20:38:00

Harry Winston
Acquires the 101.73-
Carat Winston
Legacy Diamond

Harry Winston

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Hand Holding a Watch

On May 15, 2013, at 20 hours and 38 minutes, an extraordinary pear-shaped, D-color, Flawless diamond of 101.73 carats sold at Christie’s in Geneva for $26.7 million ($254.4 thousand per carat), thus becoming the most expensive colorless diamond ever sold at auction.

The buyer was Harry Winston, who was riding high after its acquisition by the Swatch Group, and who bestowed on this very important gemstone the name ‘Winston Legacy’ Diamond’. Christie’s auction house described the stone as “the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction.” It came from a 234-carat rough diamond discovered in a de Beers mine in Jwaneng, Botswana, and it took 21 months to polish before it was put on the auctioneer’s block. It joined the Lesotho and Hope diamonds in the house’s 80 years of diamond expertise. The outstanding rock was the top lot of the 300-lot Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction, which achieved $102.1 million, the highest total ever for a various-owner jewelry auction in a Christie’s auction. It included several world records for diamonds, pearls and sapphires. A total of 20 lots sold above $1 million, with 147 buyers coming from 31 countries across five continents, according to Christie’s.

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A brilliant Legacy “Incredible stones have always been fundamental to the Harry Winston DNA,” said Nayla Hayek, CEO of Harry Winston. “The acquisition of the ‘Winston Legacy’ underscores the brand’s continued commitment to perfection and quality at the highest level,” she added. Its purchase stresses the brand’s relentless commitment to the most rare and precious jewels of the world.

“A stone of this caliber and rarity is the perfect continuation of Mr. Winston’s legacy as the King of Diamonds,” Nayla Hayek said.

Harry Winston Diamond
Harry Winston Diamond

Rahul Kadakia, head of Jewelry, Christie’s Switzerland and Americas, added: “Harry Winston acquired the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction, ‘Winston Legacy,’ continuing the tradition of buying and selling only the very best, a trait of the founder Mr. Winston himself.” “Nature produces so few perfect stones,” Harry Winston said.

Therefore, every Winston diamond is carefully selected for its exquisite beauty and radiance. Once a rare gemstone has been found, the house’s master craftsmen and designers work hand-in-hand to create dazzling, one-of-a-kind jewels.

After acquiring the stone, CEO Nayla Hayek entrusted her diamond buyers with amassing a supply of D-color internally flawless stones. The result of this research was unveiled in 2017 with the Legacy Collection, comprising 22 one-of-a-kind designs featuring large D-color, internally flawless diamond center stones. “We wanted to create a series of jewels that reflected the heart of the brand and spoke to Mr. Winston’s true legacy,” said Hayek. “We went back to the way Harry himself used to create jewelry—designing pieces for individual stones rather than finding stones to fit particular designs.” The biggest challenge when creating the Legacy series was sourcing the 1,667 D-flawless and other top-quality models.

“Diamonds of this quality and caliber are incredibly rare, which is part of their value and desirability,” concluded Hayek.

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King of Diamonds

In 1932, Harry Winston, an intuitive gemologist and visionary businessman known throughout his life as the “King of Diamonds”, founded the eponymous brand in New York. He purchased his first important diamond, the Jonker, a 726-carat uncut rough diamond, in 1935, and the Vargas, a 726.60-carat rough diamond in Brazil in 1938.

During the 1940s, Harry Winston and his designers pioneered the technique of clustering, in which the individual diamonds, not the metal settings, dictated the jewelry design, thus emphasizing the brilliance of each gemstone. The iconic and still-inspiring design was named the Winston Cluster.

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The 1960s debuted with the brand’s move to 718 Fifth Avenue, the permanent home to Winston’s Flagship Salon, Design Studio and Archives, in one of the largest moves in jewelry history. In 1966, Harry Winston purchased a 241-carat diamond that he cut into an impeccable 69.42-carat pear-shaped stone, which was eventually purchased by actor Richard Burton for his then-wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and renamed the Taylor-Burton Diamond.

The brand’s founder passed away in New York in 1978, at the age of 82.

