Making of a Masterpiece No. 1: Diamond Earrings

Words Sam Sherry. Photography Daniel Herendi.

Each of Graff’s masterpieces is crafted in its Mayfair atelier – one of the largest artisanal workshops in Europe, located in London’s most elegant district. From design concept to final polishing, many pieces will not leave the workshop until more than a hundred hours of intricate work has been completed.

Traditional goldsmithing tools are used, together with state-of-the-art equipment, to bring the world’s rarest diamonds to life in unique new creations – among them the pair of pear shape and round diamond earrings (Diamonds 32.98cts), whose fascinating journey from start to spectacular finish is charted on these pages.

A designer hand paints a detailed two-dimensional representation of how a the earrings might look

Artistic Interpretation

Working to the brief and inspiration given by Laurence Graff, the designer creates a detailed two-dimensional representation of his or her vision of how the earrings might look. This hand-painted gouache communicates their beauty, feel and rhythm to the craftsman jeweller who will be tasked with bringing the design to fruition.

A collection of loose diamonds with a jewellers loupe

Perfect Selection

Next, diamonds are meticulously selected to complement the design. The final choice is dependent on the stones’ shape, cut, and size as well as their colour and clarity. It is imperative that each gemstone that is chosen for the earrings enhances every other gemstone that will be placed alongside it in the finished piece.

The craftsman jeweller creates the mount in white gold

Precision in Gold

The craftsman jeweller creates the mount – that is, each diamond’s unique setting – in white gold, according to the precise requirements of the design. The settings are created to securely hold the stones while remaining as discreet as possible, allowing the diamonds to take their rightful place at centre stage.

An artisan working on articulations within the earring setting

Secret Creation

The craftsman begins to bring the piece into life. Articulations are made to allow the diamonds, once set, to demonstrate the maximum play of light and to shimmer when the earrings are worn. The intricate mechanisms are hidden within the mount, so they do not detract from the diamonds’ visual impact.

“Graff’s master craftsmen use the same precise tools that goldsmiths have used for hundreds of years.”

The final polishing on the earring setting using a series of different compounds

Shining Bright

Once every detail of the designer’s brief has been fulfilled, the final polishing begins. Each part of the completed mount is taken through several stages of polishing, using a series of different compounds, until it reaches the same lustre as the diamonds it holds.

The craftsman jeweller creates the mount in white gold

Exacting Placement

Once the mount has been created, it is pre-polished in the polishing workshop. Having been buffed, the earrings are handed over to the diamond setter, so each stone can be carefully adjusted in its collet, or setting, before being artfully secured by white gold claws.

A Fabulous finale the finished 32.98ct Diamond earrings in a presentation case

A Fabulous Finale

Once every detail has been checked, the finished earrings will be released from the workshop, ready to be acquired, worn and enjoyed – an adornment to the wearer and an enduring expression of craftsmanship, quality and grace.

Diamond earrings (32.98cts)

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