It may come as a surprise that Graff – among the most recognisable jewellers, with some 50 boutiques and points of sale around the world – until now never had a store in Paris, the spiritual home of high jewellery. Then again, those with even a passing knowledge of founder Laurence Graff will appreciate that he has had his reasons. After all, this is a man with a legendary ability to see the potential of diamonds, and who has transformed many a stone into a historic gem through his expert eye, patience and skill.
Graff’s first Paris boutique, which opens on Wednesday June 1, is a similar kind of labour of love. Adjacent to the newly renovated Ritz (another space that’s kept fans waiting, what with a fire in January and a delayed opening in March), the store overlooks the Place Vendôme, home to the most venerable of jewellery houses. Designed by Peter Marino, the boutique is through-and-through Parisian, taking its cue from the Place Vendôme’s palatial 18th-century surrounds, together with the landscaped gardens so in vogue at the time, with French limestone and grey damier floors that create a terrace effect, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and pale-green gaufraged velvet walls.
New jewels (all price on request) have been especially created to commemorate the opening, the expected headline piece of which is the spectacular Graff Vendôme: a 105.07ct D Flawless pear-shaped diamond that was cut and polished from a 314ct rough. Coloured diamonds also make an appearance in one-off pink and blue diamond rings, plus a wonderful pear-shaped 16.32ct intense yellow piece. Strong art deco styles are synonymous with the house, most notably those combining sapphires and diamonds; a set of tassel earrings (fourth picture) with 30.44ct in diamonds and 179.19ct in sapphires is exclusive to the store and sits alongside an equally stunning necklace (third picture) resplendent with 44.01ct of diamonds and 606.25ct of sapphires. A beaded emerald and diamond necklace with a detachable floral brooch (fifth picture) feels right at home in garden-themed environs, as does a statement-making 25.43ct Colombian cabochon emerald.
But not all gems are one-off exclusives; the boutique will also carry Graff’s collection jewels, most notably its signature butterfly-themed creations (the Triple Pavé Butterfly and Classic Butterfly ranges) and its stylish Bombé pieces with erupting clusters of rubies, emeralds or sapphires. The maison’s Graff Vendôme watch will also make its way into the boutique later in the year.
The new flagship is one of two locations Graff will unveil in the French capital (the second opening in 2017). Planting the first flag on the Place Vendôme seems only right. “It’s an honour for us to be present at long last,” says Laurence Graff. “It makes sense to be situated next to the Ritz Paris: their clients are our clients – it’s a perfect marriage.”