I was just eighteen when I started working in a renowned jeweler's in Piazza Duomo in Florence, my home town. Two years later I was already in London, and from there it was just a small step to Harry Winston. In 1978 the company sent me to Saudi Arabia to learn Arabic and, above all, how to approach a certain type of clientele. They were golden years, in every sense: every day I closed sales for at least 500 thousand dollars. At 32 years old I was already working at Bulgari, thanks to which I travelled for 8 years doing business all over the world in what we could define as the first 'experiential suites', that is, one-to-one meetings with a high profile clientele in luxury hotel suites transformed into authentic ateliers for the occasion.
How did the need to create your own company come about?
It is the difficult moments that lead to turning points in an entrepreneur's life. All of a sudden my partners took another road and I found myself having to start from scratch, on my own. It was a rather prolific period: I picked up a pencil and started to design tens, hundreds of pieces. Three or four a day. With one objective: to create something that didn't yet exist, that didn't give off a feeling of dejà vu. In short, to generate the unexpected. And it is exactly what I would do again today if I had to start everything all over again. Advice that I would also give to those, to this profession, and to entrepreneurship in general, who are starting up in these not-so-easy times. Or rather, don't follow trends. Do what you feel inside. Following your own creative instinct can still be a winning card, especially today in an inflated market that has already seen everything.
One day I was leafing through a book about the most beautiful diamonds in the world. The brown ones caught my attention. In my office three days later, I was already negotiating the purchase of 60 kt of brown diamonds with the only sellers in Europe at the time. They were nothing special, I must admit, but I bought them. Well...I combined them with some truly wonderful pearls and the diamonds took on another look, becoming prominent and beautiful. A real 'discovery'. From there I began to create unusual pieces, collections in which color dominated over everything else. In short, the de Grisogono style that so distinguishes us was born.
Let's talk about The Constellation and The art of de Grisogono…
Apart from its 6 cm diameter and 813 carats, when I saw The Constellation for the first time, I understood that it was something special. I just had to make it mine. Now I have the enormous responsibility of creating something extraordinary and unique. We will have finished cutting the diamond in a few months time. Then we will think about the jewelry that will receive it. A bit like we did with The Art of de Grisogono. I did more than 40 drawings, but the end result was a necklace which fetched 34 million at Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction last November. But we could have got to 50!