EN­DUR­ING PAS­SION

A new ex­hi­bi­tion re­calls some of history’s most cel­e­brated jewels and hon­ours Lau­rence Graff’s quest for the finest di­a­monds. Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon re­ports

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

An ex­hi­bi­tion by Graff show­cases its pur­suit of the per­fect stone

The le­sotho prom­ise, a 604-carat di­a­mond trans­formed into a gor­geous 26-stone neck­lace; the 118.08-carat De­laire Sun­rise, the world’s largest square fancy vivid yel­low di­a­mond; and the Graff Con­stel­la­tion, a 102.79-carat flaw­less D-colour di­a­mond— th­ese are just three of the many record­break­ing stones that have passed through the hands of Lau­rence Graff in the past five decades.

Since found­ing his com­pany in 1960, Graff is said to have han­dled more spec­tac­u­lar, no­table di­a­monds than any other jew­eller. His epony­mous brand has earned a rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence that has made it the place to go to find the largest and best-qual­ity di­a­monds in the world. “Early in my ca­reer, I had al­ready de­cided that I was go­ing to han­dle the best in jew­ellery,” he said in an in­ter­view. “I’m in a truly ex­cit­ing busi­ness, be­cause di­a­monds are one of the great­est trea­sures known to man… and history has proven that if you buy the best of any­thing, it’s go­ing to be a good in­vest­ment.”

Graff ’s pas­sion for di­a­monds has made his the go-to brand for roy­alty, heads of state and the world’s most in­flu­en­tial and wealthy fam­i­lies. How­ever suc­cess­ful he has be­come, he has al­ways fo­cused on keep­ing his clients happy, think­ing noth­ing of fly­ing half­way across the world in his pri­vate jet to show some­one his lat­est col­lec­tion. For Graff, di­a­monds are a way of life.

This month, the dia­man­taire looks back on the house’s great­est finds with an ex­hi­bi­tion at its flag­ship bou­tique in Cen­tral. The dis­play in­cludes mod­els of his­toric di­a­monds Graff once owned, fas­ci­nat­ing mem­o­ra­bilia and im­ages from the mines. “This ex­hi­bi­tion is a nice way to demon­strate why Graff is so unique and ex­plain why the wealth­i­est and most suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs around the world be­come our clients,” says Ar­naud Bastien, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of Graff Di­a­monds in Asia. A se­lec­tion of Graff ’s most im­pres­sive high jew­ellery and rare col­lectible stones is also avail­able for view­ing and try­ing on, by ap­point­ment.

One of the high­lights of the ex­hi­bi­tion is the Golden Em­press, a fancy in­tense cush­ion­cut yel­low di­a­mond weigh­ing 132.55 carats set in a neck­lace of more cush­ion-cut yel­low di­a­monds. Of­fi­cially launched in Au­gust, the stone was cut and pol­ished by Graff ’s ex­pert team from a 299-carat rough dis­cov­ered at the com­pany’s Letšeng mine in Le­sotho. A team of se­nior gem­mol­o­gists stud­ied the rough for many months be­fore de­cid­ing on the best way to cut it; the re­sult is a mag­nif­i­cent stone Graff de­scribes as hav­ing an “in­tensely warm, molten-like glow.”

Other jaw-drop­ping pieces worth see­ing are a 30.94-carat fancy very light pink brio­lette di­a­mond set in a neck­lace with 63.52 carats of di­a­monds; and the Graff drag­on­fly brooch, a dra­matic clip that’s set with more than 75 carats of di­a­monds, in­clud­ing a 2.55-carat vivid yel­low oval.

“Di­a­monds and qual­ity gems are be­com­ing rarer and rarer ev­ery day,” says Bastien. “Di­a­monds are the only trea­sure in the world that car­ries im­mense value in such a small size. Each stone is unique and it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to find two iden­ti­cal ones, es­pe­cially when their sizes are sub­stan­tial.”

Graff ’s show­case re­veals the house’s vi­sion and the in­vest­ment it has made in de­vel­op­ing the know-how in sourc­ing, cut­ting and pol­ish­ing a di­a­mond to re­veal its in­ner beauty.

A book doc­u­ment­ing Graff ’s suc­cess is avail­able for pur­chase at the ex­hi­bi­tion, with funds raised go­ing to the Facet Foun­da­tion, a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity project Graff es­tab­lished to help un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren in southern Africa, where the com­pany sources many of its stones. Through ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing projects, Graff hopes to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of dia­man­taires.

RARE FINDS Graff is said to have han­dled more no­table di­a­monds than any jew­eller; Graff drag­on­fly brooch

The funds raised from the sale of this book will go to com­mu­nity projects for the un­der­priv­i­leged in southern Africa

THROUGH THE YEARS The “Cre­at­ing Di­a­mond History” dis­play at Graff’s flag­ship store in Cen­tral

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