‘I love the diamond business. It’s a Cinderella world. It has everything! People! Drama! Romance!...What more could you want?’ So said Harry Winston in The New Yorker on 8 May, 1954. The Harry Winston diamond cluster earrings are perhaps the greatest embodiment of this sentiment from the King of Diamonds. One of the most recognizable and beloved jewelry designs of the 20th and 21st Centuries, the creation of this design was truly revolutionary.
Harry Winston’s love of diamonds and their inherent beauty led to the creation of jewelry where the gemstone played a primary role, functioning as both the design element and the design itself. The cluster motif is based on setting fancy shaped diamonds at different angles to each other and within different planes, thereby amplifying the attributes that make diamonds the most prized gem of all. By setting the diamonds in this way, it allows the viewer to see only the fire, brilliance and spectral color emanating from each diamond and colliding into one another to create an unbelievably dramatic effect.
‘I love the diamond business. It’s a Cinderella world. It has everything! People! Drama! Romance!...What more could you want?’ The New Yorker, 8 May, 1954
A Pair of Diamond Cluster Ear Clips, by Harry Winston. Offered in the Magnificent Jewels sale on 10 December at Christie’s New York
The Winston cluster is considered by many to be the ‘little black dress’ of a classic jewelry wardrobe. They are the most versatile pair of earrings one could wear, having the ability to suspend drops of any type of stone, as well as being perfect when worn on their own. Mr. Winston also discovered that when mounted in a pattern these clusters created a wonderful wreath of diamonds that are as timeless today as when they were first envisioned over 70 years ago.
Beautiful examples are seen in the wreath necklace (lot 475) and crescent brooch (lot 478). Mr. Winston also chose to use small clusters as accents, helping to frame and enhance whatever exceptional stone was chosen to be the centerpiece of a particular jewel. The emerald and diamond brooch (lot 479) is a wonderful example of this design and the fabulous fancy colored diamond ring (lot 476) is a wonderful example of how a simple cluster element in the form of a butterfly can turn a beautiful Winston diamond into an extraordinary jewel.
A Pair of Diamond Ear Clips, by Harry Winston. Offered in the Magnificent Jewels sale on 10 December at Christie’s New York
A Diamond Necklace, by Harry Winston. Offered in the Magnificent Jewels sale on 10 December at Christie’s New York
The diamond cluster ear clips offered here (lot 474) are one of the largest created by the House of Winston and the largest known to appear at auction. Examples can be found in various sizes and through its design each pair takes on an impressive presence in its own right; an example that is represented perfectly in lot 477.
Harry Winston was the first American jeweler to consistently focus on mounting diamonds and gemstones in discrete settings to create elegant and clean designs, resulting in what is known as the ‘Winston Look’. The cluster and wreath elements are the two most significant designs that define this look and made Harry Winston not only famous as the King of Diamonds, but also helped create a jewelry legacy that will last for generations.