At the age of 15, Laurence Graff begins his lifetime in diamonds as an apprentice at Schindler’s jewellery workshop in London’s Hatton Garden, while studying at the Central School of Arts and Crafts.
Graff Diamonds Ltd is established.
The first two Graff Diamonds retail stores open in London, in an industry that is traditionally wholesale and workshop-based.
Sensing the opportunities abroad, Laurence Graff decides to travel with his creations, first setting up a jewellery concession in Robinson’s Department Store in Singapore, and expanding into trade fairs and exhibitions around the world.
Laurence Graff creates the $1 million ‘Hair & Jewel’ coiffure – an ornate design of diamonds and gems, which was inspired by the royal hair fashions of 18th century Versailles.
Graff Diamonds becomes the first jeweller to be presented with the Queen’s Award for International Trade, the highest accolade for a British company and an award Graff would win again in 1977, 1994, 2006 and 2014.
Laurence Graff acquires the Star of Bombay – a 47.39ct diamond, the first of a great many famous diamonds that would pass through the House of Graff.
Graff Diamonds opens its first flagship store in Knightsbridge, London.
The Idol’s Eye diamond is acquired. It is the largest known natural blue diamond in the world, weighing 70.
The 41.94ct Emperor Maximilian diamond is purchased at Christie’s in New York and Graff runs a groundbreaking advertising campaign inspired by the acquisition.
Three famous diamonds, the Emperor Maximilian, the Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the Idol’s Eye are all sold to one buyer, making it the largest diamond sale known in history.
The Imperial Blue is acquired. A pear shape 39.31ct diamond, it is the world’s largest Flawless Fancy Deep Blue diamond.
Graff acquires Wallis Simpson’s 19.77ct emerald engagement ring and the Windsor Yellows – two superb canary yellow diamonds set as earrings – at Sotheby’s in Geneva.
The Paragon – at 137.82cts, the world’s largest D colour Flawless diamond – is unveiled at a special Graff exhibition at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Graff’s new Flagship store opens on New Bond Street, London, famed for its exclusive retailers of luxury goods; Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent officiates the opening.
Laurence Graff acquires a controlling stake in the DTC sightholder South African Diamond Corporation (SAFDICO).
Graff unveils The Sarah. Weighing 132.43cts and cut from a 218.50ct rough diamond, it is the largest Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond in the world.
Graff’s iconic green advertising campaign launches.
Graff opens its first store outside the UK at the Hotel de Paris on Place du Casino in Monte Carlo. The Icon, then the world’s largest D colour Flawless brilliant cut diamond weighing 90.97cts, is unveiled at the opening.
Graff opens its first flagship store in the US on Madison Avenue in New York. To celebrate the occasion, the 100.57ct Star of America diamond is unveiled.
Graff acquires the Empress Rose. At 70.39cts, it is the largest Internally Flawless Fancy Light Pink diamond in the world.
Graff opens a second London store on Sloane Street, in the centre of fashionable Knightsbridge.
Graff’s first store in Russia opens in Moscow. Today there are three Graff stores in the city.
Graff opens a new London headquarters and workshop on Albemarle Street, to accommodate the continuing expansion of the company.
Graff’s expansion into the US sees stores open in Palm Beach, Bal Harbour, Chicago and Las Vegas. A concession in the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York opens, with further stores opening in Saks locations across the country.
Graff opens a new store in Chicago, located on East Oak Street.
Opening of the Graff store at The Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas
The Lesotho Promise necklace is unveiled, consisting of an incredible 26 D colour Flawless diamonds totalling 223.35cts, cut from the 15th largest diamond ever discovered, weighing 603cts in the rough.
Graff opens a new US corporate headquarters in a 12,000 sq ft townhouse on 46 East 61st Street in New York.
Graff opens a new store in Bal Harbour.
Store opens at the Luxury Village, Moscow.
Graff acquires the Letseng Legacy – at 493cts, the 18th largest diamond ever discovered. After a year of highly skilled cutting and polishing, the stone yields 20 diamonds totalling 231.67cts.
Graff opens its first store in Asia, at the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo.
Graff opens its first store in Hong Kong at the Peninsula Hotel.
SAFDICO opens its new generation cutting and polishing facility in Gaborone, Botswana.
The Graff Luxury Watch division launches with five collections: Technical, Sport, Dress, Jewelled and Bespoke.
Laurence Graff establishes the FACET Foundation – a charity dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of disadvantaged children in Africa.
Graff acquires The Magnificence. At 243.96cts it is the largest emerald cut D colour Flawless diamond in the world.
