Harry Winston was an American jeweler. He donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after owning it for a decade, he traded the Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1963. Winston founded the Harry Winston Inc. in New York City in 1932. He had been called by many as the "King of Diamonds". Winston's father Jacob started a small jewelry business after he and his mother immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. While growing up, he worked in his father's shop; when he was twelve years old, he recognized a two-carat emerald in a pawn shop, bought it for 25 cents, sold it two days for $800. Winston started his business in 1920 and opened his first store in New York City in 1932. Winston's jewelry empire began in 1926, with his acquisition of Arabella Huntington's jewelry collection, for $1.2 million. The wife of railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington, Arabella amassed one of the world's most prestigious collections of jewelry from Parisian jewelers such as Cartier; when Winston bought the collection after her death, the designs of the jewelry in the collection were quite old fashioned.
Winston redesigned the jewelry into more contemporary styles and showcased his unique skill at jewelry crafting. According to the Huntington museum, "He boasted that Arabella's famous necklace of pearls now adorned the necks of at least two dozen women around the world."When he died, Winston left the company to his two sons and Bruce, who entered into a decade-long battle over the control of the company. In 2000, Ronald along with new business partner, Fenway Partners, bought Bruce out from the company for $54.1 million. Winston was among the most noted jewelers in the world, well-known to the general public. In the 1953 musical film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" includes the spoken interjection "Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it!" The Lauren Weisberger comic novel, Chasing Harry Winston, was published in May 2008. In 2015, Harry Winston, Inc. operated 39 salons and numerous retail affiliates in locations such as New York, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Bal Harbour, Costa Mesa, other countries around the world.
Reference: The Arcots, first 33.70 and 23.65 carats, recut by Winston to 31.01 and 18.85 carats, respectively. The stones were thought to be a match, but when Winston bought them, removed them from their settings and discovered they were not, he decided to recut them to improve their clarity and brilliance. Both were either colorless or near-colorless, antique pear-shaped brilliants; the Anastasia, three emerald cuts weighing 42.95, 30.90 and 22.88 carats, all D color and Flawless clarity. Cut from a rough crystal weighing 307.30 carats Winston had purchased in 1972, largest gem named after Anastasia Nikolaevna, daughter of Czar Nicholas II. The Ashoka a 42.47 carats, modified elongated cushion brilliant. Purchased by Winston from a Chinese dealer in 1947. Stone was recut in 1977 from its original weight of 42.47 carats before it was sold again as a ring. The Blue Heart, a 30.82 carats, heart-shaped brilliant. After the cut was made, Cartier sold it to the Unzue family of Argentina in 1910, it reappeared in Paris in 1953 where it was purchased by an important European titled family purchased by Harry Winston in 1959.
Winston mounted it in a ring and sold it to Marjorie Merriweather Post, who donated it to the Smithsonian Institution. The Briolette of India, a 90.38 carats, briolette cut. The Cornflower Blue, 31.93 carats pear brilliant. The larger stone was sold in 1969 as the pendant for a diamond necklace. Winston repurchased it two years then sold it to a Middle Eastern client; the round brilliant was set as a ring and sold in 1969. In 1987 the pear brilliant was auctioned in Switzerland; the Countess Széchényi, a 62.05 carats, D color, pear-shaped brilliant. Purchased by Winston in 1959 from namesake and recut to a flawless 59.38 carats. Sold to an American industrialist in 1966; the Crown of Charlemagne, a 37.05 carats, sky blue, Old European cut brilliant. The Deal Sweetener, a 45.31 carats diamond plus four smaller stones, D color and Flawless, emerald cut. In 1974 Winston bought a large parcel of diamonds worth $24,500,000—at that time the largest individual sale of diamonds in history. Harry Oppenheimer, head of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. arranged the transaction.
