It's been called one of the most valuable commodities on the face of the earth and the rarest of stones. The 31-carat Wittelsbach-Graff diamond is deep blue, flawless, and has a pedigree to match. In the 17th Century, the diamond was worn by the Infanta of Spain, then passed from royal to royal.
Few ordinary mortals have had the chance to hold the Wittelsbach-Graff -- but for Henri Barguirdjian, it is all in a day's work. Barguirdjian is the CEO of Graff Holdings, the luxury jewelers who bought the Wittelsbach-Graff at auction in 2008. The diamond is now in private hands.
Graff does not release sales figures but Barguirdjian said on "Off The Cuff" that "we wish we could keep them all but unfortunately we are running a business, we are not running a museum."
Henri Barguirdjian has been working in the jewelry business since he was a fourteen year-old in Paris, the fifth generation of a family of jewelers. He's helped spearhead Graff 's expansion internationally. The company has more than 30 retail stores worldwide. Barguirdjian attributes part of Graff's success to an increasing demand for diamonds on the part of investors. After all, diamonds are forever.
"People first and foremost buy them as gifts, that's the reason a man comes to buy a diamond," Barguirdjian said "to have the power of putting a magnificent diamond on a girl's hand or around a girl's neck… on top of that the investment aspect helps a great deal."
Barguirdjian's clients are the richest of the rich and he has to drop everything to take care of them. But that's fine with Barguirdijan as supply for diamonds can't keep up with demand and that keeps him busy.
"People sometimes don't understand and say 'but Henri you guys are the number one jeweler, how come?'… Well yeah I keep digging and haven't found it yet."