into the family business, employed as a designer and goldsmith. Within four years, Louw had become a director at Uwe Koetter Jewellers and bought shares in the company.
Over the past 20 years, Louw's award-winning talent has only added to the success of an already established jewellery business. He has repeatedly been described as the most gifted and creative jewellery designer in southern Africa.
His was work has been recognised with the Jewellery Council of South Africa Award (1988); the De Beers Shining Lights of Africa Award (1997, 1999); Jewellex Awards overall winner in 2003 and highly commended in 1999; overall winner of the Riches of Africa Awards (2000, 2003); and Plat Africa awards (2002, 2004). Perhaps his most prestigious achievement is being commissioned by Nelson Mandela to design and create a brooch for Queen Elizabeth II on her state visit to South Africa in 1995.
Louw forms one half of Cedric's Lodges's Partners in Art initiative, in which a limited number of works are created (inspired by the paintings of artist Hannes Harrs) and auctioned off at charity events, with a portion of the proceeds going towards identifying and nurturing talented underprivileged South African artists.