When Winston asked Oppenheimer, "How about a little something to sweeten the deal?" Harry Oppenheimer pulled a 181 carats rough diamond out of his pocket and rolled it across the table. Winston picked up the stone and said "Thanks." It was cut into the largest being named the Deal Sweetener. Other gems cut from the crystal: An emerald cut of 24.67 carats, plus three pear shapes of 10.80, 4.19 and 1.45 carats, respectively. All were sold that same year; the Deepdene, a 104.52 carats, antique cushion brilliant. Purchased by Winston in 1954 from Cary W. Bok sold the following year to Mrs. Eleanor Loder of Canada. Resurfaced in 1971 and put up for auction at Christie's in
The Premier Mine is an underground diamond mine owned by Petra Diamonds in the town of Cullinan, 40 kilometres east of Pretoria, Gauteng Province, South Africa. Established in 1902, it was renamed the Cullinan Diamond Mine in November 2003 in celebration of its centenary; the mine rose to prominence in 1905, when the Cullinan Diamond – the largest rough diamond of gem quality found – was discovered there. The mine has produced over 750 stones that are greater than 100 carats and more than a quarter of all the world's diamonds that are greater than 400 carats, it is the only significant source of blue diamonds in the world. The Cullinan Diamond is the largest rough gem-quality diamond found, at 3,106.75 carats. It was found by Frederick Wells, surface manager of the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, South Africa, on 25 January 1905; the stone was named after the owner of the diamond mine. There have been various other notable diamonds; these include: The Premier Rose – 353 carats rough The Niarchos – 426 carats rough The De Beers Centenary – 275 carats rough Golden Jubilee Diamond – 755 carats rough Taylor-Burton Diamond – 69 carats polishedThe Cullinan Heritage—507 carats rough—was recovered from the same mine.
In February 2010, it was sold for USD 35.3 million. Until now, this is the highest price on record for a rough diamond. In May 2008, a sparkling shield-shaped 101.27-carat diamond mined from the Premier Mine sold for more than US$6.2 million at Christie's in Hong Kong. Cut from a 460 carats rough, the shield-shaped gem boasts 92 brilliant facets. While internally flawless, the stone has a slight imperfection on the surface, imperceptible to the human eye, the auction house said, it is the largest colourless diamond to appear on the auction market in the last 18 years, Christie's said. Only three diamonds of more than 100 carats have appeared at auction. All were sold in Geneva. Naming rights were granted to the new owner. In September 2009, a 507-carat diamond was found, is ranked as one of the 20 biggest high quality diamonds discovered. Petra Diamonds sold it for $35.3 million on 26 February 2010, breaking a record as the highest price paid for a rough diamond. On 18 April 2013 a 25.5-carat blue rough diamond was recovered by Petra Diamonds at its Cullinan mine.
According to experts it could be worth more than $10m. The find; the mine is famed for its production of blue diamonds. A similar 26.6-carat blue rough diamond recovered by Petra in May 2009 was cut into a near perfect stone and fetched just under $10m at Sotheby's. Another deep-blue diamond from Cullinan was auctioned for $10.8m last year and set a world record for the value per carat. On 21 January 2014, Petra Diamonds announced recovery of a 29.6-carat blue diamond. According to the current CEO, Johan Dippenaar, it is one the "most significant blue diamond" to be recovered by Petra Diamonds. According to Analyst Cailey Barker at broker Numis it "could fetch between $15m and $20m at auction". Decision on what is to be done with the stone will come next week. On 13 June 2014, Petra Diamonds announced that a blue diamond of 122.52 carats was found at the Cullinan mine. The diamond, though not yet appraised, is expected to fetch more than 35 million dollars, the approximate value of the Heritage Diamond found in that mine.
Petra Diamonds says that the diamond will not be put up for auction before their fiscal year ends this month. Cullinan Diamond Mine is a carrot has a surface area of 32 hectares. On 22 November 2007, De Beers, the world's largest diamond producer, sold its historic Cullinan mine to Petra Diamonds Cullinan Consortium, a consortium led by Petra Diamonds. Diamond Mines of South Africa, Premier Diamond mine overview + images by A. R. Williams former general manager of De Beers. De Beers sells South African Cullinan Diamond Mine Official website
Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At room temperature and pressure, another solid form of carbon known as graphite is the chemically stable form, but diamond never converts to it. Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any natural material, properties that are utilized in major industrial applications such as cutting and polishing tools, they are the reason that diamond anvil cells can subject materials to pressures found deep in the Earth. Because the arrangement of atoms in diamond is rigid, few types of impurity can contaminate it. Small numbers of defects or impurities color diamond blue, brown, purple, orange or red. Diamond has high optical dispersion. Most natural diamonds have ages between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years. Most were formed at depths between 150 and 250 kilometers in the Earth's mantle, although a few have come from as deep as 800 kilometers. Under high pressure and temperature, carbon-containing fluids dissolved minerals and replaced them with diamonds.
