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W Magazine is a women's fashion magazine, featuring stories about style through the lens of culture, fashion, art, celebrity, and film. On August 14, 2020, W Magazine was acquired by Bustle Digital Group, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
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Jun 30, 2023
Geffroy isn’t the first Graff designer to tune into the rocks’ energy. Laurence Graff , the company’s founder and chairman, first heard the call of the precious stones when he was a teenage apprentice in Hatton Garden, London’s East End diamond district. “I used to carry diamonds around in my pocket,” Graff told WWD’s former sister publication W Magazine in 2006. “The power of the diamond got me very early. They sent a message back to me that I could use them to create jewelry.” Graff would go on to create big, bold jewelry that showcased multiple diamonds, and to specialize in cutting and polishing rare, Fancy Yellow ones which were undervalued in the ’70s when he was building his vertically integrated business. The company sources rough stones, and cuts and polishes them before setting each piece. It’s rare for a high-end jeweler to do everything under one roof. Graff’s flashy designs, his focus on Fancy Yellow stones and sheer ambition propelled him into the high jewelry stratosphere, earning him billions of pounds and the name “king of diamonds.” He has also owned some of the most famous stones in the world, including the Windsor Yellow Diamonds, which once belonged to Wallis Simpson, and Simpson’s 19-carat emerald engagement ring. He’s owned the Idol’s Eye, a 70.21-carat light blue diamond from the collection of Abdul Hamid II, the 34th Ottoman Sultan, and the Deepdene Diamond, a 104.52-carat fancy golden-yellow stone that Graff originally bought for $700,000 and later sold to novelist Danielle Steel. In 2019, Graff unveiled the largest square emerald-cut diamond in the world. Known as the Graff Lesedi La Rona, the diamond weighs 302.37 carats and has the highest color and clarity graded by the Gemological Institute of America. “My love affair with diamond is lifelong and crafting the Graff Lesedi La Rona has been an honor. This diamond, our diamond, is beyond words,” Graff said at the time. His passion for the stones is infectious, and he continues to inspire Geffroy and her team, who are designing for the various collections that sell in Graff’s more than 60 boutiques worldwide. Geffroy said Graff’s love of art — his collection of modern and contemporary works could compete with that of any London gallery — often informs her work. “In the past, when he was building his collection, Mr. Graff talked with passion about the artists whose work he was buying; he knows everything about their lives. He always wanted to share his views, and he guided us to capture and interpret the emotion of the artist in our work,” Geffroy said. Art and history are enduring inspirations for Geffroy, who in May unveiled two new high jewelry sets made from white and yellow diamonds. The designs were inspired by geometric Kota masks, and by an ancient folk tale about a girl who created the stars. The diamond pendant on one has a semi-oval shape, much like the Kota masks, and hangs from a necklace paved with diamonds. In total, the creation contains 260 diamonds for a total carat weight of 84.57. Those designs will be on display at Graff’s flagship store on Rue Saint-Honoré during the haute couture shows in Paris, along with an assortment of yellow diamond jewelry showcasing a variety of cuts. This year’s high jewelry collection is called “Sunrise” and is meant to showcase Graff’s expertise with regard to Fancy Yellow diamonds. There will also be a full parure of necklace, bracelet and earrings, all of which have been made from Fancy Vivid Yellow diamonds. According to Graff, it’s unusual for so many Fancy Vivid Yellow rocks to appear together in a single jewelry set. (In yellow diamond speak, the words “fancy” and “vivid” refer to the intensity of color, which comes from the extra nitrogen in the diamond’s crystal structure.) In Paris, Graff also plans to unveil its latest hero design, a necklace that features a rare, pear-shaped Fancy Yellow diamond. After listening to the messages from the stones, Geffroy said her team first sketches by hand and then — if necessary — works with computer software. “Drawing by hand is always better — it means you are transmitting a real emotion. No software can capture that,” she said, adding that the ultimate goal of any Graff design is to showcase and amplify the stone. Her biggest challenge, she added, is to create jewelry that feels sensual, and like a second skin. “The most difficult part of this job is creating the lightest possible pieces,” said Geffroy, who spent five years as a designer of high jewelry and watches at Van Cleef & Arpels before she moved to London to work for Graff. Prior to Van Cleef & Arpels , she worked as a handbag and accessories designer at Louis Vuitton. Geffroy has two master’s degrees in design, from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and from the Richemont Creative Academy. She said that she and her team work closely with Graff’s workshop during the process of setting the stones, and they always aim to use as little metal as possible in the jewelry. In any Graff design, the stones are always the priority. They have to hang together perfectly, and look as if they are floating, according to Geffroy. “We often deal with several stones in gradation and they cannot be separated in the design. The challenge is how — when you have so many stones — to create a piece that’s light, flexible, comfortable, sexy — and elegant,” she said. “The jewelry needs to feel like a second skin.” Geffroy wears Graff jewelry every day, and favors pieces from the Laurence Graff Signature collection, which showcases of the founder’s cutting and polishing expertise. She usually wears two rings: one plain and one with diamonds. She also wears a pendant and stackable gold bracelets, which have been faceted just like diamonds. She described the Siganture collection as “pure, simple” and 100 percent recognizable as Graff. Geffroy said it’s invigorating to work for a company that’s focused on design, craft and in-house expertise. “We are never looking to the glory of the past. Instead, we are very reactive to the mood of the time and the moment. We also look to the future, and we challenge ourselves to make better and better pieces,” she said. “When you challenge yourself you improve, and you mature. The creative process is like wine. It gets better with age.” Tags
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