Selling Desire the Old World Way

Amy Adams
December 11, 2012

Rarely does one find a gemologist’s eye, a businessman’s acumen and a tastemaker’s style in a single Chanel-clad package. But Rozalyn Colombo, private sales director of Graff, is just that. For nearly 25 years, she has successfully negotiated the male-dominated jewelry industry, beginning her career with Harry Winston in New York. Since then, she introduced that high-flying name to Dallas, and now procures and privately sells some of the world’s most beautiful jewels through Graff. She has acquired a reputation as the go-to source for exceptional gemstones amongst industry titans (or, in the words she likes to share with author Tom Wolfe, “Masters of the Universe”) and, subsequently, the women in their lives. However, getting her to to drop names is rather like extracting honey from a cashmere-covered vise — although, after much cajoling, she will admit to including the late Gianni Versace and various members of the Saudi royal family amongst her rather formidable clientele. Clearly, this is a woman who understands that selling million-dollar jewels in an Old World salon-style manner requires a certain amount of discretion. With Graff boutiques in New York, San Francisco, Bal Harbour, Chicago, Palm Beach, and Las Vegas, North American President and CEO Henri Barguirdjian has entrusted Colombo to build the brand in Dallas. She works directly with clients at their homes or offices, and occasionally arranges meetings at The Mansion, albeit with a security detail within easy reach. It’s a style of business that harkens back to a bygone age, but this old-school approach isn’t all that sets Colombo apart. Her own philanthropic leanings paired with an innate understanding of exactly what jewelry belongs with what gown means she often finds herself at black-tie events stifling the urge to whisper, “I have the most perfect earrings for you.” But resist she does, as the hard sell isn’t in the DNA of this self-described old soul. Besides, with a trove of the world’s finest non-conflict diamonds, Burmese rubies, and Colombian emeralds at her perfectly manicured fingertips, she knows that those with a penchant for the finest will ultimately find their way to her.