A Stunning Sapphire and Diamond Fringe Necklace by Harry Winston
by Simon Teakle on July 1st, 2009
Legend has it that when Harry Winston was just twelve years old, he recognized a two-carat emerald in a pawnshop, bought it for twenty-five cents and sold it two days later for eight hundred dollars. For Winston, it is just the first tale in a storied career of one of the truly great American jewelry designers.
At the age of twenty-four, Winston opened his first business in New York City known as the Premier Diamond Company. Twelve years later, he founded the company that bears his namesake and began to manufacture his own jewelry designs.
By 1950, Winston was acknowledged as the uncontested “King of Diamonds”, owning, at one time or another, as many as one-third of all the famous diamonds in the world, including the Idol’s Eye, the Crown of Charlemagne and the Briolette of India. In addition, Winston was responsible for the cutting of numerous famous diamonds, including the Jonker, the Taylor-Burton, the Star of Sierra Leone and the Vargas, and he donated three important diamonds to the Smithsonian: the Hope, the Portuguese and the Oppenheimer.
In 1978, Winston passed away, but his legacy lives on in the enduring power of his vintage jewelry. There is a glamour and excitement to his designs and lifestyle, which combined to make him the most famous jeweler in the world.
Terry Betteridge recalls riding Winston’s famous triangular elevator to his Fifth Avenue office in New York City with his Dad, “When I visited Winston in Manhattan, it was like visiting the Wizard of Oz. He was more than just a talented jewelry designer; Winston was an entertainer who found a way to make his diamonds and company seem magical.”
A trademark of Winston’s jewelry style is light open platinum settings that give the appearance of diamonds floating on air. This technique is seen in this magnificent sapphire fringe necklace, in which a series of perfectly matched natural sapphires are suspended from light flexible articulated lines of platinum-set colorless diamonds. This creates powerful yet distinctly feminine jewelry.