bal harbour blog

Laurence Graff’s Gem of a Book

Q&A
Laurence Graff holds a selection of the world's most valuable gemstones.

By Jessica Michault

Laurence Graff is the highly regarded elder statesman of luxury jewelers. The founder of Graff Diamonds, he has over the past 55 years unearthed some of the world’s most exquisite and enormous gems. And to commemorate this lifelong passion for Mother Nature’s hidden treasures Graff has launched a new book that looks back on his life as a self taught gemologist and the legendary jewels that he helped bring to light.

Why did you feel it was time that this book needed to be written?
Laurence Graff: This year marked our 55th year operating at the very pinnacle of the luxury jewelry industry—it’s a very special moment for us. The book features captivating stories about the creation of Graff written by the world’s leading jewelry and watch writers, accompanied by beautiful new and archival imagery and photography of many of the exquisite diamonds that have passed through our House. I’m extremely proud of it.

What is the most extraordinary thing you have done to procure a precious gemstone?
The acquisition of a rare diamond is always an extraordinary process. Each and every time I make the decision to purchase a special stone, I am aware that I am going to have to pay a very high price to acquire it, sometimes a new world record price and that takes an enormous amount of courage. Nevertheless, the excitement of acquiring a piece such as this is immeasurable and I am very privileged to have experienced it on a number of occasions over the course of my life.

What is it about gems that fascinated you to begin with?
When I first started working in the industry I remember looking at diamonds, studying them closely to understand their purity and the way they had been cut and crafted. Without realizing it, I was becoming a self-taught gemologist and I truly believe this is what I have been born to do. It was an inherent feeling, which has turned into a lifelong passion.

Is it true that you let the stones speak to you to guide you in the way they are shaped?
We are extremely well placed to acquire the largest diamonds in the rough—and use our expertise and skills, honed over many years, to carry out the demanding and risky process of transforming a rare diamond from its rough state into a polished masterpiece. Every stone tells a story; it isn’t made to order, it comes from the ground.

To ensure a rough diamond realizes its full potential it is carefully assessed by our expert gemologists. To create the finest clarity and quality polished diamonds possible, its natural internal flaws and proportions are meticulously mapped into a specialized computer system to create a precise digital version of the stone. Following many hours of careful planning, the rough is cut using lasers and then polished by hand by our highly skilled in-house team.

The entire process can take many months to execute.

What is the one piece of precious gemstone jewelry every woman must have in their jewelry box?
A tennis bracelet, pair of stud earrings or a classic design, such as a jewel from our Butterfly or Icon collections are the perfect pieces with which to start a jewelery collection.

 

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