Harry Winston was the first jeweller to bring the sparkle of diamonds to the red carpet. And as we warm up for awards season, a little history about how this most American of jewellers changed the red carpet forever.
As early as 1943 Harry Winston was showering diamonds on the stars to wear in front of the cameras at the Academy Awards as it was the visionary Harry Winston who first thought of lending diamonds to the actress Jennifer Jones, the screen siren du jour. Jones was perfect for the task; all milky white skin, glossy black hair and fire-engine red lips.
When Jones stepped out onto the red carpet on her way to collect an Oscar at the Academy Awards for her role in "The Song of Bernadette" the photographers' flashes bounced off the Harry Winston jewels draped around the star and the talk was as much about the award as those rocks. Though it may have been but a few dainty steps, Harry and Jennifer changed the look of the red carpet forever and today no Oscar moment is complete without the flash of a diva's smile and the sparkle of to die for jewels.
The tradition of dressing leading ladies in gorgeous gems continued. In 1947 Katherine Hepburn wore the 15th century Inquisition Necklace on loan from Harry Winston. Halle Berry made history in 2001 when she wore Harry Winston's rare Pumpkin Diamond as she collected her Oscar for Best Actress and made history as the first African-American to do so.
Since then the most beautiful women and talented actresses have turned to Harry when they need a very special something to accompany them up the red carpet. Sophia Loren, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez and most recently Adele have all added extra dazzle to their most celebrated moments with a Harry Winston diamond.
Harry Winston is of course known for his knock-out diamonds but it is not just about the most perfect stones. The house style is heavily influenced by the work of the late designer Ambaji Shinde (1917-2003) who inspired by the energy of New York, freed diamonds from their heavy metal settings and let them dance in what is called the 'Cluster' style, a setting that combines a mix of pear, marquis and round cut diamonds. The various shapes, all set at different angles capture maximum brilliance and the effect is of an abundance of scintillating sparkles.
Shinde also mixed the richness of colour of the jewels of the Maharajas from his home land with the 1950's modernity of New York that appealed to the cocktail set with audaciously sexy "swimming pool" size diamond rings. This exuberance of spirit combined with perfect and generously proportioned diamonds is surely what makes Harry Winston the perfect match for divas as they step from limousine to the red carpet and shower the crowds with light with their every move.