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