T he House of Graff takes us through a storied journey told through some of the most precious and well-known diamonds in the world. Ever since Laurence Graff, OBE, founded the maison in 1960, his insatiable passion for gems earned him the sobriquet “King of Diamonds.” Illustrious stones such as the Wittelsbach-Graff, the Graff Pink, the Graff Ruby, and the Lesedi La Rona are all a testament to his magnificent collection.
Graff’s expertise in cutting and polishing diamonds, combined with a distinctive contemporary design aesthetic is expressed in many ways: from classic rings, bracelets and necklaces to elegant accessories such as cufflinks, brooches and a hairslide, and even intricate timepieces. The family-owned house sees to their creations from beginning to end, and the quality shines through their works in all their expressions. With the Moment & Motif sale, we are proud to offer exquisite timepieces to celebrate life's moments and jewellery that bear motifs shared between cultures.
‘I look at historic European jewellery but I also look at costume jewellery past and present. I am inspired by Moghul jewels from India, African tribal jewellery, the exquisite craft of traditional Asian jewellery and by shapes, forms, patterns and prints, flowers and animals. So many different things I see around me inspire me.’
The House of Graff
Family-owned and run, this new-generation heritage house was founded in 1960 by Laurence Graff, OBE, and built on his unrivalled talents, unerring instincts, and indefatigable pursuit of perfection. Mr Graff is renowned for his singular gift: an innate ability to see into the heart and soul of a gemstone, to understand its potential, its individual character, the subtlest nuances of fire, life and brilliance, colour and light. He combines this sixth sense with expertise in cutting and polishing diamonds. Many of the world’s famous, historic and magnificent diamonds have passed through Graff’s hands, and over the years, Graff has brought glamour and dynamism to the highest of High Jewellery.
1962Opening at Hatton Garden. Two years after Graff Diamonds was established, Laurence Graff opened the first two retail shops opened in London, one in Hatton Garden, London’s diamond district. “I have always been fascinated by diamonds,” said Mr Graff about his love for diamonds at a young age, “I remember looking at them, studying them closely to understand their purity, and the way they had been cut. It was an inherent feeling that has turned in to a lifelong passion.” Today there are more than 50 Graff stores worldwide.
LAURENCE GRAFF DAVID BURTON / TRUNKARCHIVE.COM
1966Diamond International Award. At just age 28, Lawrence Graff won the highly prestigious Diamond International Award, competing against 300-plus designers from 23 countries.
1970Hair & Jewel. Laurence Graff created the landmark “Hair & Jewel” advertisement of Graff Diamonds showing a model wearing a bejeweled coiffure of diamonds and gemstones worth $1 million. Graff later said of the campaign, “I recognised the importance of establishing the Graff Diamonds brand globally. The creation of the $1 million Hair & Jewel provided the perfect opportunity to do this.”
1973The Queen's Award. Graff became the first luxury jewellery house to be presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade, recognizing British businesses for outstanding achievement in four categories. After achieving this major milestone, Graff would be bestowed with this honour four times.
1974Opening in Knightsbridge. Graff moved its headquarters to a newly opened state-of-the-art retail shop in Knightsbridge, where he welcomed clients from all over the world. When asked in any interview about his lasting relationships with clients, Mr Graff responded: “Jewellers have been the confidantes of their clients. We sell very expensive items and trust is needed. Nowadays, I might meet a client and chat for an hour, and hardly touch on the subject of jewellery. If the chemistry and the conversation are right, it’s always nice to be able to share interests and offer each other help. It started in earnest in 1974 when I opened my first major retail store in Knightsbridge on the Brompton Road.”
1974The Star of Bombay. Acquired in 1974, the 47.39 carat Star of Bombay was the first of a great many illustrious diamonds to pass through the House of Graff. Since the time of the Moghul Emperors, the Golconda mines have produced some of the most historic and beautiful diamonds. Mr Graff said of this jewel: “It was emerald cut and it had probably been set in a Maharajah’s regalia.”
1993Townhouse on New Bond Street. Laurence Graff moved his showroom after restoring an entire townhouse on New Bond Street in Mayfair district to its former glory. Officially opening the new boutique was the guest of honour Princess Michael of Kent.
