Designers / Industry

Dubai Billionaire Buys De Grisogono


De Grisogono, the noted Swiss jeweler that went bankrupt in 2020 after a series of leaks linked it to the daughter of Angola’s former president, has been purchased by Dubai’s Damac Group.

The Damac Group, a luxury real estate company founded and chaired by Hussain Sajwani, a Dubai billionaire, did not provide a price tag for the purchase, but said in a statement it was “the top bidder amongst several others bidding for the acquisition.”

In the same statement, Sajwani called de Grisogono “a relatively young, but established brand [that] has immense potential that needs to be uncovered and leveraged.”

Hussain Sajwani founder Damac
Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman of Damac Group

The statement added that Damac has long been interested in expanding its portfolio “by adding distressed luxury assets, to turn them over to profit-making investments.”

In 2019, it purchased Italian fashion brand Roberto Cavalli, and it recently won a bid to build Cavalli-branded luxury apartments in the Surfside neighborhood of Miami, on the site of the tragic 2021 building collapse there.

Damac is already using its new acquisition to brand a luxury construction project it’s erecting in Dubai, called Safa One by de Grisogono. The twin-tower complex will feature attractions such as cascading waterfalls, hanging gardens, and a man-made beach on the podium level.

Former Bulgari designer Fawaz Gruosi founded Geneva-based de Grisogono in 1993, though he left the company in 2019. It became known as a glitzy Red Carpet staple and for its signature use of black diamonds.

In 2020, the jeweler became the subject of controversy, when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed that it was controlled by Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos, and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, through a series of shell companies. The company filed for bankruptcy shortly after.

Damac did not return an inquiry from JCK by the time of publication.

Top: De Grisogono’s Creation I necklace featuring a 163.41 carat emerald-cut diamond (photos courtesy of Damac Group)

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By: Rob Bates

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