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Graff Sparkles Brighter Than Ever in Paris

Fashion News
Yellow and white diamond necklace totaling 104.96 cts.

By Laurie Brookins

Each July, high fashion and high jewelry collide on the calendar, when the fall/winter haute-couture shows and annual haute-joaillerie presentations share one high-style week in Paris.

For some of the world’s most iconic jewelry houses, the center of the universe is the Place Vendome, the legendary square ringed with boutiques like Boucheron, in its same location since 1893, or Chaumet, which in the early 19th century crafted tiaras and other jewels for the Empress Josephine. Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels and others have more recently taken up residence on Place Vendome, and the latest is likewise deserving of a spot on this fabled location: Graff, the London-based house known for showcasing truly spectacular stones.

Located at 17 Place Vendome, Graff also scored an exceedingly chic neighbor: the Ritz Paris, at 15 Place Vendome since 1898, which reopened in June after a nearly four-year renovation. The Ritz became the must-stop for every fashion journalist during this week showcasing high fashion and haute jewels; Chanel fittingly chose to host its high-jewelry presentation in the hotel’s Coco Chanel Suite, where it offered up ruminations on golden wheat, rendered in yellow and white diamonds or sapphires. The inspiration was Chanel’s childhood in Auvergne, where wheat fields can be found in abundance. Around the Coco Chanel Suite, thoughtfully decorated with iconic details like Goossens tables and Coromandel screens, the house had brought in lush bouquets of wheat to frame their one-of-a-kind jewels, which had been crafted just across the square in Chanel’s jewelry workshop. Coco surely would have approved. (The Coco Chanel Suite, in case you’re wondering, can be booked starting at 25,000 Euros per night.)

Next door, tucked into a corner of Place Vendome, you’ll find Graff, which opened in conjunction with the debut of the refurbished Ritz (because they share a wall, both openings were delayed for three months due to a fire at the Ritz in January). From the exterior, the boutique seems understated and intimate; its grandeur is only appreciated once you’ve stepped inside. Peter Marino, favorite architect of a wealth of luxury labels, was inspired by 18th-century Paris and landscaped gardens when designing the space. Details include French limestone, floor-to-ceiling arched mirrors, and walls covered in celadon velvet; the latter evokes thoughts of the column residing at the center of Place Vendome, Napoleon standing sentry at the top as though he’s still guarding Josephine’s jewels. The glass vitrines that line the Graff boutique, meanwhile, featured some of the week’s most dazzling diamonds and gemstones, a dual exercise in craft and natural splendor.

And how better to commemorate the opening than the debut of an extraordinary diamond? Laurence Graff celebrated his first Paris boutique with the premiere of the Graff Vendome, an incredible 105.07-carat D Flawless pear-shaped diamond—the largest cut and polished diamond of its kind in Graff history—derived from a 314-carat rough stone (the rough yielded an additional 12 satellite stones, the largest weighing in at 17.10 carats).

The Graff Vendome may be garnering the lion’s share of headlines, but the boutique indeed boasts a variety of other pieces that prove to be just as captivating. A yellow and white diamond necklace totaling 104.96 carats is crafted as an artful mosaic, while a pair of diamond drop earrings are finished with two exquisite D Flawless pear-shaped diamonds, almost perfectly matched at 18.18 and 18.15 carats each. Graff’s deft hand with gemstones is also on display, including a three-row necklace featuring 78.98 carats of white diamonds paired with 112.95 carats of sapphires. With emeralds a highlight of the 2016 high-jewelry presentations (Van Cleef & Arpels’s 55-piece “Émeraude en Majesté” collection is rooted in showcasing the gemstone), another star of Graff’s Place Vendome collection is a sautoir-style necklace featuring 471.43 carats of emerald beads and 65.76 carats of white diamonds; the necklace’s floral centerpiece can be detached and worn as a brooch. After all, as those who craft high jewelry are aware, when you’re pondering the purchase of a one-of-a-kind piece, knowing it’s convertible makes it all the more enticing.

Prices of all pieces are, of course, upon request.


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