If ever there was a James Bond on the red carpet it would be Fawaz Gruosi. Tall and brooding, with eyes the color of the Mediterranean, Gruosi, son of a Lebanese father and Italian mother, is a man of mystery with the megawatt, mischievous smile of a teenager. A leader of the jet set, he is often seen on the arm of women donning his high jewelry creations – Bianca Balti, Ming Xi, Hend Sabri, Irina Shayk, and Bella Hadid, to name a few. Gruosi spearheaded De Grisogono, a high jewelry brand he founded in Geneva with just CHF 10,000 in the early Nineties, marking such industry shifts as the introduction of black diamonds. In 2017, his Creation I, a diamond necklace hailed as “groundbreaking,” was sold for US $33 million. With his De Grisogono years now behind him, Gruosi, 69, is entering a new phase, founding an eponymous brand seeped in color, molded with audacious form, and exceptional stones.
“After the chapter of De Grisogono was over, I knew, for me, it wasn’t over. I don’t know anything but creating jewelry; I have been doing it since I was a young man and I have so many more designs to create,” starts Gruosi. “I am at a place where I am free to create what I want with the experiences and knowledge that I have,” he says. “I am proud to put my name on this new brand and embark on the next era of my journey as an artist. Each era of my career allows me to reinvent myself and keep innovating. Of course, you can’t change someone at my age so there may be some things I will continue to do, but that is what makes me who I am.” Born in Beirut, Gruosi spent his earliest days in the city and then moved to Florence. At 17, he worked as a sales assistant at the Florentine jeweler Torrini and later at Harry Winston in London. He worked in Saudi Arabia in the Seventies, from age 23 to 27, recalling, “It was such an enriching experience in my young career. The country is incredible.”
In 1982, at the request of Gianni Bulgari, Gruosi began traveling the world, catering to Bulgari’s VIP clientele. He also went on to have two children, daughters Allegra and Violetta. “My children have always influenced my work; after all, they are also my creations. I also had a son who passed away many years ago, I am influenced by him as well. But not just my family – it can be anything or anyone around me.”
If his years leading De Grisogono were marked with flashing lights reflected in the sparkle of his baubles – expressive forms in maxi size not for the weak of heart (or pocketbook, for that matter) – it was also during this time that he gifted and received two of his most memorable pieces. “I recall offering a necklace to my mother – this was a moment in time I will always remember,” he reminisces, adding that the first piece of jewelry he ever gifted to himself was a watch he designed. Now, at the helm of a new adventure, he describes his jewelry as “a mixture of different forms, unique materials such as amber, and designs that create emotions and make one feel alive.”
The pandemic didn’t stop Gruosi from coming to Dubai in 2021, with Jessica Kahawaty, Eva Longoria, and Halima Aden wearing his jewels for the Abu Dhabi Dream Ball presented by the Global Gift Foundation and Fawaz Gruosi. The event raised more than $1 million towards supporting children. His jewels also lit up the recent Red Sea Film festival. Worn by Youssra, Candice Swanepoel, Hend Sabri, and Tina Kunakey, the jewels reminded of the glamour of Cannes. “I would like women all over the world to discover my designs and feel what it is to wear them – confident, bold, and with character. I want the pieces to be recognized regardless of who is wearing them.” He underscores that, “all stones speak to me,” when asked if there is a gem that beckons his eye. “I am particularly attracted to colored stones. They can impact a person’s state of mind. Stones make me feel different things, different moods – from excitement to peace of mind.” And yet for all the marvel of his work, Gruosi – who reveals that he is “terribly shy” – considers that true beauty comes from within. “I believe beauty does lie in the eyes of the beholder. What may be beautiful to me may not necessarily be beautiful to someone else. For example, I like color, shapes, and roundness, daringness in my designs, asymmetry. Others may not think the same. That’s individuality, which is beautiful itself.”
Originally published in the February 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia