Sunday, February 27, 2011

...and the Oscar goes to Harry Winston

"Talk to me Harry Winston, tell me all about it"
Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds Are A Girls' Best Friend

We are counting down to Hollywood's biggest night: the Academy Award ceremony.

Since the 1943 Academy Awards, when Harry Winston outfitted the lady of the night, Jennifer Jones, with her jewelry, Winston has lent the who's who of Hollywood royalty that extra sparkle--and, some say, a lucky charm--on the night of nights. Each year, Winston lends a staggering $200 million worth of jewelry to celebrities. As those very celebrities walk down the red carpet dressed in the likes of Gucci, Versace or Cavalli, one other name is always implied: Harry Winston, jeweler to the stars.

For this year's Oscars, celebrities collectively borrowed $40 million worth of jewelry from the exclusive designer. For 71st Annual Academy Awards, host Whoppi Goldberg alone added that extra sparkle with $41 million in Winston jewelry--including a rumored $15 million diamond ring. Halle Berry was wearing Harry Winston's famous Pumpkin Diamond Ring (the world's largest vivid-orange diamond ring), worth $3 million, when she accepted her Oscar; and Elizabeth Taylor, the queen of diamonds herself, was also loaned $3 million worth of jewelry for Oscar night.

In 1950, Harry Winston, the namesake of the House, was nicknamed by the press "The King of Diamonds"; and with good reason! Winston got his start in the jewelry business when at the age of 12. In 1908, he purchased a glass stone for $2, he later sold that same stone for $800.  It turns out it was an emerald. In 1920 he organized his first business, "The Premier Diamond Company" in New York City. In 1932, Winston acquired the jewelry collection of Rebecca Stoddard for $1 million. The early thirties saw Winston transition from wholesaler to retailer when he opened the first "Harry Winston" in New York City.

Winston has held more of the world's most famous jewels than any other group, with the exception of the British Crown. Although Winston does have some competition in Hollywood, with other retailers looking to outfit the stars on Oscar night, the King of Diamonds is likely to prevail over any competition and remain the premier jeweler to the stars.


A Modern Mother said...

We're looking forward to them too! Glad to see that the only two (non-kid) films that I've seen at the cinema in the past three years are vying for first place.

PS -- my mom's family is from Locarano!

Expatwithkids said...

Wow. What a small world.
Enjoy the show. I'll stay up all night to watch it! ;)

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