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
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