The Extravagance and Expertise of De Grisogono

“I think in volumes. I imagine in colors. I design in light.” Such is the philosophy of Fawaz Gruosi, founder and creative director of de Grisogono, the Swiss luxury jeweler renowned for its audacious jewels that uniquely combine exceptional gemstones, superlative craftsmanship and unbridled imagination.

Inspired by his childhood spent in Florence, Italy, that romantic riverside city considered the cradle of the Renaissance, Gruosi devoted his life to creating beautiful objects, acquiring the necessary training to reach the highest echelon of the fine jewelry world. He founded de Grisogono in 1993 with two associates on the Rue du Rhône in Geneva, Switzerland; then took sole ownership of the company in 1995 to follow his own personal vision for a new generation of fine jewelry. The name de Grisogono, by the way, is a nod to Gruosi’s mother, who was the Marquise de Grisogono, a title with such a rich sound of power, mystery and aristocracy that it was perfect for a company with the luxury and exclusivity Gruosi was planning.

Eschewing any pre-defined boundaries in jewelry design, Gruosi set off to make jewelry that was exciting and original, resulting in 22 years of outstanding and extravagant pieces marked by the traditions of haute joaillerie craftsmanship. As such, they have earned their rank among the most prestigious jewels in the contemporary luxury world.

Among Gruosi’s many accomplishments are putting black diamonds at the forefront of the international jewelry scene, incorporating them in his emblem and well as his designs. In fact, in 2002, Gruosi presented an exceptional ring featuring the world’s largest black diamond—the 312.30-carat The Spirit of de Grisogono—which was exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris for the world to admire. He also elevated “icy diamonds” (also known as “milky diamonds”), previously considered unfit for fine jewelry. His signature setting technique, meanwhile, molds precious metals to perfectly fit the shape of each gemstone, revealing and exalting their individual magnificence and making them appear as if they’re magically floating in air. And of course, de Grisogono has become synonymous with the high-spirited glamour of the celebrity world.

Since 2000, de Grisogono has also made a name for itself in the world of watchmaking. Asserting the same level of ingenuity and excellence that made him a world-renowned jewelry designer, Gruosi develops timepieces with a superb blend of form and function. There are those that enthrall with their incredible complications created from proprietary movements, some of which have been awarded for their mechanical breakthroughs at the esteemed Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Others are high-jewelry masterworks that allure with their sumptuous and playful style. All told, they are ingenious and exuberant, elevating the art of measuring time.

In 2015, de Grisogono is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its first watch collection, Instrumento, as well as launching new jewelry collections that highlight some of the iconic aesthetic features that have forged an inimitable and highly recognizable Gruosi style. Here, then, are several of the latest beauties of de Grisogono, masterpieces that align connoisseurship and creativity into timeless works of art.

The first watch collection launched by de Grisogono, Instrumento has been celebrated for Gruosi’s singular take on the tonneau-shaped case, its size, designed to meet the needs of both men and women, and emblematic black diamond on the crown. Fifteen years after its first release, the Instrumento N°Uno watch has been enhanced with several technical and aesthetic improvements. The self-winding mechanical watch houses a Calibre DF 11-89 movement, as well as a new oscillating weight, blackened and decorated with refined, open-worked volutes visible through the sapphire-glass case back. The corrector has been redesigned and integrated within the dual-time module, enabling correction via the crown stem. Offering a more contemporary and assertive look, the strap is now fully and perfectly integrated with the case.

In terms of both colors and contrasts, the Instrumento Carbon Chrono watch fully embodies the de Grisogono style. The deep black of the carbon case, dial and new larger, integrated rubber strap reflects Gruosi’s attraction to the luxurious simplicity and timeless appeal of black. The touches of green, which appear through a cleverly orchestrated chiaroscuro effect, also embody one of Gruosi’s favorite colors and a gemstone he especially cherishes: the emerald. The case and lugs, meanwhile, are cut and shaped from solid blocks of carbon formed from stacks of compressed layers of carbon fiber, which has a very high strength-to-weight ratio. These layers create an original striped pattern visible on the sides of the case and lugs.

Bearing the new codes of the rejuvenated Instrumento N°Uno collection, the Instrumento N°Uno Annual Calendar watch derives its name from its ability to run for an entire year without adjustment, only needing updating at the end of February. The dial architecture has been completely updated to free up as much space as possible so the enlarged day display, month display and small seconds counter are highlighted. This involved removing the numbers 5, 6 and 7, resulting in an asymmetrical effect based on the day display at the 12 o’clock position, month display at the 8 o’clock position and small seconds counter at the 5 o’clock position. The timepiece also heralds the new fully and perfectly integrated strap.

