Brian Gutkin and Johnny Kneller are coming home. After years of successful business in South Africa and Belgium with the Safdico Company, they have decided to make Israel Safdico’s home. In January they will officially open an office in Ramat Gan, trading in rough and polished diamonds.
It was the Sukkot holiday break, but the Israeli diamond complex was buzzing with activity. The word spread like wildfire through the halls: Laurence Graff had arrived in Israel and he was buying. “He spent 10 million dollars,” some people said. “He spent 30 million dollars,” others insisted, and if I’d asked a few more, the estimates might have soared even higher.
Brian Gutkin and Johnny Kneller smile. “We’re not going to tell you how much he spent – that’s not what’s important,” says Kneller, “but I will tell you the story. The true story is that Laurence Graff came to visit us during the Sukkot holiday in September. He just wanted a vacation. And then he said, well, if we’re already here, let’s buy something. So we met in the office and looked at a lot of fancies. It was great timing, as the goods had just returned to Israel from the Hong Kong fair. It was an excellent time to go shopping.”