CHICAGO — Members of Chicago’s upper echelon were clearly impressed. “It’s spectacular,” said J.B. Pritzker, of the 31.06-carat deep blue diamond on display at Graff’s Oak Street location here last week. “I’m really in awe.”
Arriving in Chicago with what one local reporter called a James Bondlike entourage, the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, thought to be one of the most expensive in the world, made a brief one-day pit stop between stints at the Smithsonian in Washington and the American Museum of National History in New York.
“It’s the most available, valuable diamond in the world,” said Graff’s chief executive officer for America, Henri Barguirdjian, claiming that it rivals the larger, more famous Hope Diamond. Barguirdjian said a Smithsonian curator estimates the Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat stone, is insured for $250 million. Though smaller, the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is considered internally flawless and of a deeper blue color, he said, adding, “So you guess how much it’s worth.”
Graff’s chairman Laurence Graff purchased the stone in 2008 for 16.4 million pounds, or about $24 million. Not unlike the Hope, the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond has a storied past, once belonging to the House of Wittelsbach, members of Bavaria’s ruling house. When Bavaria became a republic after World War I, its crown jewels were sold through Christie’s in 1931. Allegedly disappearing before the auction, the stone emerged in Belgium in 1951 and was identified as the Wittelsbach Diamond in 1962.
The diamond’s visit gave Chicago’s society set a chance to gather, gaze and gasp. Pritzker turned out with his wife M.K. Pritzker, who donned a black Yves Saint Laurent sheath dress and sizable diamond hoops recently purchased at Graff to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the couple’s first date. Meanwhile, Roger Deromedi, the former ceo of Kraft, was spotted perusing jewelry alongside his wife Sandy, and art collector Stefan Edlis stopped by with his wife Gail Neeson.
And as the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond made its way to New York, Graff as a business is also on the move, planning to open new stores in San Francisco, Beijing and Taipei, among other locations in 2011.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion
@carmeloanthony is upping his fashion game once again, introducing a hat collection with @goorinbros. Called Fresh Greens by Melo x Goorin, the line consists of five unisex models, all of which are made in America from 100 percent wool. Each hat is lined with Anthony’s signature and the inscription “Knowledge of self, wisdom and understanding.” You can purchase the collection line at Goorin’s website as well as three off its stores in San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas #wwdaccessories
“I am of tradition, but that doesn’t mean I have an old outlook on life,” Hubert de Givenchy told WWD in an interview in 1978. The legendary designer, who died last week at the age of 91, achieved wide success soon after launching his own couture boutique in the early ’50s, but he refused to pine for that time. For the first time since its original publication, read our interview with Givenchy on his awe for Audrey Hepburn and looking forward. Link in bio. #wwdarchives #fbf (📷: Pierre Schermann)
About last night: @alexachung and @supergausa toasted the launch of their capsule collection. “It’s the shape that I love, so rather than amend the last and make the sole crazy or do anything wild, we just did really subtle additions that I think make it look really luxe-y,” said Chung. #wwdfashion (📷: Marc Patrick)
Exclusive: @off____white’s @virgilabloh is launching an exclusive eyewear capsule collection @sunglasshut. The unisex collection, which is made up of three styles, first made its debut on the brand’s fall runway show in Paris. Get all the details on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion