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The family-run fine jewelry house Graff, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020, has welcomed Marc Hruschka as its U.S. CEO and president. In this role, Hruschka leads the house in New York, managing retail and sales teams across the country while overseeing internal movements—from sales and merchandising to marketing and partnerships.
Hruschka enters at an exciting time. Graff recently acquired a 1,109-carat rough diamond and cut it down to 67 polished stones, one of those resulting in a world record–breaking diamond. The masterpiece, named the Lesedi La Rona, sets a new record as the largest square emerald cut diamond in the world.
Whitewall heard from Hruschka about his start at Graff and how the brand’s legacy remains timeless.
WHITEWALL: Graff remains a family-run house, and you report directly to Francois Graff. Can you describe your intimate relationship with the Graff family and what you’re learning from Francois?
MARC HRUSCHKA: It has been an honor to work alongside the Graff family, who remain very involved in the business. Francois Graff and I speak several times a week, if not daily. It is exceptionally unique for me to have a close relationship and visibility to the owners of the company. I am constantly learning from Francois and other members of the family who also hold positions within the brand. Their continued dedication to our mission of excellence permeates the entire culture.
WW: You’re also managing 10 locations across major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami. How do these cities represent the jewelry buyers of today and what they’re interested in?
MH: Having a presence in these locations, and on the most iconic shopping streets within each city, is very impactful. Not only do you have some of the most sophisticated shoppers based in these areas, but you also have a high level of tourism. Travelers from around the world visit these destinations, many of whom want to visit our stores. These cities provide an important mix of business for Graff, spanning from the local clients beginning and expanding their jewelry collections to those seeking an extra-special memory from their travels.
WW: You have over 25 years of experience within the luxury industry, from strategy and partnerships to overarching leadership roles. Is there an aspect of the industry you haven’t explored yet but aim to in this role?
MH: I have been very fortunate in my career and still look forward to learning every day. While I am not new to the jewelry world, joining Graff has opened my eyes to what brand legacy truly means. Our extraordinary collection, which includes some of the greatest stones in the world, provides daily inspiration. I would say my journey of exploring something new is just beginning!
WW: How does the 302-carat Lesedi La Rona diamond add to Graff’s legacy of important stones?
MH: Discovering and acquiring unique diamonds, rough or polished, is a key part of Graff’s history and legacy. We are fortunate to have owned many of the world’s most celebrated gemstones in the industry—dating back to 1974, when Graff acquired the Star of Bombay, a 47.39-carat emerald cut yellow diamond.
The Graff story of the Lesedi La Rona shows our commitment to and value of craftsmanship, design, and creating unmatched product. It was a feat only a brand like Graff could achieve and execute to perfection.
WW: This year, Graff is celebrating its 60th anniversary. How does the brand exemplify luxury in such a changing, modern world?
MH: Graff is the epitome of modern luxury. We have the highest level of craftsmanship and technology to ensure our designs and quality continue to exceed our client’s expectations. As a family-owned and -operated business, a member of the Graff family resides over every aspect of jewelry design, including the sourcing diamonds—even for our engagement rings! This level of dedication and commitment to perfection allows us to remain at the top of the luxury market year-over-year.
In terms of design, Graff always looks forward. As a brand, we do not look at archival collections for inspiration. We look at what speaks to our designers and clients today. As a result, our jewelry is always relevant and remains timeless.
WW: You mentioned that you aim to “broaden product offering to include everyday diamonds.” What type of everyday diamonds will be available?
MH: Everyday diamonds will be part of most of our collections moving forward. Our “Threads” collection was our first comprehensive effort in this category, adding a diamond pendant necklace for less than $10,000 and matching stud earrings for under $20,000. The response was overwhelmingly positive from both new and existing clients.
WW: How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the house, and your creativity overall?
MH: Like every company, we’ve had to adapt in so many ways. Internally, we’ve been challenged to think outside of the box, with a more digital and direct-to-consumer focus. From a sales perspective, in some ways we are more connected to our clients then we ever have been! Virtual, at home, or private in-store appointments have been great options for us to service our clients in ways that are most comfortable for them.