Gems of New York: Harry Winston

The new collection from jeweller Harry Winston pays homage to the bright lights of the founder’s home city

Watches & Jewellery 18 Dec 2019

The new Harry Winston collection is inspired by New York
In the Harry Winston workshop
The marble of Harry Winston's Fifth Avenue salon inspired part of the collection
The majestic chandelier in the Harry Winston salon on First Avenue was an inspiration

Jeweller Harry Winston has always embodied the spirit of New York as, after all, it’s where the eponymous founder was born, raised and founded his business. In a precious love letter to New York, Harry Winston designers have encapsulated the vitality and energy of the city, as the epicentre of glamour, excitement and style. New York has been a source of inspiration for designers at the brand since it first opened its doors in 1932, and they continue to find impressive and creative ways to carry on the house’s romance with the city.

The New York Collection of one-offs, all made in platinum, explores the urban landscape and brings to life its neighbourhoods, architectural nuances and landmarks that shaped Harry Winston’s life. The nine sub-collections are contemporary interpretations of the connection with the jewellery house’s roots, dug deep into the texture of the metropolis. Each presents a distinctive aesthetic, and showcases the pioneering craftsmanship and setting techniques that the house has developed over the decades.

Clockwise from top left Marble Marquetry ring; Cathedral Earrings; Chandelier ring; Eagle earrings
Clockwise from top left Marble Marquetry ring; Cathedral Earrings; Chandelier ring; Eagle earrings

Brownstone is a tribute to the historical terraced houses of the Upper West Side where Harry was born in 1896. Recalling the stately architecture of Manhattan, baguette-cut, round brilliant and marquise-shaped diamonds, accented by colourful square-cut gemstones, are arranged in a geometric motif on a long, pendant necklace with matching earrings, composed of sugar loaf turquoise with blue sapphires, and a fusion of blue and yellow sapphires

Heading southwards, St Patrick’s Cathedral was also important in Winston’s life: his first retail location at 7 East 51st Street was directly across from the impressive Neo-Gothic structure and he would have an unobstructed view every working day. The Cathedral Necklace and Earrings featuring pear-shaped emeralds pay homage to this central landmark.

Harry Winston married in 1933, and he and his wife Edna were regularly seen at society events and Broadway shows. When Winston was promoting his travelling exhibition, The Court of Jewels, he asked leading Broadway stars to pose in his sparkling jewels for the official programme. In so doing, he demonstrated his canny marketing sense and kick-started the now ubiquitous practice for designers to adorn celebrities in their creations. Reimagining the lively lights of Broadway, The City Lights pieces, inspired by the Winstons’ passion for theatre, recreate its glamour, combining coloured diamonds with vibrant precious gemstones, twinkling like the illuminated signs on Broadway.

From left Brownstone necklace in sapphire; Central Park Mosaic earrings
From left Brownstone necklace in sapphire; Central Park Mosaic earrings

The main artery of Manhattan’s beating heart has to be Fifth Avenue. Along its route, the thoroughfare bears witness to many different architectural styles, which inspired the designers, capturing the elegance and worldly influences found along it in the Fifth Avenue jewel suites. Central Park, a few blocks away from the Harry Winston flagship store, always provided a verdant haven for Winston and his designers, who found inspiration in nature. Referencing the diverse landscape found there, the Central Park Mosaic earrings, bracelet and ring include the organic colour palette of emeralds, aquamarines, sapphires and diamonds, painting a bird’s-eye view of the panorama.

In the mid-1960s Harry Winston moved his company to 718 Fifth Avenue, and restyled the building in a grand 18th-century French style. The 718 sub-series of jewellery celebrates the historic charm of the flagship salon, which had a gilded bronze chandelier that lit up the room. Also in this collection, the 718 Marble Marquetry series is inspired by the black and white marble detailing in the atelier, elegantly recreated in diamond and sapphires.

Grand Central Depot (Grand Central Station) was an important landmark for Winston and his work. He would often travel by railway to source rare stones, and met his wife Edna on board a train. The station’s entrance was adorned with cast-iron eagles – a familiar landmark in the early 90s, which the Harry Winston team have artistically expressed with the Eagle sub series, comprising earrings set with white and yellow diamonds, depicting a bird in flight.

King of Diamonds, king of the hill, it’s an immensely valuable valentine to Winston’s hometown.