The question of what women want has evaded generations of men around the world, but for Fawaz Gruosi, owner and creative force of de GRISOGONO, the answer seems to come naturally! Karishma Karer sits down with the man behind the genius to talk about his vision into the hearts of women everywhere!
For the last 25 years, Fawaz Gruosi has designed exquisite watches and some of the most breathtaking pieces of jewellery that have adorned numerous royals and celebrities and graced countless red-carpets.
Known as the ‘King of Black Diamonds’, Fawaz Gruosi draws inspiration from things he sees around him and is never without a pocket-full of paper to draw on. Unconventional to a fault, and creative beyond imagination, we can’t wait to see how the next chapter of de GRISOGONO’s story unfolds.
First of all congratulations! 25 years of de GRISOGONO. How has the journey been over the last 25 years?
Well, it is exciting I never thought I could make it to 25 years but it happened. I am very happy and now looking forward to the next few hundred years.
How have you seen the journey of de GRISIGONO evolve over the last 25 years?
Well it was always different. It was always very active because every year we would change things. We learned a lot of different things and every year is more exciting than the previous year. 25 years now and I still don’t believe I have reached 25 years because at the very beginning when I started I never thought I could do what I did. I think it was a miracle, I don’t know how it happened…
I’m sure you know how it happened!
No, I promise you! I didn’t have money. I had 60,000CHF with which you can’t even open a small chocolate shop and I didn’t think. When you are younger you just go! And that is what I did. I never spent time thinking. I just went with the intuition I had and of course there were bad and good days, but that is business and it happens to everybody. But I am here today and I cannot believe it.
You are in expert in what women want because you create things for women that are just wow! So, what DO women want?
Women want beauty. They want something that enhances their look. It doesn’t mean the look or the beauty on the face or the body of the woman. I think a real woman is one who has a lot of character which is what makes her beautiful. If she is beautiful, she becomes more beautiful but even if she is not, if she looks just OK, her character makes her beautiful. There are some women, they walk into a room and you say wow! Then you talk to them for 5 minutes and they are not wow any more. But the opposite, when you see a nice normal good looking woman, and she opens her mouth and she becomes much more interesting.
Do you have something special planned for women for the 25-year anniversary of de GRISOGONO?
Honestly, no. I’ll tell you why…
I basically design on a weekly basis and even though they all call me a designer, I am not. I don’t feel like I am. How I work is maybe I see some flowers and see the shape of them. Maybe that gives me some intuition, or maybe not so I keep it in my mind and when I have two minutes and a piece of paper, which I normally have in my pocket, I draw it so I don’t forget what I saw. Then, when I go to the office, I give my sketch, which is like a kid’s drawing, to my two girls and explain how I want it. They draw it, and then I sit down at a desk and think what I can do that I have not done before.
I know you love black diamonds, but is there any other stone you are passionate about?
I love all stones. The only thing that I am upset about with the industry and our business is that they use the word semi-precious, because that is ridiculous. Whatever comes from the earth is precious.
So, anyhow, in the beginning, it was the time of minimalism when I started in 1993. One of the reasons I decided to change things is because I wouldn’t have a choice if I did everything that everyone else was doing at the time. So, I made the choice to do things differently and do the opposite. The opposite was big, bold, colourful, and the people at the time thought I was crazy, they didn’t want to show-off, they wanted discreet things.
Then when I discovered black diamonds and came out into the market for white diamonds, they thought I was a crazy guy. They thought I was a thief, they said black diamonds were bad luck, so many bad things. But I proved that they were very good luck!
Actually, if I didn’t have black diamonds in my life, I am sure I would not be sitting here with you today. The black diamonds made an amazing impact on the industry.
So, I had luck in my life and after 2-3 years people finally started to understand my style and slowly, I think in 2008, it was an amazing year. In September 2008 there was the crisis worldwide and a lot of companies went bankrupt. I was almost there too and we collapsed almost 50% and we had to dismiss a few collaborators because it cost a lot of money.
Then things started to go up again and today I feel very confident and I am just looking forward to having something that you don’t see but which gives you some new inspiration. I am aware that there is a lot of room, and I love what I do, but I feel that I have to surprise. Because otherwise it starts to be normal. It is beautiful, yes, but it should be beautiful and yet be different.
I did think about it, but nothing has come to me yet…
With regard to Baselworld, what are your feelings? We have been hearing a lot of things about it…
Well, Baselworld was a big change. If I am not wrong, about 50% of the exhibitors have given up their stands. Some of them went to Geneva, to SIHH but not many. Then, a lot of smaller retailers have given up because it was too expensive to have a stand.
There is a good and a bad side…the bad side is that it is a shame that we lost of a lot of people. On the good side, we have better clients and it is more relaxed because you don’t have to run around like crazy and not be able to pay attention to the small details.
But I have to say, this year, I was really impressed and could not believe it. Today is the 3rd day and interest has gone up. I hope it doesn’t go down before it ends! So, it was a really good surprise.
With an unbridled passion for beauty and a desire to break the mould time and time again, it is safe to say that Fawaz Gruosi and de GRISOGONO will continue to bedazzle for years to come.