Beautifying women and even men all over the globe, this self-made man has a unique style of playing with diamonds and well, time. Meet Mr Fawaz Gruosi of de Grisogono
By: Karishma Parkash
Posted on: April 10, 2011
Breathing new life into the jewellery world, Fawaz Gruosi became to haute jewellery what Steve Jobs became to the world of technology. Turning back the pages all the way to 1952, the story of this passionate creator and founder is a soulful and inspiring one. Looking back, he said. “My mother stopped giving me pocket money, so I started working for a local Florence jewellery shop. My interest in the business started all the way back then.” As lady luck shone down on him, he worked with the likes of Harry Winston, Bvlgari and others leading to a fantastic field of opportunities. As destiny was to have it, there came a time when he realised his potential and decided to prove to the world his creativity through inventive and precious jewellery.
“My vision was to create objects I liked, with unique and beautiful materials. My philosophy? Stick to the things you love!” he shared. Laying emphasis on innovative jewellery, he yearned to give customers something new and unseen. A highlight in Fawaz’s journey, the restoration of the black diamond, which had been neglected by jewellers for decades, led to an absolutely unique jewellery collection. It evokes rapturous acclaim even today. This love story began 15 years ago fueled by Mr Gruosi’s love for art and the desire to break away from established traditions. These black diamonds adorn necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets, and wonderfully enhance voluptuous pearls, blazing rubies, deep emeralds, or even bring to life white diamonds!
Romance with creativity
Mr Gruosi’s first ever black diamond creation was a stunning ring set with 120 black diamonds, highlighting a large South Sea white pearl. The white pearl contrasted with black diamonds, creating a striking effect. The black diamond became de Grisogono’s emblem and from the year 2000, the crowns of many of their most iconic timepieces have been set with this precious stone.
In 2002, Mr Gruosi presented an exceptional ring set with the world’s largest black diamond of 312.30 carats, which he named ‘The Spirit of de Grisogono’. This exceptional stone was part of the ‘Diamonds’ exhibition at the Natural History Museum in Paris. It was cut from a stone of 587 carats and mounted on a ring set with 704 white diamonds. The ring was Moghul-cut, a style of cutting developed in India hundreds of years ago.
Not much later, the world’s elite began to notice, putting de Grisogono at the top of the luxury wish list. As a result, the price of the black diamond soared. The brand quickly gained international fame.
Fifteen years later, this success is now re-celebrated by de Grisogono through a new collection, called ‘Black Forever’. The black diamond evokes excellence and exerts a powerful influence on our imagination, leaving no doubt of the brand’s knowledge and DNA in the world of luxury.
The black diamond is fragile and prone to crumbling during cutting. And so, by its very nature, the black diamond is intrinsically more difficult to work with than the white diamond, despite their equal hardness! This year at Baselworld 2011, the romance continued with a new jewellery line of Galuchat bracelets set with black diamonds in the form of the brand’s emblematic arabesque design. A new addition to the high jewellery collection from Mr Gruosi’s imagination, check out the ring in blackened rose gold set with a 20 carat black diamond surrounded by brown diamonds, purple sapphires and amethysts!
de Grisogono’s black diamond creations are well-known among today’s celebrities. From Cannes to Hollywood, on the red carpets of glittering soirées, these black diamond creations tour the world and adorn the greatest international stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Naomi Campbell, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Demi Moore and Kylie Minogue to name a few.
Jack of all and king of all
Equally interested and great at both – jewellery and watchmaking - Mr Gruosi admits to have a slightly obvious tender attachment towards jewellery. “I am known as a jeweller and all of our timepiece collections have watches that are set with stones, keeping in line with the savoir faire of our brand.” Even without a watch background, he loves to design and offer different watches with complications and hold the de Grisogono DNA of excellence, creativity and, of course, glamour.
He trusts his intuitions, follows no commercial rules, and still succeeds in everything he does. With 16 boutiques around the world, this comes as no shock. “I bring to the industry new ideas, new materials. I think outside of the box of a watchmaker. The Meccanico dG was proof that de Grisogono could produce a complication never been seen before in the world,” he said. Neither gemmologist nor designer, he owes his success in the first place to his passion and curiosity and, no doubt, to his genuine creative talent. Avoiding fashionable gimmicks, he plays with trends, sometimes against the tide, only listening to his inspiration. “Everything I see around me, in nature or in everyday objects, is a source of inspiration,” he confides.
Noticing how the online medium is fast gaining impetus, there are some who advocate its importance as a propeller for luxury brands and services and then there are the others. Thankfully for his tech savvy and well-updated daughters, the old school man appreciates the internet as an important tool for all, including luxury brands. “For me, it’s not exactly the same feeling or emotion, when you see the products live and you can touch and feel them, but I know it’s the future, and we will have to integrate it in our communication strategy. It can’t be ignored,” he advised.
“India is an important market for us and I believe the next five years will be significant,” said Mr Gruosi. Armed with beautiful contemporary jewellery, de Grisogono is a perfect selection even for Indians with their love for traditional yellow gold. Inspired by the variety and colours of our nation, he said, “We work with many traditional materials too, most of our products are in yellow, rose and white gold. Initially, I frequented India very often due to the expertise of the stone cutters for the black diamond. So, India is important to me.”
de Grisogono opened its first store in India in 2008, but to much disappointment, was withdrawn from the Indian market scene. “India is a market of connoisseurs and clients with high expectations, interested in established international brands. The experience in India has been positive with enthusiastic clientele, but challenging with the high tax importation. We are trying to reduce the gap with the pricing in the region,” he shared. He furthered that personal reasons led to their partner having to withdraw resulting in the shutting down of the store at the DLF Emporio mall in New Delhi. “We have learned that we need to work with a partner who understands the luxury business and provides a top luxury service to meet our excellence in all that we do from client servicing to our products,” he added.
On a more positive note, he stated that a reopen is on the cards with professional staff dedicated to the luxury world creating a desirable environment for the brand, thus making the brand so special and exclusive.
It takes a lot of courage to steer away from convention and dare to stand out in the crowd. Mr Gruosi has done that and more, giving a new definition to luxury and creativity…