Fawaz Gruosi is doing what he loves: Rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, and getting them gorgeous with his haute couture baubles.
Gruosi, born in Beirut to a Florentine mother and Lebanese father, is the founder and creative director of Swiss luxury jewelry brand de Grisogono, which opened a boutique at Bal Harbour Shops last week. The store is the second in the United States after New York’s Madison Avenue flagship.
Naturally, de Grisogono caters to a Hollywood clientele, including Sharon Stone, who literally dazzled at the Cannes Film Festival last month with a one-of-a-kind, ruby-encrusted starfish bracelet.
Not all was completely rosy and fabulous over there: During the brand’s 20th anniversary event at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes, a $2.6 million de Grisogono necklace went missing.
The news of the $2.6 million necklace that was stolen during Cannes made was an international incident. What happened?
It mysteriously disappeared. There were 80 bodyguards, plus the hotel security. And no one can explain what happened. The picture of this necklace went everywhere.
You’re famous for your blowout parties.
We’ve been [throwing parties at Cannes] the past 20 years. Our first party had only 50 people. This year we had more than 500 seated for dinner, and 200 for the after party. Today, it’s the event of Cannes. Everyone wants to be at this party — models, artists, stars. Unfortunately, we are making a lot of enemies. At 5 a.m., we have to stop serving cocktails. People just don’t want to leave.
Where does a world traveler go on vacation?
I don’t vacation. My life is my work. I’ve had 21/2 months’ vacation in 20 years.
What was your first experience in Miami?
I came for the opening of the [revamped] Delano Hotel in 1994. I came to Bal Harbour. I knew I would be here one day.
Being based in Geneva, are you a great skier?
I don’t do sports — ever. I don’t even walk [laughs]. But I do love the sea. It’s the only place where I can rejuvenate.
What are your favorite places to visit?
Miami is one of the most important cities in the world. It’s an international city, and moving very fast. I also love Moscow; it’s full of energy. Like New York, it’s 24/7. If I had a choice, I’d live between Miami and New York.
What is the most important piece of jewelry for a woman to own?
Either earrings — because they give a bit of glamour around the face — or a beautiful ring. It’s a must to have.
What was the first piece of jewelry you designed?
The watch I’m wearing. Its square face was inspired by the shape of a television. This is my love. It’s my first.
What is a typical day like for you?
Every day I create between 10 and 20 designs, which I either draw or explain to my design team. I follow my mood. I create for pleasure, not business. I don’t like small things. Jewelry must be noticeable — and be rare.