Graff files for flotation in Hong Kong

London-based jewellery business Graff Diamonds is looking to sparkle in Hong Kong in April, with plans for a $1bn (£636m) float.

Graff yesterday filed the first documentation needed for its planned IPO in Hong Kong, following upmarket contemporaries Prada and Samsonite International on to the stock exchange. French brand L'Occitane debuted there in 2010.

The company was founded in 1960 by Laurence Graff, the sole owner of the luxury diamond brand. He opened his first shop in London in 1962 and now has more than 30 globally with plans for stores in Macau and Hangzhou in China, Gstaad in Switzerland and a second in Hong Kong this year.

The company, which sells some of the world's most expensive items of jewellery, including 100-carat diamond tiaras, is positive for 2012, despite some believing this year is unlikely to match the growth seen in 2011.

Sales figures for Graff are not available for 2011 but experts in the sector believe that they were in the region of $800m.

Unlike its much larger rival De Beers, Graff does not mine its own diamonds. However, Mr Graff has a stake in diamond manufacturers which supply the business with the high-end rocks needed.