2008Wittelsbach-Graff. The hypnotic blue Wittelsbach-Graff is a stone of majesty and mystique, originating in the fabled Indian Golconda mine that gave birth to the Hope diamond, and treasured for centuries by European royal families. Laurence Graff purchased the 35.56-carat stone, once part of the Austrian and Bavarian crown jewels, for close to $24.3 million. Graff courageously decided to re–polish the historic Wittelsbach, improving its colour and quality so that, at 31.06 carats, it became the largest natural fancy deep blue Internally Flawless diamond ever discovered.
2010The Graff Pink. The mesmerising Graff Pink set a world record price of $46 million. All connoisseurs will agree that it displays the most perfect pure pink colour, which has been graded “fancy intense pink” by the GIA with no secondary colour modifier. Mr Graff transformed the stone by upgrading its colour and clarity to the pinnacle of perfection. In the year, amongst momentous newly-discovered diamonds is the Graff Constellation, 102.79 carats, the largest round brilliant-cut internally flawless diamond in the world, and the Delaire Sunrise, 118.08 carats, the largest square emerald cut fancy vivid yellow diamond.
2014The Graff Ruby. Laurence Graff paid a record 8.2 million Swiss francs ($8.6 million) for a Burmese ruby, acclaimed as the finest ruby of Mr Graff’s career. This spectacular gemstone – an 8.62 carat stone of exceptional “pigeon-blood” hue from Burma’s historic Mogok mine – was previously purchased at auction by Mr Graff himself almost nine years before. Mr Graff named the stone after the first sale the “Graff Ruby,” and said of the stone “the cut and spread of colour is the finest I have ever seen.”
2019The Lesedi La Rona. At an astonishing 302.37 carats, the Lesedi La Rona is the largest, highest colour, highest clarity diamond ever certified by the GIA. It was cut from a monumental rough diamond of 1109 carats discovered in Botswana in 2015, and which yielded another 66 satellite stones. These modern masterpieces of the diamond cutter’s art have been made possible by Graff’s pioneering business model, which has revolutionised and modernised the diamond industry, leading it towards more ingenuity, creativity and transparency.
LESEDI LA RONA. DONALD BOWERS/GETTY IMAGES FOR SOTHEBY'S.
Graff is a name synonymous with the finest diamonds and gems, redefined as timeless classic jewels. As Laurence Graff once said, “Whatever nature gives us, we explore, and we build on.” That is the philosophy behind their highly sought after jewellery. Graff: Moment & Motif spotlights Graff's signature motifs, appearing subtly in elaborate earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings. The dazzling array is indicative of every jewel enthusiast, made for every occasion with a focus on delicacy.
Elegant accessories can be the best personal statements to elevate one's style. Graff’s cufflinks, hairpins and brooches accentuate the unique and individual character of any connoisseur. Whereas gentlemen’s accessories adorned with gems and diamonds convey a bold and confident spirit, splendid and versatile hairpins and brooches express a sense of adventure and intrigue. The brilliant sparkle of these pieces spark the imagination, compelling us to wear them in unconventional ways and have our creativity shine through.
Telling Time in Jewels
Graff: Moment & Motif honours time through the exquisite horological creations of Graff. When Graff’s focus turned to watchmaking starting in 2008, their timepieces would bear the same inventive designs, uncompromising precision, and superior craftsmanship we all associate with the maison. Staying true to their philosophy, Graff watches seek to create not devices but masterpieces – works of beauty that not only serve the function of time, but also realise Graff’s singular expertise in their field of diamonds and gems.
Transforming unique timepieces into elaborate jewels in equal parts, many of their pieces, from concept to final polishing, will not leave the workshop until more than 100 hours of creative devotion have been met. The ultimate contiguity of using time to gift the technology of time. Beyond the horological expertise, the time-honoured process of stone setting follows in a meticulous and precise manner to elevate each watch. An effortless fluidity in the construction of gemstone mastery and technical ingenuity. The result, is the height of horological sophistication, marrying the craft of high jewellery with the finesse of horology.
Graff: Moment & Motif | From Stunning Jewels to Splendid Asian Art
‘I have always been fascinated by such antique jewels. I find them genuinely inspiring and have brought these looks forward and modernized them. You might say that I am influenced by every piece of jewellery that was ever created. But in spite of all these influences, I still produce jewels that are simple yet have that subtle mystique that I think all great jewels should have.’