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winton timeline

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In 1944, Harry Winston became the “Jeweler to the Stars” when he lent diamonds to Academy Awards Best Actress winner Jennifer Jones. At the end of the decade, Winston acquired the complete jewelry collection of socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, including the Hope Diamond, once owned by Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, and toured some of his most exquisite diamonds and gemstones for four years in a cross-country exhibition called “The Court of Jewels”.

In 1952, Life magazine reported that Harry Winston owned the world’s second largest collection of historic jewels after the British royal family. He opened his first international salon in Geneva, Switzerland, and another one in Paris, France, two years later.

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Harry Winston entered the world of fine watchmaking in 1989, with a first collection of timepieces. At the dawn of the third millennium, in 2001, the brand inaugurated the trailblazing Opus Series, creating a new limited edition annually in partnership with renowned horologists.

In 2004, Harry Winston debuted the world’s first timepiece crafted in Zalium, an innovative, zirconium-based alloy. Three years later, the brand opened a Timepiece Manufacture in Geneva, Switzerland, the watchmaking capital of the world.

In 2009, Winston unveiled the New York Collection, inspired by the glamour of Manhattan, and also debuted Histoire de Tourbillon, a collection of timepieces dedicated to the complex craftsmanship of this fine watchmaking complication.

A year later, Harry Winston introduced the Lily Cluster Collectiom, a modern interpretation of the iconic Winston Cluster motif, inspired by the delicate and elegant shape of lilies in bloom.

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In 1932, Harry Winston, an intuitive gemologist and visionary businessman known throughout his life as the “King of Diamonds”, founded the eponymous brand in New York. He purchased his first important diamond, the Jonker, a 726-carat uncut rough diamond, in 1935, and the Vargas, a 726.60-carat rough diamond in Brazil in 1938.

During the 1940s, Harry Winston and his designers pioneered the technique of clustering, in which the individual diamonds, not the metal settings, dictated the jewelry design, thus emphasizing the brilliance of each gemstone. The iconic and still-inspiring design was named the Winston Cluster.

winston-timeline-2.png

In 1944, Harry Winston became the “Jeweler to the Stars” when he lent diamonds to Academy Awards Best Actress winner Jennifer Jones. At the end of the decade, Winston acquired the complete jewelry collection of socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, including the Hope Diamond, once owned by Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, and toured some of his most exquisite diamonds and gemstones for four years in a cross-country exhibition called “The Court of Jewels”.

In 1952, Life magazine reported that Harry Winston owned the world’s second largest collection of historic jewels after the British royal family. He opened his first international salon in Geneva, Switzerland, and another one in Paris, France, two years later.

winston-timeline-1.png

The 1960s debuted with the brand’s move to 718 Fifth Avenue, the permanent home to Winston’s Flagship Salon, Design Studio and Archives, in one of the largest moves in jewelry history. In 1966, Harry Winston purchased a 241-carat diamond that he cut into an impeccable 69.42-carat pear-shaped stone, which was eventually purchased by actor Richard Burton for his then-wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and renamed the Taylor-Burton Diamond.

The brand’s founder passed away in New York in 1978, at the age of 82.

Group_133.png

In 1944, Harry Winston became the “Jeweler to the Stars” when he lent diamonds to Academy Awards Best Actress winner Jennifer Jones. At the end of the decade, Winston acquired the complete jewelry collection of socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, including the Hope Diamond, once owned by Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, and toured some of his most exquisite diamonds and gemstones for four years in a cross-country exhibition called “The Court of Jewels”.

In 1952, Life magazine reported that Harry Winston owned the world’s second largest collection of historic jewels after the British royal family. He opened his first international salon in Geneva, Switzerland, and another one in Paris, France, two years later.

During the following years, the brand launched more high-jewelry collections such as Ultimate Adornments and Water by Harry Winston, and it set a new standard in 2013, when it acquired the 101.73 Winston Legacy diamond, a flawless pear-shaped gem described by Christie’s auction house as “the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction”. A year later, it purchased the Winston Blue diamond, considered the world’s largest of its kind.

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Image credit: harrywinston.com