In 1996, shortly after he founded de Grisogono (named in honor of a friend’s mother, the Countess de Grisogono), Gruosi came across the story of a legendary diamond in a history book: the Black Orlov. The 67.75 carat, ebony-colored stone had a mysterious, even lurid history: Allegedly stolen from its setting in a sacred Hindu statue in India, later owned by not just one but two suicidal princesses, and reputedly cursed, the stone had a dark, compelling beauty every bit as intriguing as the mythology surrounding it. Fascinated by the diamond’s mesmerizing darkness, he decided to create an entire collection of black diamond jewelry.
“I use stones that most people—even other jewelers—are not aware of,” says Fawaz Gruosi. “Most people had not even heard of black diamonds when I started working with them.”
With the exception of the Black Orlov, black diamonds had been considered of little value in jewelry, thought to be imperfect and undesirable. But Gruosi looked beyond their plebian reputation and saw something more.
He paired the mysterious stones with the pale luminosity of South Sea pearls (a style that remains much in demand today) and bold color combinations like deep green Colombian emeralds, the rich crimson of rubies, and the shocking, graphic contrast of white diamonds, creating a jeweled vision of startling originality.
His intuition paid off handsomely: Today, de Grisogono is synonymous with the finest black diamonds, and more and more customers are being seduced by the dark side of diamonds, all thanks to Gruosi.
Fawaz Gruosi’s palette, however, is not all black. He has created an “icy” diamonds collection as well as numerous amazing technicolor pieces. And he makes no distinction between “precious” and “semi-precious” stones. “I hate the person who came up with that description!” he insists. “To me there is no difference. I treat every stone as if it’s precious!”
Because it attracts attention, de Grisogono jewelry is popular with celebrities for red carpet events. Salma Hayek, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone and Charlize Theron are just a few of de Grisogono’s glamorous customers. And they are indeed customers: it is against company policy to lend jewelry to stars, even for the Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival. “I don’t understand why companies hire models and movie stars to advertise their jewelry,” he muses. “My jewelry is my star, my princess.”
Photos Courtesy of de Grisogono.