De Grisogono (Est. 1993) As it prepared to mark a quarter century in business, De Grisogono entered into a new partnership with former Leviev executives David and Lisa Klein. However, even more noteworthy in late 2017 was the sale by Christie’s of the Creation I, a necklace created by de Grisogono.
The November 14, 2017 auction broke industry records at the much anticipated Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva. The necklace achieved the price of CHF 33,500,000 / US$ 33,701,000.
A breath-taking masterpiece, designed by Fawaz Gruosi (b. 1952), founder and Creative Director of de Grisogono, it featured a 163.41-carat Flawless D-Color diamond, cut from an historic 404-carat diamond. The original diamond was extracted from Angola’s Lulo mine by the Australian mining firm, Lucapa Diamond Company.
The auction sale marked another milestone for de Grisogono: the jewel was the largest emerald-cut diamond ever offered at auction. The sale broke the previous record price for a D Flawless Diamond which was had been US$30,600,000.
Commenting on the auction, Gruosi, said, “This auction marks a high point for de Grisogono and the team that have worked so tirelessly to bring this incredible stone to life in this beautiful piece, Creation 1. This is the largest emerald-cut diamond ever to come to auction and so it was uncharted territory. I am truly privileged to have had the opportunity to work with a historic stone of such perfection and … thank everyone who has taken part in this beautiful journey from mine to masterpiece.”
Fawaz Gruosi is also the creative mastermind behind De Grisogono’s watch creations.
Curious as well as artistic, Gruosi grew up in Florence, Italy, and left school to pursue his dreams of becoming the definitive fine jewelry designer. Since he began his company in 1993 with a boutique on Geneva’s rue du Rhône, Gruosi has rejected the minimalism characteristic of the late 90s in favor of rich, sensual, ornate pieces.
De Grisogono’s first creation was a bespoke pair of pearl and diamond earrings for the Begum Salima Aga Khan. They epitomized the luxury and exclusivity that would come to define the brand.
Since then, influential women such as Sophia Loren, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, and Sharon Stone have all donned Gruosi’s designs that explore black and white diamonds, uniquely colored stones, and innovative yet classic forms.
However, De Grisogono is about more than its opulent mix of Florentine and Byzantine influences, striking gem combinations, and Gruosi’s unsurpassed handcraftsmanship. The creations are unique and have captivated the jewelry world with beautiful, singular pieces.
In 1996, Gruosi introduced the Black Diamond Collection. At the time, black diamonds were an unfamiliar gem. Despite the fact that black diamonds are very difficult to cut and polish, Gruosi did not let this deter him. He explored the world to find these superb diamonds until he collected enough to begin the experiment he envisioned.
Gruosi employed a team of black diamond cutters in Antwerp, Belgium who turned the diamonds into jet-black sparklers. One of Gruosi’s finest accomplishments, the Black Diamond Collection, is for sale worldwide.
De Grisogono loves colors, nuance, and contrasts. Its favorite hues hark back to the roots of its creator: turquoise and emerald shades adorning imposing stones set in the middle of a sparkling sea of diamonds. Among the destinations most enjoyed by Fawaz Gruosi, the Mediterranean serves as a creative backdrop that provides him with an endless source of inspiration and expression.
Several elements symbolize De Grisogono’s elegance, glamour, and timelessness. They convey joy, energy, color, and are vibrant, radiant, mobile, sensual creations that subtly distill a musicality that stirs the senses.
Entwined gold and stones, joyful spirals, elegant skin-on-skin sensations, the Vortice, Allegra, and Gypsy collections embrace the body. Ventaglio sends a breeze across the jewelry landscape with its precious stone, Fans.
Boule offers spheres directly cut from stones that are meant to be worn with no thought of moderation, while India displays drops of turquoise and opal that blossom and shine.
With its precious hearts nestling in a dainty shell shape, Conchiglietta recalls mother-of-pearl treasures strewn across the shores of the Mediterranean. The New Retro is shaped like a pebble smoothed by the elements. A time to be shared with loved ones bound by close ties is embodied by Allegra with its briolette-embellished Grappoli clusters.
A time to be lived is the conception behind the luminescence and bronzed charm of Tondo By Night, and the moon is celebrated in Luna. The infinite motion of the waves is captured in the curves of Onde, and tête à tête moments in Toi & Moi.
The brand is most revered for its High Jewelry which is a combination of superlative jewelry and exceptional stones. De Grisogono takes each initial design idea and transcends them by turning each piece into a glittering reality.
