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King of Diamonds
Harry Winston

Harry Winston (1896-1978) was born into a family with a modest jewelry business in New York City. His mother died when he was seven years old, and his father eventually moved the family to California to open a jewelry store in Los Angeles. Harry dropped out of school at the age of 15 to assist with the family business. He was able to save up enough money to move back to New York and open his own wholesale company. He became involved in purchasing and reselling antique and estate jewelry for profit and by 1932 had earned enough to establish Harry Winston, Inc. In 1933, Harry married Edna Fleishman, who eventually became involved in his business.

Winston was passionate about diamonds and gemstones, devoting his life and career to them. A patriotic citizen, Winston believed that the United States deserved a major national gem collection. Winston began a conversation with the Smithsonian Institution about building such a collection, eventually donating the Hope Diamond and other impressive gems. Winston thought that the Hope could serve as a focal point for the national gem collection, stimulating additional donations (Patch 1999).

Creator Alfred Eisenstadt
Source Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Portrait of Harry Winston

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