graff diamonds hallucination watch crystal magazine crown melbourne

Dialling up lustre | diamond dazzle | making a statement

Sexy and glamorous. Red carpet ready. Did someone say 'rescue fantasy'?

If Anne-Eva Geffroy has one goal in life it is to make her statement pieces of jewellery dance. How does the Graff design director work her gemstone magic?

When it comes to a roll call of radiance, Graff diamonds positively dazzle. The Golden Empress, the Paragon, the Graff Pink, the Star of Bombay, the Imperial, the Lesotho Promise … whether vivid yellows, fancy blues, rose pinks or flawless whites, they are the stuff of legend.

The diamond company founded by Laurence Graff in 1960 (he is now its chairman), and whose son Francois Graff is the current CEO, is involved in every stage of the process of creating one-off statement pieces from sourcing the stones, to cutting, polishing, setting and selling. It’s the blend of ancient and high tech, tradition and daring that results in some of the world’s most desirable pieces – rich, luxurious, unique.

In recent times, Graff has created two of the most astonishing watches: the multicoloured “Hallucination”, at $US55m said to be the most valuable watch ever created (introduced in 2014 at Baselworld); and last year’s unveiling, the US$40m “Fascination”, a celebration of white diamonds that is bracelet, ring and watch in one, and as much architecture as art.

With more than 50 stores worldwide – including a glamorous new boutique at Melbourne’s Crown Towers and another at Macau’s Studio City – Graff’s clientele are discerning lovers of jewellery. No one knows that better than   the atelier’s design director, Anne-Eva Geffroy, who has been with the company since 2010. Here, she shares insights into what is clearly a labour of love.

Graff designer Anne Eva Geffroy Crown Melbourne daniel herendi

Graff design director Anne-Eva Geffroy. Photo Daniel Herendi

Talk us through some of your recent inspirations.

Organic forms are a powerful source. I often draw on the sense of proportion and shape from artists and sculptors and the abundance of beauty, colour and pattern in nature (for example, the Peony and Carissa collections), while our Luna and Sunburst designs are more abstract and reference movement and formations from the world around us.

What do you most love about precious gems? Which hold a special appeal for you?

Gemstones are a true pleasure to work with – we have styles incorporating rubies, emeralds and sapphires. I particularly enjoy combining them with diamonds. Playfully positioning the layout of the gemstones alongside the finest white diamonds allows the depth of colour in the gems to ignite the fire within the diamonds.

What steered you towards high jewellery? When I studied at the École Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs, my design teacher taught me how to adapt and develop my creativity and ideas to any kind of universe and therefore any type of product. Designing jewellery was the logical progression into the world of luxury for me. The beauty and poetry that emanate from high jewellery have an irresistible attraction.

What role does technology play?

At Graff we work very closely with the head of technology, accessing the limits to which we can push the design to innovate and improve the settings, refinement and flexibility of each jewellery piece.

But however much 3D printers and computer-aided design tools are able to advance the technology of jewellery design, they will never be able to replace the emotion of the design process and the innate knowledge of how understanding a diamond or gemstone creates stone-led jewellery design.

“Fascination” is a masterpiece. What were its challenges?

“Fascination” is not only an incredible one-of-a-kind jewelled bracelet, it is also a timepiece. At the heart of the piece lies an interchangeable element – an exceptionally rare, 38.13ct D flawless pear-shaped diamond, cut and polished by Graff, which can be placed into a bespoke shank and worn as a ring.

Our master craftsmen are highly skilled in creating intricate jewels. Nevertheless, it is imperative a jewellery piece transforms effortlessly, while ensuring any clasps or catches that secure individual elements are concealed, protecting the beauty and fluidity of the piece.

Graff diamonds The Fascination watch Crystal magazine Crown Melbourne

The Graff “Fascination”  – watch bracelet and ring all in one


A Graff jewel must be exquisite from every angle and we worked hard to ensure that the bracelet element of this piece was not only well-articulated and wearable, but also very beautiful. The skills and technical expertise required to enable the “Fascination” to transform are highly specialised and provided the opportunity for our craftsmen to demonstrate their ingenuity and intuition.

You did an internship designing accessories at Louis Vuitton. What did you take away from that?

During my time at Louis Vuitton, I learned that true luxury requires you to study every facet, that every detail must be considered and finished impeccably, even the small details that are almost invisible to the naked eye. I was taught how to translate the concept of a luxury item into a commercial product, all the while incorporating the instrumental foundations of perfection – the finest materials, innovation with classicism, and functionality with elegance.

What is your definition of luxury?

Luxury is a test of your liberty. It is the very best of the best, pushing the boundaries of innovation and not conforming to any previous notion of what is possible.

What would you say is the Graff philosophy?

Graff is highly unique in its use of minimal settings, which allow the beauty and brilliance of each diamond and gemstone to shine through. When viewing fine jewellery, the eye should move around on a fluid visual journey. We make sure there are no interruptions to this, thus ensuring the design is perfectly proportioned and elegant.

Movement is always very important, and the wearability of the jewels, how they sit on the skin and interact with the body is a constant consideration. We work closely with the master craftsmen to ensure that the jewels are brought to life and dance when worn.

Describe a typical day for you in the design studio.

As a designer, each and every day provides an exciting challenge and the opportunity to create a new idea or concept. Diamonds and precious gemstones aren’t made to order, they’re gifts from Mother Nature, each with its own character. Designing jewels for large or rare stones is always the start of a new journey, in which the stone itself provides the inspiration and direction.

In the creation of every design we incorporate cutting- edge technology with skills and techniques unchanged for centuries. An important part of the process is the development of prototypes, from plastiline or resin. This enables us to test the piece and also ensure the design is accurately translated by our master craftsmen, who ensure that each magnificent jewel is flawlessly set and that the final jewel is exceptionally fluid and feels beautiful when worn.


First published in Crystal: Curated by Crown June –August 2016

Photographs courtesy of Graff Diamonds



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