Fawaz Gruosi: Merging ingenuity, imagination and artistry
Fawaz Gruosi first caught the attention of jewel addicts and lovers of all things luxurious when he reintroduced the black diamond as a symbol of sophistication and prestige, thereby making his ascent into the world of luxury jewelry design. Since then, Gruosi, president, owner and founder of de GRISOGONO, has continued to dazzle and bewilder women all over the globe with his striking designs, incorporating a unique combination of precious stones in almost every color imaginable. His exquisite creations adorn Hollywood’s most glamorous leading ladies and celebrities at the most prestigious of events.
In 1993, Gruosi unleashed his creative genius onto the world. And, since then, he has led de GRISOGONO to become a name synonymous with luxury, glamour and cutting-edge designs. Today, he continues to push the envelope with his creative designs that are seemingly oblivious to the boundaries of jewelry design norms. Today’s Outlook had the opportunity to sit down with Fawaz Gruosi to discuss further de GRISOGONO’s inspiration, market strategies, trends and more. Indeed, Gruosi is by no means a conventional designer who puts pen to paper while seated at his desk in the comfort of his office, but rather draws his inspiration from life – from everyday encounters and experiences. His extraordinary belief in his company, in himself and in his products keeps him soaring high above the rest, with no challenge too great and no design too impossible to create.
Fawaz Gruosi and Bianca Balti
Many companies seem to be downsizing by making products that cost less in order to accommodate to the current economic situation. You seem to be unaffected and have not made any changes, how is this so?
I don’t have a choice. There are two reasons; one is my character – I never give up! And the second is the responsibility of the company to keep the standard from a manufacturing point of view. We can’t reduce manufacturing costs, and as for the cost of the recession on creativity and materials, I have never and will never touch these. We can reduce costs in other ways without compromising our products because our products are our soul and if I change them, we won’t be de GRISOGONO anymore; we will be just like the others and this I will never allow to happen.
You are constantly creating new, unique pieces that are bright and beautiful. What is your source of inspiration?
I’m not a typical designer or creator. I never sit down at my desk or in my office and think; the more I think the more I can’t come up with anything. I’m very lucky in the sense that ideas come to me. For example, I’m sitting with you now and from the shape of that lamp there I came up with an idea so when we are done with the interview, I will go and take a little note, make a small sketch and put it in my pocket. Later when I return to Geneva, I will come up with the exact design. I am inspired all the time – when I’m in bed and I can’t sleep or when I’m on a plane for hours on end.
So every single piece is designed by you?
Yes… there is nothing that does not come from my mind. Designing is the only pleasure I have in this business, if this is taken away, I will stop working.
You always incorporate a variety of colors in your designs, but this year fuchsia seems to be very prominent. Is there any particular reason for this?
Yes. I bought something this summer in fuchsia, and even with colors, inspiration comes from what I see and I loved this color, and as such, I started to use this color a lot in my work.
Do you ever draw inspiration from haute couture and fashion?
No, I never follow fashion. I never follow the statistics of sales of the industry in terms of yellow, red and white gold, sapphires, white diamonds and so on, I really don’t care! And this is not because I’m pretentious, but when I created de GRISOGONO, I wanted to be free to express myself in the way I like and if I don’t have this and I had to start to think commercially, I think you would definitely run the other way if you saw my designs. What I put into my work now is real love and my passion for what I do. I’m not counting costs in terms of production, manufacturing and research.
You are dressing more and more Hollywood stars and de GRISOGONO is all over the news, are you happy with the feedback?
Adorning the stars is something we have always done, but maybe it was a little less visible before. Today, the brand is better known and so we are getting more attention, but in fact, it is not something new; it’s part of our DNA. What’s more, some brands pay stars to wear their jewelry, but we don’t have to do that.
How involved are your daughters in your business?
My eldest daughter is not involved anymore; she left because she didn’t like Geneva. My second daughter worked very hard for a year and is taking a break now until next September during which time she will complete her MBA. So she’s coming back and hopefully she will be very involved.
You recently had new investors in the company, how involved are they in the business?
The investors are in control of 39 percent so I have a 61 percent share. I respect them; they are friends of mine from France and I respect their money which they have trusted me with, so I try to do what is necessary until the recession ends.
Have you created anything special with the Middle Eastern market in mind?
I refuse to do that! Not for the Middle East, nor India, nor Far East, Russia, nor Italy nor America… I do what I do and whoever likes it, buys it!
Is the market in the Middle East growing for de GRISOGONO?
No, it’s stable. It’s stable because I never pushed one market more than the other because I hate the idea of being stronger in one market than another. And that’s a business point of view; there is nothing more dangerous than being very successful in one area only. For example, without mentioning names of particular companies, many companies choose to concentrate their efforts and money primarily in the United States and then they find themselves stumbling because they work a little here and there, but not enough to sustain them. It is because they invest their energy predominantly in the United States that they basically become an American brand. Our biggest market is Europe – Paris, London, Geneva, Rome – but we are more or less equally dedicated to all our markets.
Some of your work was inspired by Lebanon’s Jeita Grotto. How did that touch your heart?
It all boils down to pure feelings. I’m going to tell you something which I probably shouldn’t say since Italian and Middle Eastern men are supposed to be macho and have no feelings! Nonetheless, I proudly admit that I’m the type of man that can cry from a movie, so when I see a grotto like this, I think that if you don’t feel emotional, you are not human. I’m a very emotional person. I’m a very sensitive person. Maybe for some the grotto isn’t something particularly special, but I saw something I thought to be extremely beautiful, something which deeply inspired me!