Much more they were carried to the surface in volcanic eruptions and deposited in igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Synthetic diamonds can be grown from high-purity carbon under high pressures and temperatures or from hydrocarbon gas by chemical vapor deposition. Imitation diamonds can be made out of materials such as cubic zirconia and silicon carbide. Natural and imitation diamonds are most distinguished using optical techniques or thermal conductivity measurements. Diamond is a solid form of pure carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal. Solid carbon comes in different forms known as allotropes depending on the type of chemical bond; the two most common allotropes of pure carbon are graphite. In graphite the bonds are sp2 orbital hybrids and the atoms form in planes with each bound to three nearest neighbors 120 degrees apart. In diamond they are sp3 and the atoms form tetrahedra with each bound to four nearest neighbors. Tetrahedra are rigid, the bonds are strong, of all known substances diamond has the greatest number of atoms per unit volume, why it is both the hardest and the least compressible.
It has a high density, ranging from 3150 to 3530 kilograms per cubic metre in natural diamonds and 3520 kg/m³ in pure diamond. In graphite, the bonds between nearest neighbors are stronger but the bonds between planes are weak, so the planes can slip past each other. Thus, graphite is much softer than diamond. However, the stronger bonds make graphite less flammable. Diamonds have been adapted for many uses because of the material's exceptional physical characteristics. Most notable are its extreme hardness and thermal conductivity, as well as wide bandgap and high optical dispersion. Diamond's ignition point is 720 -- 800 °C in 850 -- 1000 °C in air; the equilibrium pressure and temperature conditions for a transition between graphite and diamond is well established theoretically and experimentally. The pressure changes linearly between 1.7 GPa at 0 K and 12 GPa at 5000 K. However, the phases have a wide region about this line where they can coexist. At normal temperature and pressure, 20 °C and 1 standard atmosphere, the stable phase of carbon is graphite, but diamond is metastable and its rate of conversion to graphite is negligible.
However, at temperatures above about 4500 K, diamond converts to graphite. Rapid conversion of graphite to diamond requires pressures well above the equilibrium line: at 2000 K, a pressure of 35 GPa is needed. Above the triple point, the melting point of diamond increases with increasing pressure. At high pressures and germanium have a BC8 body-centered cubic crystal structure, a similar structure is predicted for carbon at high pressures. At 0 K, the transition is predicted to occur at 1100 GPa; the most common crystal structure of diamond is called diamond cubic. It is formed of unit cells stacked together. Although there are 18 atoms in the figure, each corner atom is shared by eight unit cells and each atom in the center of a face is shared by two, so there are a total of eight atoms per unit cell; each side of the unit cell is 3.57 angstroms in length. A diamond cubic lattice can be thought of as two interpenetrating face-centered cubic lattices with one displaced by 1/4 of the diagonal along a cubic cell, or as one lattice with two atoms associated with each lattice point.
Looked at from a <1 1 1> crystallographic direction, it is formed of layers stacked in a repeating ABCABC... pattern. Diamonds can form an ABAB... structure, known as hexagonal diamond or lonsdaleite, but this is far less common and is formed under different conditions from cubic carbon. Diamonds occur most as euhedral or rounded octahedra and twinned octahedra known as macles; as diamond's crystal structure has a cubic arrangement of the atoms, they have many facets that belong to a cube, rhombicosidodecahedron, tetrakis hexahedron or disdyakis dodecahedron. The crystals can be elongated. Diamonds are found coated in nyf, an opaque gum-like skin; some diamonds have opaque fibers. They are referred to as opaque if the fibers
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels is a French luxury jewelry and perfume company. It was founded in 1896 by his uncle Salomon Arpels in Paris, their pieces feature flowers and fairies, have been worn by style icons such as Farah Pahlavi, the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Eva Perón. Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law, Salomon Arpels, founded the company in 1896. In 1906, following Arpels’s death and two of his brothers-in-law and Julien, acquired space for Van Cleef & Arpels at 22 Place Vendôme, across from the Hôtel Ritz, where Van Cleef & Arpels opened its first boutique shop; the third Arpels brother, soon joined the company. Van Cleef & Arpels opened boutiques in holiday resorts such as Deauville, Vichy, Le Touquet and Monte-Carlo. In 1925, a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet with red and white roses fashioned from rubies and diamonds won the grand prize at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts. Alfred and Esther’s daughter, Renée Puissant, assumed the company’s artistic direction in 1926.
