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Harry Winston in 5 Fascinating Facts

Words by Eleanor Hibberd

Famed for its bounty of the world’s rarest diamonds, Harry Winston needs little introduction – there are, however, many facets to the house’s sparkling world that you may not be aware of. A treasure trove of stories, waiting to be told. Read on for five fascinating facts about this quintessential New York jeweller and its incomparable founder, and discover Harry Winston at Harrods in Fine Jewellery on the Ground Floor.

Harry Winston holding jewels in hand
King of Diamonds


Having cut his teeth at his father’s jewellery shop from the age of 15, Harry Winston displayed an early talent for spotting spectacular jewels. In 1947, his skill had him crowned by Cosmopolitan as ‘King of Diamonds’ – a name befitting of the innate gemologist, and one by which he and his eponymous house would be forever known. Rightly so. Mr. Winston spent his career travelling the world in search of diamonds in the rough, retrieving record-breaking stones and transforming them into works of art at the hands of his unrivalled craftsmen. It is said that more than one third of the world’s most exquisite diamonds passed through his hands during his glittering tenure.

Winston Legacy


In 2013, 35 years after the founder’s passing, Harry Winston acquired a most spectacular jewel – a rare 101.73 carat pear-shaped diamond discovered in Botswana, honed from a 236 carat rough diamond into an absolutely flawless and colourless gem. Considered to be the most perfect diamond to have ever been sold at auction, its creation was testament to Mr. Winston’s illustrious and lasting influence at the New York house. The diamond was named ‘Winston Legacy’ in tribute to the founder’s lifelong pursuit of perfection.

Close of model wearing jewellery
The Beauty of Nature


The inspiration for Mr. Winston’s most emblematic design came to him one snowy December night, when he marvelled at a holly wreath glistening with fresh snowflakes and frost. Observing how the intertwining leaves, not the branches, were the essence of the wreath’s beautiful sculpture, he was inspired to change his approach to jewellery design. Instead of their metal settings, diamonds in all their natural beauty would henceforth dictate Harry Winston designs, giving rise to an innovative new technique that clustered pear, marquise, and round-brilliant cuts together for a three-dimensional effect. Known as ‘Winston Cluster’, it cemented the natural world as a cornerstone of Harry Winston design, and remains one of the house’s most iconic and coveted collections.

Close up of models wearing watches
Fine Jewellery Meets Luxury Watchmaking


In 1989, Harry Winston brought its unrivalled repertoire of gems and jewellery expertise into the world of watchmaking – and has never looked back. The intricate art of horology is elevated further by the house’s unmistakable DNA, from the Emerald collection, which takes the octagonal shape of Mr. Winston’s favourite diamond cut, to one-of-a-kind high jewellery timepieces. Harry Winston has even developed its own custom-made alloys for fine watches, Zalium and Winstonium. The first is a zirconium-based alloy that’s corrosion-resistant and lighter than steel; the second, a special platinum with added rhodium, which allows for an even shinier finish.

A Legacy of Love


Most prospective fiancé(e)s will be schooled on the four Cs of diamonds – carat, clarity, colour and cut – before buying an engagement ring, but Harry Winston goes one step further for a truly romantic gesture. Its bridal offering is defined by a fifth C – character. Knowing that stones can claim similar attributes but vary greatly in beauty and personality, Harry Winston looks beyond grading qualities to select diamonds of unique character for its exceptional bridal pieces. One of a kind, just like your beloved. No wonder, then, that Harry Winston has been behind some of the most famous engagements in history. Perhaps the most iconic of all was Jackie O’s 40 carat marquise-cut Lesotho III diamond, which had been cleaved from a magnificent 601-carat diamond on live television in 1968.

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