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In September at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, jewelry house de Grisogono unveiled the world’s most expensive rough diamond, The Constellation—a diamond totaling 813 carats, bought for $63 million. Just a few weeks before even seeing it, de Grisogono’s founder and executive board member Fawaz Gruosi sat down with Whitewaller in New York to discuss this incredible acquisition, the Madison Avenue boutique, and his unique use of black diamonds in his ever-unexpected designs.
WHITEWALLER: Can you tell us about finding The Constellation, which was discovered by Canadian company Lucara Diamond in Botswana in November 2015, and sold to Nemesis International DMCC and de Grisogono?
FAWAZ GRUOSI: We have a strong connection with Nemesis, allowing de Grisogono to market their best stones. In the last few months, we acquired two historical rough diamonds, following a competitive bidding process. One was a 404-carat stone, named The 4 de Fevereiro, and once that’s cut, it will probably come out between 150-160 carats. Just a month after, The Constellation was found—813 carats, which is expected to reveal one of the world’s largest certified flawless diamonds. This is the sort of diamond that people will be talking about for generations to come.
They’re studying the stone scientifically to maximize its full potential and spirit. It was under the ground for so many centuries. It’s really just unbelievable.
WW: Do you know yet what the stone will be used for?
FG: Well, definitely for that size it will be impossible to be a pair of earrings or a ring. So it will for sure be a necklace. And I have to come up with something… That is my role, as creative director, to come up with a spectacular design, and something truly representative of de Grisogono’s unique style!
WW: Can you tell us a little bit about the Allegra ring, the first piece to be made of ceramic for de Grisogono?
FG: Being deeply representative of de Grisogono’s style, The Allegra Collection features stunning volumes. We thought it could be interesting to offer a version of the ring using ceramic for a comfortable feel (ceramic is really light) that also allows us to play with colors—one of our signatures anchored into the warmth of my Mediterranean roots. I also liked the contrast with the gold.
WW: How does your New York boutique on Madison Avenue reflect the brand’s dedication to the jewelry industry?
FG: Opened over 10 years ago, our New York boutique still bears de Grisgono’s unique signature with its original interior design. It is one of my favorites, as it feels like my living room! The interior is rich in details, and is directly inspired from a number of aesthetic constants that are characteristic of our jewelry.
It is important that our jewelry collections and high jewelry unique pieces fulfill tastes and requests for the most demanding and varied clients visiting our 14 boutiques worldwide.
WW: What has been your favorite part about helping craft the brand’s legacy over the past 24 years?
FG: When I started, I had no idea how to design, but I had years of experience in the jewelry industry, and was exposed to many designs and important collections.
At the time, in 1993, all over the world at every showcase, I was seeing minimalists using the classic platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and traditional stones. I decided to do the opposite. I designed in white and rose gold, with bigger volumes, and began to mix different colors together, which no one really ever did before. The talk around town was, “This guy is crazy mixing all these colors!” Then, I came out with the idea to use black diamonds—at a time when the stones had very little importance or visibility.
The company quickly took off, and the success was unthinkable. To be honest, I owe a lot to those black diamonds, as they changed my life. I would not be sitting with you today without them. To be daring, to take risks, to offer our clients the most unique and the most beautiful jewelry creations—this is what really motivates me every day.
This article appears in the November issue of Whitewaller New York.