Laurence Graff, the founder of Graff Diamonds, has been so involved in every aspect of diamonds from rough to the ring for decades. The success story of Graff, British billionaire celebrity jeweler, is so admired to show us what a determined and hard-working kid can do.
Graff, who was born in East London in 1939, grew-up in a single room apartment with his mom. Graff, the kid of a Romanian immigrant mom and a father left to fight in World War II, didn’t do well in school. Hence, his mom took him to a jeweler to make him a jeweler’s apprentice at age 14. From toilet cleaning, rubbing floors to remodeling and repairing jewelry, he gained such a good experience in diamond jewelry. After the bankruptcy of the company, he established a small repair and artistic jewelry business of his own with an older craftsman partner. At the age of 24, he decided to go to Far East to buy and sell diamonds. At this time period, he got very good connections including one of those princes of Brunei. When he came back to London, he went into jewelry retail business and his royal friends came to London to buy his jewelry.
Today, Graff is #462 at Forbes World’s Billionaires 2009 List and runs a polished diamond trading company in Antwerp, a real estate company in Luxembourg and a majority stake in a South African diamond wholesaler besides of his jewelry company, Graff Diamonds International.