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In honor of what would be the 125th birthday of Harry Winston, the house unveils its latest masterpiece, the Winston Pink Legacy ring. This ring features an exceptional 18.96-carat rectangular-cut fancy vivid pink diamond that the house acquired from Christie’s in 2018 for over $50 million. To say this diamond is rare would be an understatement. It is very unusual to find a fancy vivid pink diamond over five carats, and only 10 percent weigh more than one-fifth of a carat. In over 250 years, Christie’s has only sold four pink diamonds over 10 carats, so a nearly 19-carat fancy pink diamond is truly one-of-a-kind. The Winston Pink Legacy also has a pure pink color, with no secondary hues, adding to its rarity.
Harry Winston decided to introduce this gorgeous ring on the occasion of the famed jeweler’s 125th birthday because of an uncanny coincidence: he was born in 1896 and the diamond weighs exactly 18.96 carats. In keeping with Winston’s design philosophy of letting a stone’s beauty take center stage, the design is simple and elegant. Two shield-cut diamonds weighing 3.55 carats flank the pink diamond. The Winston Pink Legacy Ring is on display at the New York Salon from February 26 to March 1.
The History of Harry Winston
The legend of Harry Winston began when he was just 12 years old. The young boy was perusing a tray of jewelry at a pawn shop and realized a real two-carat emerald was mixed in among the costume jewelry. He cooly purchased it for 25 cents and promptly sold it for $800. This knack for finding stones in unusual places and recognizing their hidden beauty and potential set the stage for his career. For decades, Winston traversed the globe chasing down rumors of exceptional stones, buying entire estate jewelry collections, and acquiring the most famous diamonds in the world, earning him the nickname, King of Diamonds.
Winston burst onto the global stage by purchasing an exceptional 726-carat rough diamond, the Jonker, just three years after forming Harry Winston, Inc. This enormous diamond was eventually cut into 11 pieces, including the 126-carat emerald-cut Jonker diamond, taking the rough’s name. It was the first of many diamonds that Harry Winston would cut and set, as he could recognize the potential of rough diamonds and the untapped potential of previously cut diamonds. By taking them out of their settings, re-cutting and polishing them, and putting them in new pieces, Winston increased not just their beauty but their value. The notable roughs he acquired include the Lesotho, which yielded the 40.42-carat marquise diamond in Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ engagement ring.
Throughout the years, he acquired an impressive collection of famous gemstones, including the 95-carat Star of the East, 337-carat Catherine the Great sapphire, and the most famous of all, the 45-carat Hope Diamond. Winston didn’t hide his collection from the world. He said, “The love of showing off diamonds is human nature.” To share these famous gemstones, he set off on the cross-country Court of Jewels exhibition in 1949, with all proceeds benefiting local charities, and helped establish the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institute with the donation of the Hope Diamond.
Today, Harry Winston continues its legacy of extraordinary gemstones and diamonds, including several record-breaking fancy colored diamonds. In 2014, the house acquired the Winston Blue, a 13.22-carat flawless fancy-vivid blue diamond, considered the largest pear-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond. Most recently, the Pink Legacy diamond set a record for price per carat for a pink diamond when purchased for CHF 50,375,000, approximately $53 million, in 2018. It is the second-most-expensive pink diamond ever sold.
The Winston Cluster
With such a focus on the gemstones themselves, it’s no surprise that Winston placed stones at the center of his design with his trademarked cluster designs. At the time, it was revolutionary to let the stones dictate the design direction, rather than finding stones to suit a setting. He found that this approach increased the sparkle and brilliance of each stone. His first collection in this new design was the Winston Cluster, which remains an icon to this day. These clusters of diamonds mix different cuts, including round brilliant, pear, and marquise, set at different angles to catch more light, increasing their sparkle and brilliance. The Winston Cluster is timeless and elegant, as beautiful today as in the 1940s when Winston introduced the first pieces. The house has updated the design with different motifs throughout the years, including the Lily Cluster, Lotus Cluster, and Sparkling Cluster collections, and incorporating colored gemstones into the original designs.
After conquering the jewelry world, the house turned to timepieces. It has several collections of complicated mens’ and womens’ watches, as well as stunning high-jewelry masterpieces. Few houses are experts of both watchmaking and jewelry design, which sets Harry Winston apart. Some jewelry watches feature the Winston Cluster on the bracelet, while others are inspired by his use of movement and color in his pieces. There are also gorgeous secret watches for watches that double as jewelry, which hide petite watch dials beneath bejeweled cases, and high-jewelry watches that can be worn in several ways, including as a necklace.