The Swiss brand de GRISOGONO was involved in the investigation of a financial crime, which resulted in the lack of funds for further existence. The jewelry brand has filed for bankruptcy, but no buyer has yet been found.
The bankruptcy of de GRISOGONO is linked to the family of the former president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos. Some media also write about the corruption scandal with his daughter Isabelle. In 2012, the husband of dos Santos Sindika Dokolo signed a unilateral agreement with the Angolan state company Sodiam, which controls the import and export of diamonds. The parties were to become partners in a deal to acquire a stake in the Swiss luxury jewelry brand de GRISOGONO.
deGRISOGONO’s benefit from this manipulation was to attract investment and ensure a continuous flow of gems from Angolan mines to its own jewelry production and then to sale through the brand’s boutiques around the world.
Dos Santos told the BBC she could not comment on the situation as she was not a shareholder in deGRISOGONO. But documents leaked to the press show that dos Santos’ own financial advisers are calling deGRISOGONO a shareholder. An Angolan court separately froze her local assets and those of her husband because prosecutors alleged they were involved in illegal deals with state-owned companies that cost the state $1.14 billion.
I do not want to think that this is the end of an era of luxury and splendor. While it is not completely clear how this incident will end, let’s remember how everything started brilliantly.
The history of the de GRISOGONO brand is, first of all, the history of its creator.
The company was founded in 1993 by Fawaz Gruosi, a talented and courageous jewelry designer and successful businessman. After dropping out of high school, Gruosi left home at the age of 17. The marriage contributed to his search for additional income, forcing him to enter the jewelry trade in Florence, where, in the direction of fate, he began his jewelry career.
Gruosi’s career took him to London, where he met renowned jeweler Harry Winston and was appointed general manager of the brand’s presence in Saudi Arabia at the age of 21.
Three and a half years, spent at lunch and dinner with the world’s richest people and oil magnates, allowed me to thoroughly study this category of clients. For himself, Gruosi realized that such a glamorous lifestyle in the long run would lead to a loss of sense of reality, so he did what most mortal people in his position could not do, he resigned.
Nevertheless, it was this risky career move that turned out to be the most promising. Just a month after he left Horry Winston, he was invited to work for Bulgari, which at the time was under the auspices of President and CEO Gianni Bulgari, the most creative of his era. However, internal infighting within the Bulgari company disappointed Gruosi and he resigned in 1993.
As a result of gaining rich experience and a successful career at Harry Winston and Bulgory, Fawaz Gruosi decided to start his own business. He invested $60,000 to launch his own brand in Geneva, partnering with two other partners.
There are two versions of the origin of the company name DeGRISOGONO.
The first version is that one of Fawaz’s partners, who took part in the creation of the business and had an old aristocratic Florentine surname, which was used in the name, helped with the choice of the name for the new company.
The second version of the origin of the name the Italian Grisogono comes from the Latin Chrysogonus, which, in turn, comes from the Greek Chrysogonos hryob-vouod, which means “born of gold.”
Gruosi’s lively character, love of fine things, commitment to aesthetics and a restless spirit of adventure formed much of the brand’s early success. Fawaz Gruosi became a jewelry genius thanks to desperate experiments, which always miraculously ended in complete success with the public… Creative and tireless, he was the first in the watch and jewelry world to offer women’s watches with shagreen bracelets…
DeGRISOGONO is known for its luxurious collections of exclusive jewelry.
Fovoz Gruosi personally selected the best stones and constantly promoted his brand, whether it was parties in Cannes or advertising with world celebrities.
It was he who brought black diamonds into fashion, which before him were considered second-rate goods, this was in 1997. Since then, several thousand pieces of jewelry have been created with these stones, which today can be seen on the red carpets of Cannes and Hollywood.
According to the jeweler, cutting a pure water diamond takes one hour, and a black diamond takes five times longer. But the works of Fawaz Gruosi were crowned with success. For several years of his work, the cost of a carat of black diamond has increased by 20 times, and journalists and art historians have invariably called the head of deGRISOGONO “the king of black diamonds.”
Actresses and models fell in love with black diamond jewelry: Aishwarya Rai, Elisabetta Briatore, Olga Kurylenko, Naomi Campbell, Demi Moore, Letizia Casta. Among the most famous de GRISOGONO jewelry, the main place is occupied by the ring with the world’s largest black diamond The Spirit of deGRISOGONO 312 carats.
The deGRISOGONO brand is famous for making exclusive jewelry and watches.
Watches of this brand are of excellent Swiss quality, have a unique and inimitable design.
Jewelery by deGRISOGONO is recognizable by its intricate shape, abundance of sparkling stones, and excellent quality.
Such works of high jewelry art are designed for a narrow circle of very wealthy buyers. Fawaz Gruosi was a pioneer in the design and processing of stones. His ideas were copied by brands operating in the mass market segment. As a result, most of the new ideas, styles, methods of processing materials reached the mass consumer.
Under Fawaz Gruosi, de GRISOGONO was known for two things black diamonds and lavish parties.
The most famous case is the enchanting party at the Cannes Film Festival, which was reputedly worth 3 million Swiss francs. With an annual turnover of about 100 million Swiss francs at its peak, the brand began to decline after the financial crisis of 2008, which changed luxury spending forever and was accelerated by Gruosi’s high cost of living and his costly parties.
It was at a moment when the company was facing cash flow problems that Angolan investors linked to Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of the former president of Angola and Africa’s richest woman, now facing charges of financial crimes in Angola, acquired a large stake in deGRISOGONO. leaving Gruosi with a small 25% stake in the business.
In 2017, the company set a new record for the sale of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels in Geneva when it sold the world’s largest 163. 41 carat D emerald diamond, which was used in the brand’s large creation “Creation One” for auction. It fetched 33.5 million Swiss francs, beating the previous record for a flawless D diamond by nearly 5 million Swiss francs.
By January 2019, Gruosi stepped down from the leadership of the company and from the position of director of the board of directors. Leaving the business, he left the leadership of the brand to newly appointed CEO Céline Assimon, formerly a director at Piaget and before that head of worldwide sales for jewelry and watchmaking at Louis Vuitton.
Despite the current circumstances of deGRISOGONO, we must pay tribute to its founder, whose main superpower (in our humble opinion) was in a thorough knowledge of his clients, understanding their desires and his ability to fulfill them. I hope that our story about Fawaz Gruosi will inspire you to something equally magnificent.