Graff opens its first store in Geneva, Switzerland, on prestigious Rue du Rhone. Further Swiss stores open at the Grand Hotel Park in Gstaad in 2011, the Alpina Gstaad Hotel in 2012 and on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich in 2014.
Graffiti, Graff’s client magazine, is launched. It is distributed globally, in English and Chinese versions, to Graff’s VIP clients.
The newly repolished Wittelsbach-Graff diamond is unveiled, the largest Natural Fancy Deep Blue Internally Flawless diamond in the world, weighing 31.06cts.
Graff opens in the Dubai Mall
The Diamond Technology Park opens in Botswana. A SAFDICO-run venture, it is designed to provide a supply chain hub and international trading platform for the diamond industry.
The opening of Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa’s most desirable wine, hospitality and art destination located in Stellenbosch, the heart of the Winelands.
Graff opens in Tsum, Moscow
The first store in Mainland China opens at the Peninsula Hotel Shanghai. The following year, Graff establishes its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong and continues its expansion into the Greater Chinese region with stores opening in Beijing and Taipei.
This is a year of record-breaking diamonds, which includes the Graff Constellation, 102.79cts, the largest round brilliant cut, D colour Internally Flawless diamond in the world; the Delaire Sunrise, 118.
Graff opens a new store in Kiev, located on Gorodetskgo Street.
Graff opens its first seasonal store in Courchevel, France, capturing the attention of the winter season shoppers.
Delaire Graff Estate hosts the second FACET charity art auction, raising an impressive R1.4million from donated works of South African art; this follows the first FACET auction hosted at Christie’s in London which raised $1.2 million in 2009.
Two perfectly matched D Flawless heart shape diamonds exceeding 50cts each, cut from two rough diamonds sourced from the famous Letseng Mine, are unveiled as the Graff Sweethearts.
Graff opens in the Formosa Regent, Taipei.
Graff opens on Post Street, San Francisco.
Graff opens in the Grand Hotel Park, Gstaad.
Graff continues to expand globally, opening its latest store in the Middle East at the opulent Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
2012 sees the opening of Graff’s newly renovated and extended flagship London store on prestigious Bond Street.
Graff opens its second store in Tokyo at the prestigious department store Isetan Shinjuku.
Graff unveils the astonishing 100 million dollar Peacock Brooch, featuring an exceptional collection of coloured diamonds totalling 120.81 carats with a stunning 20.02 carat fancy deep blue pear shape diamond at its centre.
Graff expands further within Asia with the opening of its 11th store, located in the opulent Jolie department store in Shenyang, North East China.
Laurence Graff receives a highly prestigious OBE for services to jewellery, marking a lifetime of dedication and commitment to the industry.
Hair & Jewel is recreated to celebrate Laurence Graff’s 60th anniversary working in the jewellery industry, featuring 22 extremely rare and unique jewels with a total value of half a billion dollars.
Following its acquisition by Laurence Graff, the unveiling of Tretchikoff’s ‘Chinese Girl’ is marked by a special fundraising event at Delaire Graff Estate in support of FACET.
Graff unveils the yield of the Letseng Star; the 550ct diamond recovered from the recordbreaking Letseng Mine in Lesotho.
Graff opens a new flagship store at Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa.
Graff opens a new store at Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi and a newly renovated store at the Dubai Mall, taking its store count to a total of three across the Middle East.
Graff’s expansion within Japan continues, with a new store opening at prestigious Fukuoka Mitsukoshi Department store. The opening marks Graff’s fourth store in Japan.
Graff opens a new store located within the Fine Jewellery Room at Harrods.
For the first time in its history, Graff showcases its new luxury watches and jewellery creations to the 150,000 visitors at the BaselWorld Watch and Jewellery Show.
Graff unveils the $55 million Hallucination estimated to be the most valuable watch ever created; featuring an unprecedented kaleidoscope of over 110cts of extremely rare coloured diamonds.
Graff opens its fourth Swiss store, located upon Zurich’s prestigious Bahnhofstrasse.
Graff opens its 6th store in Japan at Nihombashi Takashimaya, adding to existing locations in Osaka, Tokyo and Fukuoka.
Marking its return to La Biennale des Antiquaires, Graff unveils the Royal Star of Paris brooch, featuring the Graff Sunflower, a 107.46ct Fancy Yellow cushion cut diamond, and the Graff Perfection, a 100.00ct D Flawless pear shape diamond drop.
Graff Diamonds opens a new flagship Hong Kong Central store, located within the St George’s Building.