The History of the House
A timeline of the key moments and milestones that make up the House's incredible legacy.
1896 Harry Winston is born in New York City The son of immigrants, Winston grows up in modest surroundings and is exposed from an early age to the inner workings of his father's small jewelry shop on the city's west side.
1908 Discovering his passion At the age of 12, a young Winston spots a green stone in a tray of costume jewelry at a pawnshop. While the shop owner thought it was just a piece of glass, Winston knows it to be an emerald. Winston pays 25¢ to buy it along with one other stone, so as not to tip off the pawnshop owner. When Winston presents his purchase to his father, the elder Winston is sure that the stone is just a piece of glass, and is about to take a file to it when his son stops him just in time. A mere two days after the pawnshop discovery, young Winston re-sells the emerald for $800.
1909 Winston moves to the West Coast The Winston family moves to the West Coast and reopens their jewelry shop in Los Angeles. Winston continues to gain experience working under his father and after a few years decides to move back to New York to start building his empire.
1920 The Premier Diamond Company At the age of 24, Winston opens his first business: The Premier Diamond Company, located at 535 Fifth Avenue. As a newcomer in a one-man operation, he must stretch his resources and works tirelessly to build his business.
1920 Harry meets Edna In the late 1920s, while on a train to Atlantic City, Harry Winston meets a captivating lady named Edna Fleischman, who will ultimately become his wife.
1926 Harry Winston acquires the estate of Arabella Huntington Mrs. Huntington owned one of the century’s most important collections, famous for its ropes of pearls, and the purchase is negotiated for $1.2 million. Almost 90 years later, the Huntington estate would inspire the House's Belle Collection.
1932 Harry Winston, Inc. is founded in New York City By 1932, Winston has built a sterling reputation and his business soars to the upper echelon of the New York gem trade. By popular demand, he begins to manufacture jewelry under his own name, and opens the doors of Harry Winston, Inc.
1933 Harry and Edna wed After a long courtship, Harry Winston and Edna Fleischman are married in February 1933. Edna imparts a glamorous influence: her stylish aesthetic is often reflected in Harry Winston advertising.
1935 Harry Winston acquires the Jonker Diamond The 726 carat rough makes headlines across the globe. After much debate, Mr. Winston decides to send the stone to New York via registered mail, for $0.64. The Jonker results in twelve stones, with the largest weighing a 125.35 carats.
1940 Winston Cluster In the early 1940s, Harry Winston's design studio is led by Nevdon Koumrouyan, one of the industry's most revered artists, who helps to bring Harry Winston's iconic Winston Cluster motif to life.
1942 Harry Winston moves to 7 East 51st Street As his business grows, Winston moves into a townhouse adjacent to St. Patrick's Cathedral. The townhouse which holds the showroom, design studio, workshop, and loose stone division, is also home to the Winston family.
1943 The Stotesbury Emerald Harry Winston acquires one of the most important colored gemstone acquisitions of his career thus far: the Stotesbury Emerald, a remarkable 34.40 carat hexagonal-shaped Colombian emerald. The stone is named for its owner, Eva Stotesbury, a socialite and the wife of a prominent financier.
1946 The Briolette Mr. Harry Winston purchases a D-color briolette-shaped diamond weighing 90.38 carats from the widow of an American philanthropist. Winston would go on to re-purchase and sell this diamond several times to important collectors across the globe.
1947 King of Diamonds ""Cosmopolitan"" magazine bestows Harry Winston with a moniker that will follow him throughout his storied career: ""King of Diamonds.""
1948 The Duchess of Windsor Harry Winston meets the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for the first time. Prior to their meeting, The Duchess, an avid jewelry collector, sends Mr. Winston a letter stating, ""My friends tell me you have such wonderful things..."" The Duke and Duchess will go on to purchase several pieces of Harry Winston jewelry for their personal collection, including the famed McLean Diamond.
1949 The Court of Jewels As a dedicated philanthropist, Harry Winston tours many of his most precious and important diamonds and gemstones in a cross-country exhibition called ""The Court of Jewels,"" with proceeds benefitting leading local charitable organizations. The exhibition tours for four years, concluding in 1953. As Harry explains, ""I want the public to know more about precious gems.""
