17 November 2010 At 'The Court of Jewels" in New York last night, Harry Winston presented $1 billion worth of diamonds, the star of which, was undoubtedly the Hope Diamond in its brand new setting called "Embracing Hope". And so it was that the Harry Winston salon on 5th Avenue in New York was host to one of the world's most fabled diamonds. The 45.52-carat dark blue Hope Diamond was out for the night, freed from its secure home at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. And it sure was in some swell and swanky company. Halle Berry was there wearing not the expected knock out diamond necklace but four Harry Winston bracelets adding up to a hefty 130 carats between them. On her ears were a pair of relatively discreet diamond hoop earrings. Georgina Chapman was there to have a look at the famous diamond as well as Leighton Meester looking very gamine and to the diamond born. She wore a triple strand necklace of 50-carats of diamonds with a carefree, pink-cheeked fresh from the estate look about her. But let's not get carried away with the party and pretty people but focus on the Hope diamond that in 1958 Mr Winston donated to the Smithsonian in Washington. To celebrate the half century anniversary of the donation, the diamond was re-set in Harry Winston's New York workshops: think men hunched over wooden work benches tapping and filing away for months on end. Of the three designs presented by Harry Winston, the people of America voted for the setting called "Embracing Hope". The diamond, discovered in India's Kollur mine in the 1600's that came to belong to Marie Antoinette, is now nestled amongst a ribbon of white diamonds that swirl around the neck. The Hope Diamond will remain in this setting for one-year. An event was laid on befitting of the presence of this star diamond. Looking back to the optimism of the 1950's martini years, Harry Winston recreated an event known as "The Court of Jewels". From 1949 to 1953 the house created a collection of jaw-dropping gems that toured the major cities of America. I can just see the chic ladies in their lacquered coiffures and pointy shoes, smoking over the jewels and winking heavily mascara-ed lashes at the handsome men in sharp suits and spindly ties. But this was not just about fun for the élite, all the money collected from the admissions was donated to charity. And then Mr. Winston made perhaps his most selfless and globally encompassing gesture: he donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, as a gift to the world. For the event last night, $1 billion worth of beautiful diamonds, new and vintage jewellery and gorgeous people were assembled. And here is the third facet of this artfully orchestrated evening. Frédéric de Narp, President and CEO of Harry Winston echoed the generosity of Mr Winston by announcing a new charity called the "Harry Winston Hope Foundation". The foundation will donate a minimum of 5% of the company's pre-tax profits to educational causes. The inaugural gift will be given, as is fitting, to the Smithsonian. I am sure that announcement was cheered with more than tinkle or two of raised champagne flutes.
Leighton Meester wearing Harry Winston at Court of Jewels
Halle Berry wearing Harry Winston at the Court of Jewels in New York
Frédéric de Narp,President & CEO, Harry Winston & Halle Berry at Court of Jewels