Harry Winston

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Harry Winston (March 1, 1896 – December 28, 1978) was an American jeweler. He donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after owning it for a decade, and traded the Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1963.


Harry Winston's father Jacob started a small jewelry business after he and Harry's mother immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. He worked in his father's shop growing up, and legend has it that when he was just 12 years old, he recognized a two-carat emerald in a pawn shop, bought it for 25 cents, and sold it two days later for $800.

Winston's jewelry empire began with his acquisition of Arabella Huntington's famous jewelry collection. The wife of railroad magnate Henry Huntington, Arabella amassed one of the world's most prestigious collections of jewelry largely from Parisian jewelers such as Cartier.

When Winston purchased the collection after her death, the designs of the collection were quite old fashioned. Winston redesigned the jewelry into more contemporary styles and showcased his unique skill at jewelry crafting. According to the Huntington museum, "He frequently boasted that Arabella's famous necklace of pearls now adorned the necks of at least two dozen women around the world."

Winston was among the most famous jewelers in the world, well-known to the general public....
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