The Hope Diamond was among Mr. Winston’s greatest gemstones. Discovered in India’s Kollur Mine in the mid-1600s, the fabled 45.52-carat blue diamond had a long list of distinguished owners, including Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, before it was purchased by Mr. Winston in 1949 from the estate of American socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean.
As part of Harry Winston’s historic Court of Jewels exhibition, the storied stone traveled to major American cities from 1949-1953 to help educate the public about precious gems, while raising money for leading charitable causes. In 1958, Mr. Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. as a gift to the world.
Helping to found the National Gem Collection, this historic donation transformed a former crown jewel into a beloved public treasure that today receives more than 7 million annual visitors.
In 2010, Harry Winston Inc. celebrated the anniversary of this donation with a new setting for the Hope Diamond, the Embracing Hope.