Inspired by the world’s most perfect pear-shaped diamond, the House of Harry Winston embarked on a three-year journey to create a collection unrivalled in scale, writes Emilie Yabut-razon
Inspired by the world’s most perfect pear-shaped diamond, the House of Harry Winston embarked on a three-year journey to create a collection unrivalled in scale
We first heard of The Winston Legacy, a 101.73-carat pear-shaped diamond, back in 2013. Heralded by the Christie’s auction house as “the most perfect diamond ever offered for sale,” the internally flawless, colourless stone, cut from a 236-carat rough discovered at Botswana’s Jwaneng mine, was acquired by the House of Harry Winston for US$26.7 million. Inspired by this perfect diamond, the house’s team of gemmologists, designers and craftsmen created the Legacy collection, a 22-piece series that uses only large D colour—that is, colourless—internally flawless diamonds as the focal point of its pieces. The designs reference iconic jewellery from the Harry Winston archives, specifically works by two of its most prolific designers. Jewellery connoisseurs will agree that a collection of this calibre, the world’s largest incorporating only D colour, internally flawless diamonds, comes along only once in a lifetime.
The Legacy collection, which took three years to complete, conveys Harry Winston’s lifetime obsession with the pursuit of the perfect diamond. With a true passion for gems, he instinctively knew whether a great diamond lay within just by looking at the rough. And throughout his career, he employed people who had the same passion and instinct.
Among them were Maurice Galli and Ambaji Shinde. Italian-born Galli worked as a jewellery designer for Tiffany & Co, Van Cleef & Arpels and David Webb before he joined Harry Winston in 1967, while Indianborn Shinde had nearly 20 years of experience designing pieces for maharajahs before he joined the house in 1962.
As Harry Winston’s chief designers, Galli and Shinde had a friendly and collaborative relationship, and their ideas became the cornerstones of the house. Shinde was highly technical and meticulous, his designs displaying the exuberance of the royal Indian jewellery that launched his career. Galli, who was an engineer before he turned to jewellery design, had a knack for creating bespoke pieces and enjoyed interacting with the house’s high-profile clients, who included socialites, royalty and Hollywood’s A-list. One of his most lauded creations was a turquoise and diamond tiara and earrings for Farah Diba, the last empress of Iran.
Together, the two designers transformed gemstones into fine art, and it is from their most iconic designs that the phenomenal pieces of the Legacy collection were imagined. The collection’s Asia launch took place at Harry Winston’s new boutique in Taipei, with all 22 pieces flown in and unveiled during a meaningful ballet performance, followed by a gala dinner and entertainment by the a cappella ensemble Metro Vocal Group and veteran Taiwanese pop singer Jonathan Lee.
DELICATE Touch A master craftsman works on the settings of necklace
DROP DRAMA Necklace with a 34.27-carat D colour, internally flawless pearshaped diamond drop and 103 round, pear-shaped and marquise diamonds (60.82 carats) set in platinum; ring with a 10.5-carat D colour, internally flawless pearshaped diamond with six marquise diamonds, both by the House of Harry Winston
LASTING HERITAGE Images of Harry Winston’s historic diamond collection hang on the walls of the house’s newly opened boutique at Taipei 101 (below)