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IN­DE­PEN­DENT, IN­TI­MATE FIRMS ARE PASS­ING THEIR IN­NO­VA­TIVE DE­SIGNS DOWN TO POS­TER­ITY, WRITES KAREN FONG

Hong Kong Tatler - - Gemstones -

The pass­ing down of a business from one gen­er­a­tion to the next can be fraught with dif­fi­cul­ties. As well as deal­ing with the chang­ing eco­nomic times and in­dus­try trends and up­heavals, it can be dif­fi­cult to find a shared vi­sion from one rel­a­tive to the next. Th­ese fam­ily jew­ellery busi­nesses have stood the test of time, some into the third or even sixth gen­er­a­tion. This de­ter­mi­na­tion and common vi­sion is some­thing to be ad­mired, and clients no­tice it too. “Op­er­at­ing as a fam­ily business ben­e­fits us tremen­dously,” says Graff CEO François Graff. “We work to­gether set­ting goals for the fu­ture of our business, to grow, to ex­pand and to al­ways be the very best.”

Graff, whose fa­ther, Lau­rence, founded the company and whose un­cle and cousins are also on board, ex­plains how in­volved the fam­ily is day-to-day. “We mon­i­tor ev­ery as­pect of our op­er­a­tions and in­ter­act with our em­ploy­ees around the world on a daily ba­sis, so we’re aware of ex­actly what’s go­ing on across pro­duc­tion, to de­sign and re­tail,” he says.

In­de­pen­dence also gives th­ese com­pa­nies more free­dom to in­no­vate and take chances. This can lead to more pi­o­neer­ing de­signs and unique pieces through a high level of cus­tomi­sa­tion that is not al­ways pos­si­ble in a big cor­po­ra­tion. Franklin Adler, CEO of the brand his grand­fa­ther started, says: “Be­ing a fam­ily business al­lows us to cut short the decision-mak­ing process and to take risks. This has led us to be more in­no­va­tive over the years. For ex­am­ple we ex­per­i­mented with wood, ti­ta­nium, car­bon and semi­precious jew­els. Th­ese ideas took a while to take off and many of our cus­tomers were wary at first, but they have proved suc­cess­ful.”

He adds another rea­son clients may choose a fam­ily-run business—trust. “There is a re­la­tion­ship of trust built over the years, and the guid­ance we give them in the most nat­u­ral and hon­est way is done in or­der to suit their de­mands and wishes. Fam­ily business en­hances long-term re­la­tion­ships.”

With such pride in their in­de­pen­dence and strong her­itage, it is no won­der th­ese com­pa­nies pro­duce some of the most amaz­ing pieces and the most fa­mous stones the in­dus­try has ever seen.

Emer­ald and di­a­mond neck­lace by Gubelin; emer­ald and di­a­mond ring by David Mor­ris

Green Envy neck­lace in car­bon, white gold, emer­ald and di­a­monds by Adler; yel­low and white di­a­mond but­ter­fly ring by Graff

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