The man who controls a 404-carat diamond

Fawaz Gruosi, the founder of de Grisogono fine jewellery, acquired the rough diamond from the UAE-based Nemesis International, and will now overlook its outcome - a far cry from his days as a black-diamond dealer.

A 404-carat diamond recently obtained by de Grisogono. Courtesy de Grisogono
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Fawaz Gruosi, the Florence-born mastermind behind de Grisogono fine jewellery, has just bought the rights to an almighty diamond. At 404 carats, the colourless stone has a flawless clarity grade and is among the top 30 largest high-quality rough diamonds ever discovered in the world. The stone was acquired from Nemesis International, a rough-diamond trading company based in the UAE.

Gruosi, who travelled to Dubai for the event, also hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a de Grisogono boutique in The Dubai Mall, which was launched in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. At 175 square metres, the Dubai flagship is the largest de Grisogono boutique worldwide.

Gruosi now has an exhilarating task ahead of him – to draw out a plan for his 404-carat diamond, decide exactly how to cut it and what kind of jewellery piece to create from it. This marks a departure from the typical jewellery-making process, where jewellers are given a choice of pre-cut and pre-polished stones already on the market. Gruosi, however, will have the rare and treasured opportunity to see the diamond transformed from its raw form to its final state.

The Italian-Lebanese jeweller was not always privy to such plush prospects. “Listen, it’s no secret,” he says with characteristic bluntness. “When I started, I didn’t have the means to be in this business – you could not even open a shop of chocolates with the money I had.”

Still, he built an international luxury brand from the ground up, producing pieces worn today by royalty, celebrities and discerning clients around the world. Only a week after his trip to Dubai, Gruosi walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival with model Bella Hadid, who sported a de Grisogono high-jewellery necklace for the occasion.

Based in Geneva, the luxury jewellery and watches brand is renowned for mixing precious and semi-precious gemstones. The maison introduced timepieces in 2000 and today, most de Grisogono watches are characterised by the brand’s signature stingray strap.

Gruosi attributes his success to taking one major risk in his career – choosing to specialise in black diamonds, which, at the time, were looked down upon by most other jewellers in the business. “I made them in style again,” says Gruosi. “If there were not black diamonds in my life, I probably wouldn’t be sitting with you today.”

Read this and more stories in Luxury magazine, out with The National on Thursday, June 23.