With the Instrumento N°Uno Tourbillon, de Grisogono offers a flying tourbillon fitted with a balance staff inclined at a 30-degree angle. The 30-degree angle is not only aesthetically pleasing, it has also proven to be the optimal inclination to fight the effects of the so-called “plat-pendu phenomenon,” where the rate of a watch varies because it moves in both vertical and horizontal positions. Thus, the Instrumento N°Uno Tourbillon ensures a stable rate in all positions. To present this tourbillon in all of its glory, it was placed in a sapphire coliseum, which is actually raised above the rest of the sapphire crystal, enhancing the wearer’s ability to admire its many fine details. Further reinforcing its unique character, the Instrumento N°Uno Tourbillon has no dial. The hours are marked off on a horseshoe-shaped flying disc directly placed on the mainplate.

Vividly expressed at the heart of de Grisogono’s Grappoli watch collection is the brand’s peerless gem-setting skills. The dials and cases, for instance, are composed of hundreds of harmoniously hued gems painstakingly cut and “snow-set” in gold for that chiaroscuro touch. Snow setting involves boring a series of various-sized wells side-by-side into gold by hand and then filling them with gems so they hide the metal as much as possible and thus showcase the beauty of the stones. Surrounding the case, meanwhile, is an amazing corolla of briolette-cut gems, which are delicately sewed on the case by hand using small gold rings so they can move freely to continually reflect light from their many facets. The exclusive new variations offer a pronounced volume and sensual curves that transform them into generous sculptures. Of particular note is the one featuring dark pink sapphires and pink opals with its soft, radiant charm.

Launched in 2003 and named after Gruosi’s eldest daughter, Allegra is de Grisogono’s first jewelry collection and has since become an icon of the brand. Inspired by the leaping movement of flames, Allegra is composed of a joyful spiral of loosely interlaced and stacked gold bands, many dotted with gemstones, which perfectly embody the bond between a father and daughter. For 2015, the nine-band ring is now available in a seven-band version, a number that’s a particular favorite of Gruosi. The earrings have also been revisited, welcoming a dainty newcomer with a smaller 30 mm diameter. A brightly colored galuchat cuff bracelet with a clasp of seven interlacing gold bands is also new. To complete the collection, seven gold bands entwine as a highly contemporary bangle.

Inspired by glamour and the limelight, the Boule collection, created in 1999, is one of the most iconic expressions of de Grisogono style. At its heart is the graceful and feminine round shape (or ball as its Italian name indicates), highlighted with gemstones and diamonds. In 2015, Gruosi is taking the collection in a new direction by reinterpreting the round shape into its purest and simplest form. This is best showcased in rings that are composed of a full and perfect sphere either in white or rose gold, wrapped with materials such as fossilized mammoth ivory and amber, a newcomer to the de Grisogono arsenal. The natural nuances in these materials give these creations their uniquely fascinating face. In the gem-set version, the balls showcase a new aesthetic using the snow setting in a honeycomb pattern for a bold, rhythmical structure.

Interlacing components are a common denominator among de Grisogono’s most iconic collections, so it’s only natural we would see them again, twirling and turning with sensuality in Vortice, a new jewelry collection for 2015. Centered on volutes composed of spirals or spring-shaped coils, the pieces show a dynamic and captivating continuously flowing movement that seems to wrap itself around the skin, becoming one with the wearer. The result is a delightfully rounded, voluminous design with a remarkably light, ethereal feel. The earrings and ring are also available in an asymmetrical half-setting completely encrusted in gems.


Of the many things de Grisogono excels at in the world of jewelry and watchmaking, perhaps it is most celebrated for its one-of-a-kind high-jewelry pieces that are truly extraordinary objects crafted with consummate expertise. For 2015, de Grisogono’s High Jewellery collection once again encapsulates Gruosi’s distinctive signatures, playing on color, shape, cut, light, texture and movement to create a necklace with unexpected combinations, a voluptuous volume and perfect proportions. At the heart of the necklace are exceptionally sized briolette-cut emeralds with spectacular color and mesmerizing transparency. They are interspersed along three of four rows of pavé-set diamonds and emeralds in subtly graded shades, punctuated with round-shaped rubies and marquise-shaped diamonds. Beneath its outward illusion of apparent simplicity, every detail is mastered to perfection and reflects the passion and intuition of its distinguished creator.
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