It has been an iconic year for Graff Diamonds. In June, founder and chairman Laurence Graff was awarded an OBE for his services to jewellery, a month which also saw the launch of the Graff Icon Collection, inspired by an extravagant $1 million Hair & Jewel coiffure created by Mr Graff in 1970. Less than four months later, Graff beamed around the world a jaw-dropping new Hair & Jewel image featuring a model wearing half-a-billion dollars of diamonds in her hair. It is fair to say that, even by Graff's high standards, 2013 has been memorable.
The delicate lines and flowing curves of the Graff Icon motif, which unites the new jewellery collection, were inspired by the twists and turns of the model's hair in the original 1970s Hair & Jewel image. The visual was considered groundbreaking at the time because, explains Mr Graff, "until then, images showing fine jewellery were typically modelled in a more conservative style. This image broke the mould by using a younger model and creating the idea of diamonds being aspirational to younger women."
??While both the 1970 and 2013 Hair & Jewel images illustrate Graff's commitment to pushing boundaries, the Graff Icon was designed in a more classic vein. Used to subtly enhance Graff's identity - sitting beneath the company logo, as a backdrop on the Graff website, incorporated into the design of Graff's 40 stores worldwide and on the pages of 'Graffiti', its in-house magazine - the launch of the Icon Collection shows how beautifully this elegant design translates into fine jewellery.
The expansive new Icon Collection consists of 25 pieces encompassing pendant necklaces, earrings and bracelets in platinum. Each piece is set with white diamonds - Graff's speciality. Impressive round pendants with matching earrings encircle the motif, repeated to form a mosaic of Graff Icons. Fully pavéd with diamonds or diamond set just on the outline, enclosing a perfect solitaire diamond, there is an undercurrent of 1920s glamour rippling through these contemporary jewels.
Freed from the confines of the circle, the motif reveals its more delicate side, swinging from a necklace or pair of earrings. In my favourite pieces, the Graff Icon has been tweaked slightly, giving it even more curves. The effect is incredibly pretty.
Throughout its rich history, Graff is said to have handled more diamonds of notable rarity and beauty than any other jeweller. By controlling the entire jewellery making process - sourcing, cutting, polishing and final setting - it is able to guarantee the quality of every one of its diamonds, which are considered among the finest in the world. The new Graff Icon collection places these exceptional gems in designs that recall the excitement of the original Hair & Jewel image more than 40 years ago while strengthening Graff's reputation as a true innovator in today's luxury jewellery industry.