1950 The Winston Garden blooms Inspired by the symmetry and beauty of one of nature's most majestic blooms, Harry Winston and his designers first introduce the Sunflower motif.
1952 Winston amasses an impressive collection Life Magazine reports that Harry Winston owns the world's second largest collection of historic jewels. The largest collection is owned by the British royal family.
1953 Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend ""Gentleman Prefer Blondes"" is released. The film’s hit song ""Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,"" includes the famous line, “Talk to me Harry Winston! Tell me all about it!”
1955 Harry Winston, Inc. goes international Harry Winston opens his first international salon in Geneva, Switzerland. A salon in Paris, France, follows in 1957.
1958 Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as a gift to the world. The donation helps to establish the museum's National Gem Collection.
1960 The move to 718 Business continues at breakneck speed and it becomes clear that Winston requires more space to accommodate the growing needs of his clients. Planning commences and 718 Fifth Avenue will soon become the new home of Harry Winston, Inc. By his insurers' estimates, the move makes history as one of the single largest transfers of jewels ever to be arranged. The night before the move, Winston asks his staff to gather his ""favorite"" jewels so that he may pack them personally for the five-block trip up Fifth Avenue.
1966 The Taylor-Burton Harry Winston purchases a 241 carat piece of rough, which he has cut into a flawless 69.42 carat pear-shaped diamond. The remarkable stone is eventually purchased by actor Richard Burton for his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and renamed the Taylor-Burton Diamond.
1968 The Lesotho Harry Winston broadcasts, on live television, the cleaving of his latest rough diamond purchase, the 601 carat Lesotho. The Lesotho will eventually produce eighteen magnificent gems, including a 71.73 carat emerald-cut, and a 40.42 carat marquise diamond, purchased by Aristotle Onassis as an engagement ring for Jacqueline Kennedy.
1978 The end of an era Mr. Winston dies in New York City at the age of 82.
1988 Harry Winston opens in Japan Harry Winston opens its first salon in Tokyo.
1989 Harry Winston enters the world of fine watchmaking Harry Winston introduces its first collection of timepieces, the Premier Collection, whose title is a reemergence of the name of Mr. Winston’s first company.
1997 The Harry Winston Gallery The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. opens the Harry Winston Gallery - home to the famed Hope Diamond.
1999 Jeweler to the Stars Gwyneth Paltrow accepts the Best Actress award for her role in Shakespeare in Love, wearing a Harry Winston Princess Diamond Necklace. This iconic Hollywood moment reinforces the House's legacy as ""Jeweler to the Stars.
2001 Opus Harry Winston introduces the groundbreaking Opus Series, creating new limited edition timepieces in partnership with renowned horologists.
2004 East Asia Harry Winston opens its first salon in Taiwan.
2007 The Timepiece Manufacture Harry Winston opens a Timepiece Manufacture in Geneva, Switzerland.
2010 The Lily Cluster Collection blossoms Harry Winston launches the Lily Cluster Collection, a contemporary interpretation of the iconic Winston Cluster motif, inspired by the refined shape of lilies in bloom.
2013 The Winston Legacy Harry Winston, Inc. acquires the 101.73 carat Winston Legacy Diamond. The flawless, colorless pear-shaped stunner was described at the time by Christie's auction house as ""the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale at auction.
2014 The Winston Blue Harry Winston, Inc. purchases a rare 13.22 carat, flawless fancy vivid blue diamond at auction. Named the ""Winston Blue,"" the magnificent pear-shaped stone has been described as one of the largest of its kind.
2018 The Winston Pink Legacy The House acquires the unbelievably rare Winston Pink Legacy Diamond – a fancy vivid pink, 18.96 carat type IIa diamond.
2019 The Rockefeller-Winston Emerald The House of Harry Winston unveils a new setting for the Rockefeller-Winston Emerald - a superb 18.03 carat emerald that was once the property of the famed Rockefeller family.
The History of the House