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Beautifully dressed windows, the most elegant stores located in the most fabulous locations and a backstory that sparkles are brightly as their diamonds; yes, I am of course talking about the legendary Harry Winston. While Tiffany’s may roll off the tongue thanks to Audrey Hepburn’s elegant portrayal of Holly Golightly, it was Marilyn Monroe who name dropped Harry Winston in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – whichever iconic beauty you prefer, it is safe to say Harry Winston created a league of his own.
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The House of Harry Winston was founded in 1932 beneath the bright lights of New York City. Harry Winston was a gemmologist with an innate ability for business; his approach to jewelry placed a focus on the diamonds and gemstones, allowing them to guide the overall design of the piece instead to the metal work. This innovative method, combined with an intrinsic attention to detail and inherent understanding of the diamond market, placed Harry firmly at the top of his game. In 1935, he acquired his first significant diamond, the Jonker, a 726-carat uncut rough diamond.
Harry Winston was the original jeweler to the stars. In the 1940’s he began loaning and gifting diamond jewelry to the biggest names in Hollywood, and this recognition of celebrity influence in defining a brand is as significant today as it was then. The famous Taylor-Burton diamond, was cut by Harry himself into a 62.42ct pear shaped diamond.
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Harry acquired some of the world’s most beautiful and historical diamonds (including the Hope diamond) but, a philanthropist to his core, he donated most of these throughout his life time.
After his death in 1978, Harry Winston’s son Ronald took over the business, continuing the glittering legacy that Harry had left behind.
Harry Winston diamonds are, undeniably, incredible. Surpassing Tiffany’s by a country mile, these diamonds are the best of the best and they have the price tags to match.
All of the 4C’s are within the top range – you will find not anything outside of the ‘colorless’ range or below VVS. There is also an acute attention to the cut and the settings are unlike anything you will see anywhere else in the world…well, you get the picture.
So, what could be the downfall? For most, it will be price. As expected of a jewelry house of this magnitude, there is a premium. You are paying for a big name, after all. I feel at the very least, you know you will walk out of Harry Winston’s with a knockout diamond providing you have the bank balance to do so. A premium does not always guarantee a beautiful diamond, but in this case, it certainly does.
Perhaps you are willing to swallow the premium to have the experience; this is the governing factor for most buyers choosing to go for a bricks and mortar store over buying online.
If you’re budget was $20,000 and you were desperate for an in-store experience and a big-name diamond, you could walk out of Tiffany’s with an engagement ring. In Harry Winston’s, $20,000 isn’t going to cut it – in fact you would struggle with $50,000. I would suggest a realistic budget for a Harry Winston engagement ring (or indeed, any other piece of jewelry) would be a minimum of $100,000. Any less, and you might find a very small D-VVS within your budget that after viewing the Harry Winston collections, is likely to feel a little underwhelming.
Harry Winston know luxury. They know how to treat customers with respect and do so elegantly. Their staff are highly knowledgeable and friendly and their stores manage to be understated yet opulent all in one package. Harry Winston also know money. They know that the people with money in their wallet don’t always wear in on their wrist – by that I mean, there is no snobbery. There will be no judgements if you show up to a store without your 3-piece suit.
The Final Word
While I have sung the praises of Harry Winston, we must for a moment settle back into the reality that most of us do not have $100,000+ to spend on a diamond and we should not be disheartened by this fact. The wonder of online diamond vendors has created an incredible market for stunning diamonds that are within a realistic budget.
I would argue that A CUT ABOVE®diamonds from Whiteflash can comfortably supersede the beauty of a Harry Winston diamond and they provide the diamond light performance images to back this up. Whiteflash also have a far better trade up policy. If you have any additional questions please contact me directly.