History and Heritage
About Harry Winston
Few jewelry brands have such an illustrious history as the House of Harry Winston. Founded in New York City in 1932, by Mr. Harry Winston – an innate gemologist, an intuitive business man, and a dedicated philanthropist – the brand continues to set the standard for the ultimate in fine jewelry and high-end watchmaking. Known throughout his life as the "King of Diamonds", and the "Jeweler to the Stars", Mr. Winston's innovative design philosophy – in which the individual gemstones, rather than the metal settings, would dictate each design – helped to revolutionize fine jewelry designs, and remains at the cornerstone of a timeless aesthetic that continues to inspire all Harry Winston creations. From the acquisition of some of the world's most famous gemstones, including the Jonker, Hope, and Winston Legacy Diamonds, to adorning generations of famous faces, from Hollywood legends to international Heads of State, for over eight decades, the Harry Winston name has been synonymous with the best that there is. Today, the House of Harry Winston continues its tradition of creativity, rarity, and quality without compromise in its retail salons around the world, including: New York, London, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
History of Harry Winston
Harry Winston, Inc. is founded in New York City by Mr. Harry Winston- an innate gemologist, intuitive businessman, and dedicated philanthropist - marking the start of a remarkable legacy that will continue to be celebrated for years to come.
Harry Winston purchases his first important diamond – the Jonker, a 726-carat uncut rough diamond – making headlines across the globe. After much debate on the safest way to ship the stone to his headquarters in New York, Mr. Winston decides to send the precious piece of rough via regular registered mail, for $0.64. The cleaving of the Jonker results in twelve individual stones, with the largest – an emerald-cut – weighing a total of 125.35-carats.
After reading a small newspaper article about the discovery of a 726.60-carat rough diamond in Brazil, Harry Winston immediately sets off on a cross-continent journey to track down the impressive stone. Traveling first by plane to Brazil, then by boat to Antwerp, Mr. Winston examines and purchases the exceptional piece of rough, named the Vargas, before it is officially offered to any other jeweler.
Inspired by the geometry of nature, Harry Winston and his designers pioneer the innovative technique of clustering, in which the individual diamonds, not the metal settings, would dictate the jewelry design, therefore maximizing the brilliance of each gemstone. The iconic Winston Cluster design will continue to inspire the House’s designers for years to come.
Harry Winston becomes the "Jeweler to the Stars," as the first to lend diamonds to an actress for the Academy Awards, dressing the evening's Best Actress winner, Jennifer Jones.
Harry Winston meets the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for the first time. Prior to their meeting, The Duchess, an avid jewelry collector, sends Mr. Winston a letter stating, "My friends tell me you have such wonderful things..." The Duke and Duchess will go on to purchase several pieces of Harry Winston jewelry for their personal collection, including the famed McLean Diamond.
Harry Winston acquires the complete jewelry collection of American socialite Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean, including the 94.80-carat Star of the East and the famed Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat rare blue diamond, once owned by Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, and Lord Henry Hope.
Harry Winston tours some of his most precious and important diamonds and gemstones in a cross-country exhibition called "The Court of Jewels", with proceeds benefitting leading local charitable organizations. The exhibition will tour for four years, concluding in 1953.
Inspired by the symmetry and beauty of one of nature's most majestic blooms, Harry Winston and his designers first introduce the Sunflower motif.
Life Magazine reports that Harry Winston owns the world's second largest collection of historic jewels. The largest collection is owned by the British royal family.
Gentleman Prefer Blondes is released. The film’s hit song Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, includes the famous line, “Talk to me Harry Winston! Tell me all about it!”
Harry Winston opens his first international salon in Geneva, Switzerland. A salon in Paris, France follows in 1957.
Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as a gift to the world. The donation helps to establish the museum's National Gem Collection.
Harry Winston moves his salon to 718 Fifth Avenue, marking one of the largest moves in jewelry history. The location will remain the permanent home to Harry Winston’s Flagship Salon, Design Studio, and Archives.
Harry Winston purchases a 241-carat piece of rough, which he has cut into a flawless 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond. The remarkable stone is eventually purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and renamed the Taylor-Burton Diamond.
Harry Winston broadcasts, on live television, the cleaving of his latest rough diamond purchase, the 601-carat Lesotho. The Lesotho will eventually produce eighteen magnificent gems, including a 71.72-carat emerald-cut, and a 40.42-carat marquise-cut diamond, purchased by Aristotle Onassis as an engagement ring for Jacqueline Kennedy.
Harry Winston cuts a 75.52-carat D-flawless pear-shaped diamond from a 204-carat piece of rough. The exquisite stone is named the Star of Independence in celebration of the American Bicentennial.
Mr. Winston dies in New York City at the age of 82.
Harry Winston opens its first salon in Japan, in Tokyo.
Harry Winston introduces its first collection of timepieces, entering the world of fine watchmaking.
The Harry Winston Gallery opens at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., housing the famed Hope Diamond.
Harry Winston introduces the groundbreaking Opus Series, creating a new limited edition timepiece annually in partnership with renowned horologists.
Harry Winston introduces the world's first timepiece crafted in Zalium – an innovative, zirconium-based alloy.
Harry Winston opens a Timepiece Manufacture in Geneva, Switzerland, the watchmaking capital of the world.
Harry Winston debuts the New York Collection, inspired by the glamour of Manhattan.
The House debuts Histoire de Tourbillon, an exclusive collection of timepieces dedicated to the complex craftsmanship of one of fine watchmaking’s most celebrated complications.
Harry Winston launches the Lily Cluster Collection, a contemporary interpretation of the iconic Winston Cluster motif, inspired by the refined shape of lilies in bloom.
Harry Winston introduces Ultimate Adornments, an exceptional high jewelry collection hand-crafted in diamonds and platinum. The intricate collection represents a journey through heritage, traditions,
Harry Winston debuts Water by Harry Winston, a collection of jewels exploring the extraordinary wonders of the world’s most precious elements – rare gemstones and water.
Harry Winston, Inc. acquires the 101.73-carat Winston Legacy diamond. The flawless, colorless pear-shaped stunner is described by Christie’s auction house as “the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction.”
May 15, 2014, Geneva, Switzerland – Harry Winston Inc. announces the acquisition of a rare 13.22-carat, flawless, fancy-vivid blue diamond, which will be called the ‘Winston Blue.’ Purchased at the Christie’s auction, the magnificent pear-shaped stone has been described as the largest of kind.