De Grisogono’s Fawaz Gruosi reveals his latest collection
The ultimate expression of love and luxury, Tempus explores why diamonds will never go out of style for jewellery house de Grisogono
Carat, cut, colour and clarity. These four words sound like the ingredients to an easy recipe for perfection and yet for an expert jeweller, like Fawaz Gruosi of de Grisogono, finding a flawless diamond is anything but simple. With so much variety inherent in these rare stones it would be natural to think that, as with so many jewels, fashion and trends play a part in the ideal. And while it’s true that colour variants come in and out of style the exacting standards of a paragon diamond are always precise.
Why then, are we still so in love with diamonds? The gem’s emotional and social significance has remained true in the west ever since 1477 when the future Emperor Maximilian I secured his betrothal to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. The priceless 69.42 carat diamond Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor on their engagement raised enough for the actress to build a hospital in Africa when she auctioned it following the couple’s divorce.
Diamonds are also symbols of legacy; the Cullinan, once the largest in the world, was cut into both the Great and Lesser Stars of Africa which are now set in the British Crown. For Swiss luxury jeweller de Grisogono, diamonds have remained at the very heart of the company since it was were founded by Gruosi in 1993.
“I love diamonds,” says Gruosi, who is also the creative director of the house. “I love their translucent crystalline silhouette. I love their purity, their perfection and the way in which billions of carbon atoms join in, giving rise to the most fascinating stones. I love their mineral beauty.”
Gruosi’s latest ode to that beauty is the World of Diamonds collection that he debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The collections of necklaces, rings and earrings sets sparkling white and black diamonds against coloured gemstones such as emeralds and sapphires, but what really makes this collection stand out is the sculptural form that each piece takes.
From art-deco style emerald earrings dropping down to each support a 5.17 carat emerald-cut white diamond to the delicate chandelier-shaped white diamond drop earrings that combine 1436 diamonds supporting 26 pear-cut white diamonds that never lose their elegance, there is a hint of nature to the floral forms that each piece takes on. It is most obviously seen in the High Jewellery ring, with its 12.18 carat pink diamond set between two pear-cut emeralds, seeming to bloom on a ring of 209 white diamonds.
The collections necklaces are more dramatic still. Coiling seductively round the neck, the serpent-like Melody of Diamonds necklace combines 245.22 grams of white gold set with 1112 white diamonds and 1570 blue sapphires in an elegant gradient of colour that leads to a 42.53 carat pear-cut white diamond. It is a statement piece in the collection that pushes the boundaries of the trendiest catwalk shapes while bringing to mind the history of Cleopatra in its bold texture and regal shape. And of course, more necklaces replicate that scale-like texture with Gruosi’s beloved black diamonds, decorated with a contrasting blossom-like pattern of 43 navette- cut white diamonds.
For while a clear crystal never goes out of style, Gruosi is equally enamoured with the colour variants caused by impurities – such as nitrogen, which creates deep yellow or amber colours, or boron, responsible for the deep blue of the renowned Hope Diamond once owned by King Louis XIV in 1668 and infamously stolen and recut in 1791. Black diamonds, which are coloured by a number of trace impurities in the stone, have been in and out of fashion, and yet remain a favourite of Fawaz.
“It is the history, the power and the vibrant strength of the Earth it embodies emotions, authenticity and radiance,” he says. “Diamonds are the rarest and most precious gem. Its mineral beauty is timeless.” Gruosi’s love of elegance and creativity has seen him continue to partner with silver screen stars and models, such as Nicole Kidman and Naomi Campbell, and hosting a number of annual parties from a glittering showcase at Cannes to his birthday celebrations near his family home in Sardinia.
“When I put on my events I never think ‘commercial’ or that we have to sell. It’s a moment for me to invite my friends and my clients and say, ‘thank you’ – to make sure they’re happy and having fun,” he previously told Tempus. “I put a lot of love into [de Grisogono].”
“I constantly took risks when I launched de Grisogono,” he says of first hitting the world stage with a range of black diamonds at a time when they were thought to be permanently out of fashion. “When I created pieces I basically did the opposite of what was accepted in the market at the time.”
So, while diamonds remain an everlasting fixture in the world of fine jewellery – and, as the song goes, a girl’s best friend – Gruosi’s trailblazing designs will continue to break all the rules in the pursuit of perfection.