de GRISOGONO was founded in 1993, by Fawaz Gruosi and two partners. Previously, Gruosi, who had grown up in Florence, had worked his way to the very top echelons of the fine jewellery world, but now decided to branch out on his own, to follow his own ideas, his personal vision for a new generation of precious jewellery. He loved and understood the jewellery world, so rich in tradition, yet bound by conventions, so often out of step with a fast-changing world.
From the start, Gruosi explains, he took huge risks, embarking on a capital-intensive business on a shoe-string. What he did have, however, was a single-minded, driven passion for jewels and gemstones, an affinity with design, and a total dedication to perfection and innovation.
He saw the potential of jewellery to be an exciting, relevant part of women’s lives. He saw too the creative possibilities of the gemstones that so captivated him, even, or especially those that had been neglected, or disregarded through rigid rules and classifications.
The first challenge for the new business was to find a name. He and his partners, he explains, were searching for the right name in Italian. ”Then one of my partners mentioned his mother had originally been the Marquise de GRISOGONO. It sounded powerful, mysterious and aristocratic, perfect for the luxury and exclusivity we were planning. Our first commission was a pair of earrings created for the Begun Salimah Aga Khan. The pearls and diamonds perfectly suited her face, and our name.”
This first creation was also the perfect introduction to the world of international celebrity, of glamour that was to shape the identity and help fuel the success of the young jewellery house. The tone was set when the first de GRISOGONO boutique was opened, in Geneva in 1993, alongside Sophia Loren.
The business had been established in Geneva, and the first boutique was located in the city’s world-famous jewellery street, rue du Rhone. Geneva was the ideal base, with its long heritage of jewellery making and unrivalled crafts skills, dating back to the Renaissance. De GRISOGONO was to take full advantage of the highly skilled artisans of Geneva to create jewels of breath-taking finesse and superlative craftsmanship, using rare and extraordinary gemstones that found their way to this international jewellery hub.
Fawaz Gruosi looks back on the early days: “It was simply
another way to do things, and the success of de GRISOGONO is a miracle, in every sense. I was lucky, crazy, I worked like a madman, and still do. I simply try 100% to make my jewellery the best it can possibly be.”