After a first sketch comes the preliminary drawing, which the firm will craft into a three-dimensional piece, combining the precious metal of the mounting with the precious carats of the chosen stones. It is this unique, fragile procedure that is the foundation of the timeless value of the firm’s contemporary creations.
The beauty of de Grisogono’s jewelry is not only shown on the visible side but also when the concealed side of a jewel remains out of sight.
The same quality of stones, and exact outstanding craftsmanship used in High Jewelry are used to develop the brand’s other Jewelry collections such as the previously mentioned, Allegra, Boule, and others including the Chiocciola, Matassa, and Melody of Colours Collections. Fawaz Gruosi’s vision to create unique High Jewelry pieces inspired him to develop other eye-catching creations.
With his success in jewelry manufacturing assured, Gruosi next ventured into his second passion, watch-making. The de Grisogono brand grew very quickly and, by 2000, Gruosi again achieved new heights with the creation of a luxurious and breathtaking men’s watch line.
One of his first watch models, the Instrumento No Uno, was set in a combination of black and white diamonds and colored stones. The timepieces were square in shape and also displayed a second time zone. Fifteen variants were considered for the choice of the dial. The material for the case was made of steel, rose and yellow gold, platinum or gold.
The model comes equipped with an automatic movement, the second time zone, a square case and a guilloche dial. The crown is decorated with a black diamond. The Instrumento No Uno Collection was a success and offered for sale around the world. To this day, the watch continues to be a bestseller among all of Gruosi’s timepiece collections.
The Instrumento Doppio model has two separate watch movements and three dials. The watch is supplied with a fold-out system and the watch case has big dimensions. The central seconds, minute and hour hands, the big date indicator and the three chronographic meters are situated on the front of the dial. On the back side (at the rotor and the hands self-rewind sector) is a supplementation of the basic ETA caliber – the second watch module and the second time zone module.
In 2001, the feminine counterpart to the initial watch design and called, Instrumentino, was made available. The women’s Instrumentino model also has a second time zone function. The Instrumento Doppio and the women’s Instrumentino 1 models were produced in 2002. The Instrumento Doppio Tre model with three time zone indicators was produced in 2003 in a quantity of only twenty pieces. That model is made of white gold and encrusted with diamonds.
In 2007, De Grisogono bought out Chopard’s equity stake in the company giving Fawaz Gruosi full ownership of the brand. Subsequently, the company built a larger and improved watchmaking facility and new De Grisogono boutiques also opened worldwide.
De Grisogono has launched timepiece designs and pioneered the use of “galuchat” (stingray) watchstraps. The company’s most recent innovation is a brown tinted gold called Browny Brown Gold which is being used in both timepiece and jewelry designs. Whether it’s a bangle bracelet, a gemstone fashion ring, or even a timepiece design, de Grisogono’s exotic creations provoke, impress and mystify all who see them.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of his very first watch collection, in 2010, Gruosi reinvented the Instrumento No Uno with a Pop Art twist.
Bold gemstones in unison with strong, sculptural shapes and vibrant leather wristbands characterize De Grisogono’s striking timepieces some of which are smartwatches created in collaboration with Samsung providing further proof of De Grisogono’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve.
On its official website de Grisogono offers nearly two dozen short videos that reveal the brand’s operational focus, creative processes, and people behind the scenes. From the discovery of the 404-carat rough stone in the heart of Angola to the unveiling of the resulting jewelry creation in Hong Kong, the videos provide backstage views of de Grisogono’s expertise. For the true enthusiast, it is an immersion into the experiences of the men and women who work to achieve excellence and perfection while creating unprecedented works of art.
Coined “The King of Black Diamonds,” Gruosi is well known for taking the path less traveled. Where some saw imperfection, Gruosi saw opportunity. The world has been fascinated by the unique pieces the de Grisogono brand has introduced year after year as new watch and jewelry collections were born.
From a young boy with no design experience in Florence, Italy, to a world renowned jewelry designer icon, Fawaz Gruosi has undoubtedly left his mark on the jewelry and watchmaking industries. Through countless intricate and one of a kind timepieces to the discovery of icy diamonds and black diamonds, the de Grisogono brand appears to have style and elements that will allow it to be treasured forever.
Today, De Grisogono continues its tradition of designing the most beautiful jewelry collections using the world’s rarest stones, along with producing complicated and beautiful timepieces.