Puissant worked with draftsman René Sim Lacaze for the next twenty years. Van Cleef & Arpels were the first French jewelers to open boutiques in China. Compagnie Financière Richemont S. A. acquired the firm in 1999. In 1966, Van Cleef & Arpels was charged with the task of making the crown of Empress Farah Pahlavi for her upcoming coronation in 1967. A team was sent to Iran to choose the major gems to use for the crown. After 11 months of work, the company presented the empress with a crown made of emerald velvet set with 36 emeralds, 36 rubies, 105 pearls and 1,469 diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels has stores in the Middle East and South East Asia, with its products offered in standalone boutiques, boutiques within major department stores, in independent stores. Standalone boutiques are located in Geneva, Munich, Milan and Paris, where the company has multiple locations, including its flagship store at Place Vendôme. In the United States, the company operates standalone boutiques in New York City, Beverly Hills, Chicago and Las Vegas.
It maintains stores in Naples, Palm Beach, as well as a location in Aspen. The Chicago boutique opened in 2001 at 636 North Michigan Avenue and moved to a larger location within the Drake Hotel in November 2011 while the New York City flagship store was redesigned in 2013; the brand expanded to Australia in 2016, opening a boutique at Melbourne. The following year, another boutique opened at Sydney. A second Melbourne boutique is set to open in Chadstone Shopping Centre in 2018 New boutique is now open in Vancouver, Canada On 2 December 1933, Van Cleef and Arpels received French Patent No. 764,966 for a proprietary gem setting style it calls Serti Mysterieux, or "Mystery Setting", a technique employing a setting where the prongs are invisible. Each stone is faceted than two-tenths of a millimeter thick; the technique can require 300 hours of work per piece or more, only a few are produced each year. Chaumet received an English patent for a similar technique in 1904 as did Cartier in 1933, however neither used the process as extensively.
In 2010/2011, the company's estimated sales were €450 million in total sales and €45 million in watches. A 1936 Van Cleef & Arpels custom jewelry piece with a "Mystery Setting" sold for $326,500 during an auction at Christie's New York in 2009. Sylvie Raulet. Van Cleef & Arpels. Universe/Vendome. ISBN 9780789302014. Vincent Meylan. Van Cleef & Arpels: Treasures and Legends. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 9781851497706. Éditions Xavier Barral. Van Cleef and Arpels: the Art and Science of Gems. Éditions Xavier Barral. ISBN 9782365110983. Éditions Xavier Barral. Alhambra - Van Cleef. Éditions Xavier Barral. ISBN 9782365111911. Official Website Poetry For The Wrist: The Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs
Christie's is a British auction house. It was founded in 1766 by James Christie, its main premises are on King Street, St James's, in London and in the Rockefeller Center in New York City. The company is owned by the holding company of François-Henri Pinault. Sales in 2015 totalled £4.8 billion. In 2017 the Salvator Mundi was sold for $450.3 million at Christie's, which at that time was the highest price paid for a single painting at an auction. The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766. However, other sources note that James Christie rented auction rooms from 1762, newspaper advertisements for Christie's sales dating from 1759 have been traced. Christie's was a public company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, from 1973 to 1999. In 1974, Jo Floyd was appointed chairman of Christie's, he served as chairman of Christie's International plc from 1976 to 1988, until handing over to Lord Carrington, was a non-executive director until 1992.
Christie's International Inc. held its first sale in the United States in 1977. Christie's growth was steady since 1989, when it had 42 % of the auction market. In 1990, the company reversed a long-standing policy and guaranteed a minimum price for a collection of artworks in its May auctions. In 1996, sales exceeded those of Sotheby's for the first time since 1954. However, profits did not grow at the same pace. In 1993, Christie's paid $12.7 million for the London gallery Spink & Son, which specialised in Oriental art and British paintings. The company bought Leger Gallery for $3.3 million in 1996, merged it with Spink to become Spink-Leger. Spink-Leger closed in 2002. To make itself competitive with Sotheby's in the property market, Christie's bought Great Estates in 1995 the largest network of independent estate agents in North America, changing its name to Christie's Great Estates Inc. In December 1997, under the chairmanship of Lord Hindlip, Christie's put itself on the auction block, but after two months of negotiations with the consortium-led investment firm SBC Warburg Dillon Read it did not attract a bid high enough to accept.
