13 June 1938
Stepney, London, UK
|Occupation||Businessman and jeweller|
|Net worth||US$4.3 billion (March 2013)|
|Children||4 (3 with Anne-Marie and one with Josephine Daniel)|
Graff was born in Stepney in 1938 into a Jewish family, the son of a Romanian mother, Rebecca Segal, and a Russian father, Harry Graff. His father made suits off the Commercial Road while his mother ran a tobacconist and newsagents. His brother Raymond was born in 1947.
Graff left school and became an apprentice when he was 15. He soon went into partnership with Schindler, a jeweller, repairing rings and creating small pieces of jewellery in a small shop. That shop went out of business and so Graff began selling his jewellery designs independently to jewellers all over England. By 1962, he had two jewellery shops, including his first in Hatton Garden- the centre of London's jewellery trade since medieval times.
In 1960, he founded the Graff Diamonds company. By 1974, he had begun specializing in selling to newly rich buyers from the Middle East. In particular, he supplied many jewels for Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei, who became a lifelong client and friend. One day, Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz walked into the shop and bought everything including a 14 carat diamond. Graff is currently expanding his company in across the world with over 35 stores now covering US, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Re-cut of the Wittelsbach Diamond
In 2008, Graff purchased the Wittelsbach Diamond for £16.4 million, a considerable premium over the £9 million guide price. Almost two years later, Graff revealed he had had three diamond cutters repolish the stone to eliminate the chips and improve the clarity, reducing the diamond from 35.52 carats (7.104 g) to 31 carats (6.2 g). This action has been compared by critics to making the Mona Lisa prettier. However, according to gemologist Richard W. Wise, "At a cost of only 4.45 carats the recut and renamed Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond has been raised from a GIA grade of Fancy Deep Grayish Blue to a Fancy Deep Blue. Its clarity grade has been likewise elevated from VS2 to Internally Flawless (IF). This is a substantial upgrade." Further, the "Graff recut retained the original double stellate brilliant facet pattern thus retaining the overall look of the original stone." 
Graff supports a range of charities through the Graff Diamonds Foundation. Graff established The FACET Foundation (For Africa’s Children Every Time) in 2008. FACET makes grants to charitable projects in sub-Saharan Africa within the fields of education and training, health, the relief of poverty and community development, focusing on charities which provide long-term, sustainable and comprehensive solutions for those in need, with a particular focus on children, youth, care givers and communities. Since its inception, FACET has built two Graff Leadership Centres,one in Lesotho and one in Botswana. A third Centre is planned for the South African Winelands. 
In 1962, he married Anne-Marie Graff of French origin. They have three children: Francois (b. 1967), who runs the London branch of his father’s company, Stephane (b. 1968), an artist, and a daughter Kristelle (b. 1980). Graff also fathered a child with jeweller Josephine Daniel, 34 years his junior, in 2009.
An avid collector of modern and contemporary art, Graff sits on the Executive Committees of the International Director’s Council of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the International Council of the Tate Modern in London, the Berggruen Museum in Berlin and is an International Trustee and full board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and on the Board of Governors for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
One of his first works purchased was a small Renoir in the late 1970s, which he kept in a safe amongst his diamonds. With this purchase he made a promise to himself to acquire one Impressionist painting a year.
His first purchase of contemporary art was Francis Bacon’s Portrait of Lucien Freud, which he purchased in London for £700. Two further significant contemporary purchases were Warhol’s Lavender Marilyn and Red Liz.
Graff hosted a charity art auction at Christie’s in London in October 2009 in support of his foundation, FACET. With works donated by contemporary artists that Graff collects, including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Banksy and Raqib Shaw, the evening raised over $1.2 million for the Graff Leadership Centre in Lesotho.
Named by Art News as one of the world’s top 200 art collectors (July 2013, Art News) Graff has recently added to his collection with the purchase of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl painting, and Roy Lichtenstein's Woman with Flowered Hat.
Graff acquired the Delaire Graff Estate in 2003, and has since transformed it into a luxury destination located in the heart of South Africa’s Winelands, with a vineyard, two restaurants, lodges and a spa, in the Stellenbosch Valley.
- Forbes: "The World's Billionaires - Laurence Graff" March 2013
- "King of Bling: Laurence Graff". forbes.com. August 13, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- "The multifaceted Laurence Graff". Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- ES Magazine, Godfrey Barker. Billionaire interviews: Laurence Graff. December 17, 2007. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- in_article_id=427792&in_page_id=10 Billionaire interviews: Laurence Graff Daily Mail UK. Vince Graff. August 24, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2010.
- Laurence Graff, chairman, Graff Diamonds, The New York Times, February 8, 2010
- The London Gazette: . 15 June 2013.
- The Times- Bavaria considers bid to bring mysterious Wittelsbach diamond home. November 7, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2010
- A diamond geezer made good. Financial Times. Emma Jacobs. January 25, 2010. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "The Wittelsbach; All tarted up and ready to sell". Rwwise.com.
- Forbes: "King of Bling" by Susan Adams August 13, 2007
- The Daily Mail: "£2bn diamond dealer, 71, fathers lovechild by 37-year-old former PA (...but, generously, his wife is standing by him)" By Caroline Graham and Katie Nicholl October 18, 2009