Today, Graff Diamonds unveils a spectacular photograph called 'Hair & Jewel', featuring a model wearing half-a-billion dollars' worth of diamond jewels in her hair. Provocative, glamorous and jaw-dropping, the image is sure to go down in history as one of the most audacious photo shoots ever in terms of both value and originality.
Whilst you are unlikely to have seen anything quite like it before, the photograph is in fact a recreation. In 1970, Laurence Graff OBE, founder of Graff Diamonds, commissioned a black-and-white photograph of a gamine model wearing a million dollars of diamonds and precious gems in her elaborate coiffure, which had been styled by celebrity hairdresser Harold Leighton. I can imagine the reaction of commuters around the globe as they opened their newspapers or magazines to see, in amongst advertisements for baby creams and stockings, the doe-eyed young model gazing out from beneath the weight of all those diamonds.
This was a daring move for Laurence Graff, who at the time was still building up his business yet was bold enough to present such a groundbreaking image. In those days, diamonds were considered the preserve of the older woman, and they certainly wouldn't have been wearing them in their hair.
"It was a highly original concept," explains Laurence Graff of the original 'Hair & Jewel' idea. "Until this time, images showing fine jewellery were typically modelled in a more conservative style. The image broke the mould by using a younger model and created the idea of diamonds being aspirational to younger women."
In celebration of Mr Graff's 60th anniversary working in the jewellery industry, the image has been revisited. But, keeping up with the times, the value of the jewels has risen to an eye-watering 500 million dollars. In model Dalia Gunther's hair are 22 rare jewels, including some record-breaking diamonds, such as the Graff Sweethearts: heart-shaped 51.53ct and 50.76ct flawless diamond earrings. Dotted about her locks, amongst the wings of a butterfly and diamond blooms, are several of the jewels created from the 550ct Letseng Star, the 14th largest white diamond ever discovered.
Other very rare diamonds include a 10.47ct Fancy Vivid Blue internally flawless briolette diamond pendant, a spectacular 52.73ct Fancy Vivid Yellow emerald-cut diamond ring and a 6.51ct Fancy Intense Pink internally flawless diamond ring.
The release of the image not only marks Laurence Graff's 60th anniversary in the industry but also the opening of the 40th Graff store worldwide. Laurence Graff adds: "'Hair & Jewel' is a celebration of our expertise and success, as we continue to operate at the very pinnacle of the industry. I am extremely proud of what Graff Diamonds has achieved, but as I always say, we are just beginning, there is still a long way to go."
Shot at Graff's London headquarters, all the jewels were made in Graff's workshop, photographed by David Slijper and styled by Eamonn Hughes.