In May 1998, François Pinault's holding company, Groupe Artémis S. A. first bought 29.1 percent of the company for $243.2 million, subsequently purchased the rest of it in a deal that valued the entire company at $1.2 billion. The company has since not been reporting profits, its policy, in line with UK accounting standards, is to convert non-UK results using an average exchange rate weighted daily by sales throughout the year. In 2002, Christie's France held its first auction in Paris. Like Sotheby's, Christie's became involved in high-profile private transactions. In 2006, Christie's offered a reported $21 million guarantee to the Donald Judd Foundation and displayed the artist's works for five weeks in an exhibition that won an AICA award for "Best Installation in an Alternative Space". In 2007 it brokered a $68 million deal that transferred Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic from the Jefferson Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to joint ownership by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In the same year, the Haunch of Venison gallery became a subsidiary of the company. On 28 December 2008, The Sunday Times reported that Pinault's debts left him "considering" the sale of Christie's and that a number of "private equity groups" were thought to be interested in its acquisition. In January 2009, the company employed 2,100 people worldwide, though an unspecified number of staff and consultants were soon to be cut due to a worldwide downturn in the art market. With sales for premier Impressionist and contemporary artworks tallying only US$248.8 million in comparison to US$739 million just a year before, a second round of job cuts began after May 2009. Guy Bennett resigned just before to the beginning of the summer 2009 sales season. Although the economic downturn has encouraged some collectors to sell art, others are unwilling to sell in a market which may yield only bargain prices. On 1 January 2017, Guillaume Cerutti was appointed chief executive officer. Patricia Barbizet was appointed chief executive officer of Christie's in 2014, the first female CEO of the company.
She replaced Steven Murphy, hired in 2010 to develop their online presence and launch in new markets, such as China. In 2012, Impressionist works, which dominated the market during the 1980s boom, were replaced by contemporary art as Christie's top category. Asian art was the third most-lucrative area. With income from classic auctioneering falling, treaty sales made £413.4 million in the first half of 2012, an increase of 53% on the same period last year. The company has promoted curated events, centred on a theme rather than an art classification or time period; as part of a companywide review in 2017, Christie's announced the layoffs of 250 employees, or 12 percent of the total work force, based in Britain and Europe. From 2008 until 2013, Christie's charged 25 percent for the first $50,000. From 2013, it charged 25 percent for the first $75,000. Christie's main London salesroom is on
Gemology or gemmology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials. It is considered a branch of mineralogy; some jewelers are academically trained are qualified to identify and evaluate gems. Rudimentary education in gemology for jewelers and gemologists began in the nineteenth century, but the first qualifications were instigated after the National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain set up a Gemmological Committee for this purpose in 1908; this committee matured into the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, now an educational charity and accredited awarding body with its courses taught worldwide. The first US graduate of Gem-A's Diploma Course, in 1929, was Robert Shipley, who established both the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society. There are now several professional schools and associations of gemologists and certification programs around the world; the first gemological laboratory serving the jewelry trade was established in London in 1925, prompted by the influx of the newly developed "cultured pearl" and advances in the synthesis of rubies and sapphires.
There are now numerous gem laboratories around the world requiring more advanced equipment and experience to identify the new challenges - such as treatments to gems, new synthetics, other new materials. It is difficult to obtain an expert judgement from a neutral laboratory. Analysis and estimation in the gemstone trade have to take place on site. Professional gemologists and gemstone buyers use mobile laboratories, which pool all necessary instruments in a travel case; such so-called travel labs have their own current supply, which makes them independent from infrastructure. They are suitable for gemological expeditions. Gemstones are categorized based on their crystal structure, specific gravity, refractive index, other optical properties, such as pleochroism; the physical property of "hardness" is defined by the non-linear Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Gemologists study these factors while appraising cut and polished gemstones. Gemological microscopic study of the internal structure is used to determine whether a gem is synthetic or natural by revealing natural fluid inclusions or melted exogenous crystals that are evidence of heat treatment to enhance color.
