The History Of Graff
The History of Graff
Established in 1960, Graff Diamonds create beautifully unique collections that radiate the divine essence of femininity through their delicate and classic designs. This is showcased through the natural beauty of their stones, each of which contains a story as interesting as Graff’s history.
“The House of Graff stands for the finest, the rarest and only the very best stones.”
— LAURENCE GRAFF
The Early Years
Founder Laurence Graff has been fascinated by diamonds his whole life, establishing Graff Diamonds at the inspiring age of twenty-two. His expert knowledge followed by generations of Graff family expertise has led to the company’s renowned innovation and craftsmanship. Graff continues to grace the jewellery industry with elegant pieces across a diverse range of collections, all of which the company proves their strive for perfection and a flawless eye for detail.
Graff’s purpose in life was always clear to him, demonstrated by his leaving school at fifteen to become a jeweller’s apprentice. In quick succession, Graff soon became partner of a small shop, before leaving to establish his own business in 1960. By 1962, he had two jewellery shops, one of which in London’s iconic jewellery quarter, Hatton Garden.
In 1966, Graff commissioned Robert Thomas to design a diamond jewel on behalf of Graffs Diamonds, to enter into the prestigious De Beers Diamond International Awards Competition. The result, a breath-taking ribbon bracelet that not only won the award but simultaneously establishing Graffs’ place at the table of notable, high-end jewellers.
Throughout his career, Graff and Graffs Diamonds has continued to design and create award-winning pieces of jewellery. Significantly in 2013, Laurence Graff was appointed the highest honour by the British Monarchy, the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his lifelong services to the jewellery industry. Awarded in recognition of his distinguished work and dedication to his craft by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Suitably, Graff is widely known as "The King of Diamonds", now with the title and medal to prove it.
An International Gem
By this time, the reputation of Graff Diamonds was proceeding on an international stage. Particularly in the Middle East, where the Sultan of Brunei, Hassaanal Bolkiah, who became a client and then life long friend. Customers of this calibre are no rarity, with celebrity endorsers of Graff jewellery including the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Donald Trump, Larry Ellison and the Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz, who famously visited the shop and purchased every single piece available at once.
Graff has expanded his company, capturing hearts across the globe, with shops across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. During this time Graff has represented several notable diamonds including The Windsor Yellows. A pair of clips of fancy yellow, pear-shaped diamonds, named after Wallis Simpson, the then Duchess of Windsor who had been their previous owner.
Another notable, although also controversial piece was the astonishing Wittelsbach Diamond. Purchased by Graff in 2008 for £16.4 million, a considerable premium above the guide price of £9 million. Almost two years later Graff revealed he had three diamond cutters repolish the stone to improve clarity, eliminating chips on the diamond. Critics accused Graff of comparatively trying to 'make the Mona Lisa prettier'. Despite initial backlash, renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, the stones clarity grade has been elevated Internally Flawless (IF) and applauded in retaining the original double stellate facet pattern and maintaining the overall aesthetic of the original stone.
Graff Diamonds are highly praised for their adherence to the Kimberley Process, working to actively avoid buying or trading rough diamonds from areas where this would encourage conflict or human suffering. Taking pride in their ethical procurement of stones, most Graff Diamonds are laser engraved with unique Gemological Institute of America (GIA) tracking numbers, which whilst visible to the naked eye, allows their origin to be traced.
It is near impossible to adequately put into words the impact of Graff Diamonds on the jewellery industry not only in their London home but across the international world of diamonds. Graff’s estimated net worth of over 5 billion dollars makes him deservingly the wealthiest jeweller in the UK by far, if not the world.