It’s hard to mention Harry Winston without associating him with Hollywood films and stars. He is not known as “jeweler to the stars” without reason.
The son of a Ukrainian immigrant, Harry Winston’s diamond empire began when, at age 30, he bought the jewelry collection of the late Arabella Huntington, wife of two railway magnates and, at one time, the richest woman in America. He reset many of the old-fashioned jewelry into new designs and made a name for himself in the 1920’s.
But it wasn’t until 1943 that he took the first step to ally himself with Hollywood when Winston loaned jewelry to actress Jennifer Jones for the Academy Awards. That singular visionary act has since become a tradition, a great way to market Harry Winston jewels, and a bond between Hollywood and Harry Winston that has outlived the man himself.
He further cemented his ties with Hollywood when, a decade later, Marilyn Monroe wore Harry Winston jewelry while famously singing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Harry Winston passed away in 1998 leaving his diamond jewelry empire to his two sons. In 2013, the Swiss watch company, Swatch, bought the Harry Winston company for $750 million.
Harry Winston may be gone but the tradition of wearing Harry Winston on the red carpet and in films lived on.
In 2002, in one of the countless variations of the Cinderella story, a hotel chambermaid posing as a socialite attends a black-tie event wearing a Harry Winston diamond necklace with matching earrings. The chambermaid, Marisa, was played by Jennifer Lopez. The impersonation began as a misunderstanding but, after falling in love with a senatorial candidate (Ralph Fiennes) who had no idea about her real station in life, Marisa went on with the impersonation. With the other hotel employees abetting the romance, Marisa managed to “borrow” a gown, shoes, purse, limo and jewelry to attend the party. The movie is Maid in Manhattan.
A year later, Kate Hudson wore one of the most well-known Harry Winston diamonds in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.
The Isadora, named after dancer Isadora Duncan, is an 84-carat yellow diamond that, just a year earlier, was worn by Whoopi Golberg when she hosted the Academy Awards. There’s nothing really memorable about How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days with its ridiculous storyline except for the party where guests were encouraged to try on the jewelry on display — “frost” themselves, literally. And frost themselves they did.