The spectroscopic analysis of cut gemstones allows a gemologist to understand the atomic structure and identify its origin, a major factor in valuing a gemstone. For example, a ruby from Burma will have definite internal and optical activity variance from a Thai ruby; when the gemstones are in a rough state, the gemologist studies the external structure. The stone is identified by its color, refractive index, optical character, specific gravity, examination of internal characteristics under magnification. Gemologists use a variety of tools and equipment which allow for the accurate tests to be performed in order to identify a gemstone by its specific characteristics and properties; these include: Corrected 10× loupe Microscope Refractometer Polarising filter Magnifying eyepiece Contact liquid for RI up to 1.81 Polariscope Optic figure sphere Dichroscope Spectroscope Penlight Tweezers Stone cloth Color filter Immersion cell Ultraviolet lamp Gem identification is a process of elimination. Gemstones of similar color undergo non-destructive optical testing until there is only one possible identity.
Any single test is indicative, only. For example, the specific gravity of ruby is 4.00, glass is 3.15–4.20, cubic zirconia is 5.6–5.9. So one can tell the difference between cubic zirconia and the other two. And, as with all occurring materials, no two gems are identical; the geological environment they are created in influences the overall process so that although the basics can be identified, the presence of chemical "impurities" and substitutions along with structural imperfections create "individuals". One test to determine the gem's identity is to measure the refraction of light in the gem; every material has a critical angle. This can be measured and thus used to determine the gem's identity; this is measured using a refractometer, although it is possible to measure it using a microscope. Specific gravity known as relative density, varies depending upon the chemical composition and crystal structure type. Heavy liquids with a known specific gravity are used to test loose gemstones. Specific gravity is measured by comparing the weight of the gem in air with the weight of the gem suspended in water.
This method uses a similar principle to how a prism works to separate white light into its component colors. A gemological spectroscope is employed to analyze the selective absorption of light in the gem material; when light passes from one medium to another, it bends. Blue light bends more than red light. How much the light bends will vary depending on the gem material. Coloring agents or chromophores show bands in the spectroscope and indicate which element is responsible for the gem's color. Inclusions can help gemologists to determine whether or not a gemstone is natural, synthetic or treated. Institutes and laboratories American Gem Society - AGS Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences - AIGS Canadian Gemmological Association - CGA Canadian Institute of Gemmology - CIG European Gemological Laboratory - EGL Gemmological Association of Australia - GAA Gemmological Association of Great Britain - Gem-A Gemological Institute of America - GIA Gübelin
Laurence Graff is an English jeweller. He is best known as the founder of supplier of jewellery and jewels. Graff was born in Stepney in 1938 into a Jewish family, the son of a Romanian mother, Rebecca Segal, a Russian father, Harry Graff, his father made suits off the Commercial Road while his mother newsagents. His brother Raymond was born in 1947. Graff left school and became an apprentice when he was 15, he soon went into partnership with Schindler, a jeweller, repairing rings and creating small pieces of jewellery in a small shop. That shop went out of business and so Graff began selling his jewellery designs independently to jewellers all over England. By 1962, he had two jewellery shops, including his first in Hatton Garden, the centre of London's jewellery trade since medieval times. In 1960, he founded the Graff Diamonds company. In 1966 he commissioned the English jewellery-designer Robert Thomas to design a diamond jewel to enter into the De Beers Diamond International Awards competition.
The ribbon bracelet created won the competition. By 1974, he had begun specialising in selling to newly rich buyers from the Middle East. In particular, he supplied many jewels for Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei, who became a lifelong client and friend. One day, Prince Turki II bin Abdulaziz Al Saud walked into the shop and bought everything including a 14 carat diamond. Graff has expanded his company, with over 35 shops in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the US. Graff was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to the jewellery industry. In 2008, Graff purchased the Wittelsbach Diamond for £16.4 million, a considerable premium over the £9 million guide price. Two years Graff revealed he had had three diamond cutters repolish the stone to eliminate the chips and improve the clarity, reducing the diamond from 35.52 carats to 31 carats. This action has been compared by critics to making the Mona Lisa prettier. However, according to gemologist Richard W. Wise, "At a cost of only 4.45 carats the recut and renamed Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond has been raised from a GIA grade of Fancy Deep Grayish Blue to a Fancy Deep Blue.
Its clarity grade has been elevated from VS2 to Internally Flawless. This is a substantial upgrade." Further, the "Graff recut retained the original double stellate brilliant facet pattern thus retaining the overall look of the original stone." In 1962, he married Anne-Marie Graff, French. They have three children: Francois and Stephane, they reside in Switzerland. Graff