In 1922, F Scott Fitzgerald described an enormous diamond unearthed in the northwestern United States. His novella, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, follows teenager John T. Unger as he befriends fellow boarding-school student Percy Washington, whose family owns a plot of Montana land encircling a single diamond as high as a mountain. Had it not been but a figment of Fitzgerald’s imagination, one can easily imagine a Graff jeweler polishing, cutting and setting the Washington family treasure.
At his London-headquartered business, Laurence Graff OBE has made record breaking diamonds a house speciality. Graff has worked with a number of rare gems including the Windsor Yellows, the Graff Sweethearts, a Maharajah’s antique 47.39ct canary-hued Star of Bombay and the Wittelsbach-Graff blue diamond (which previously adorned the Austrian and Bavarian crown jewels).
In April this year, Graff unveiled his latest coup. When it was first discovered in 2015, in Botswana’s Karowe mine, the Lesedi la Rona ranked as the third largest diamond ever found and the second highest for gem quality.
Graff purchased the Lesedi la Rona in 2017; with the ambitious goal of retaining a total of 300 carats. The company custom- built innovative scanners to investigate the stone, before cutting one single emerald-shaped diamond of 302.37 carats and 66 satellite gems.
Graff is a brand of superlatives and the house’s fairy tale trajectory is equally awe-inspiring. Born in Stepney, London in 1938, Graff was raised in the East End by a Russian father and Romanian mother. His father made suits off the Commercial Road, while his mother ran a tobacconist and newsagents.
Leaving school at 15-years-old, Graff joined a Hatton Garden jeweller as an apprentice. After just three months, he was released from his apprenticeship, but unperturbed by this early setback, set out to carve his own path. He established his first business aged 17; in partnership with an experienced craftsman, Graff specialised in the repair of antique and heirloom jewellery, with a focus on Victorian finery.
Step inside the workshop of one of the world’s most famous diamond merchants with a look Inside Graff HERE