Q&A With Fawaz Gruosi of De Grisogono, Bal Harbour’s Newest Boutique

Fawaz Gruosi 2

De Grisogono, the forward-thinking Swiss luxury brand famous for pioneering black diamonds on jewelry and timepieces, has just opened a boutique in Bal Harbour. The brand’s founder and creative force, Fawaz Gruosi, is in town for the opening and sat down with Haute Living to talk about 20 years in the business, being a pioneer and his latest obsession, “Icy Diamonds.”


HL:      How do you feel about the opening of the store in Bal Harbour?

FG:       Well you know the store will be the same as our other shops in the rest of the world.  We don’t change anything with respect.  The only thing is that I’m very excited because Miami is really a totally different market. This time I’m very positive, which is very rare because normally when I open a new shop I am always very worried.  For the first time I have a good feeling.  I hope I’m not being a bad luck!


HL:      Everything you’ve done so far has turned out wonderfully, so I’m sure it will be. After all, you were the first person really using black diamonds.

FG:       When I first came out, most of the jewelers [and consumers] worldwide didn’t have an idea about the existence of black diamonds.  So everybody was concerned about the fact that they were black, that they were not real diamonds. People thought I was cheating, or just crazy. The good thing came from the press because for most everyone, the fact that black diamonds existed was news. So it worked out to be a great push for people to get to know the brand.


HL:      And then it took off?

FG:       Not immediately, for two years I suffered like hell. There were some people who loved it and bought it, but there were some other people who loved it and didn’t have the courage to buy it and some other people, who were simply not used to that look them and they didn’t buy it.  But, people were talking about this crazy guy, this brand, and these black diamonds.  Till, after two years of suffering, being frustrated and etc. etc., a few big brands started to use black diamonds.


HL:      You had the largest black diamond ring (312 carats) that you cut yourself appropriately named the “Spirit of Grisogono.”

FG:    Once it was cut  and set in the ring, we sold during a cocktail in Geneva.  It was in my hand not more than a month.  We sold it on behalf of a government.


HL:    Does that mean a king bought it?

FG:     [Gruosi nods] I can’t tell you which one. It was perfect, and for that size and extremely rare diamond. Perfect for a rare gemstone collector, which the buyer was.


HL:      Now you are offering something else that was traditionally ignored by the industry: Icy Diamonds.

FG:       Jewelers never took them in consideration because they were not transparent.  They were not [considered] nice.  And I loved them.  And of course there is different kind of quality and sparkle, if you want. People didn’t know the stones came in so many colors and I was mixing them together. The second I came out [with the Icy Diamond jewelry], I had immediate success.  From that moment, I started to be sure of myself, not because I have an ego, but because I realized that in the market people were fed up of the usual things.


HL:      So you could really start playing.

FG:       Yes, I realized people wanted something different, so I decided to make the gold black, the gold brown.  I started to use dusting and grey in jewelry.  I started to do a million of other things in that sense.


HL:      So de Grisogono is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary this year. That’s a long time.

FG:       When I started, in 1993, the style was quite minimalist and they were using platinum, white and yellow gold. The traditional stones, diamonds, sapphire, emerald and rubies and that was it. So I came in like a bulldozer doing exactly the opposite of what the market was doing at the time.  And so there was a reaction, quite the reaction that you gain when there is something new, when people are not used to it with their eyes.