Recently, famed jeweler Laurence Graff was interviewed by the New York Times at the Frieze art fair in London, collecting pieces of modern art (his second greatest passion after jewelry). During the interview, the self-styled “King of Diamonds” shared some anecdotes about his 60 years of experience working with jewelry. Recently decorated with the Order of the British Empire, over the course of his career, over the years he’s brushed shoulders with such names as Elizabeth Taylor, Madame Marcos and the Brunei royal family.
But one of Mr. Graff’s more interesting stories is one about his company’s mysterious workshop, hidden deep underground in London’s fashionable and elegant Mayfair district. Very few people may enter this closely-guarded secret, protected by vault doors and an elaborate security system. According to the workshop’s manager, Raymond Graff (a brother of Laurence), this is the probably the largest jewelry workshop in Europe. The workshop is extremely choosy about who they take on; they need to have a passion for jewelry and a willingness to always be learning. Some of the most high-quality jewelry pieces in the world come from this top-secret underground location. Down below, in an air-temperature-controlled space, jewelers wear white lab coats. While much of the work that they do is by hand, there is also high-tech electronic equipment, which scans and works out designs, complementing some more traditional techniques that originated in the Renaissance.
The combination of traditional and modern techniques allows Graff’s jewelry-making business to make meaningful, interesting pieces of jewelry while also being precise. Graff makes an effort to ensure that the jewelry pieces his workers use are of a flawless quality, and with a traditional, translucent beauty. This combination has made Graff one of the most well-known names in the jewelry business.
via Alex Fetanat http://alexfetanat.org/laurence-graffs-underground-lair/