Yellow Diamonds Take Centre Stage in Harry Winston's Autumn High Jewellery Collection
Harry Winston was never one to be fazed by precious gems of tremendous value. The jeweller was dubbed “King of Diamonds” and “Jeweller to the Stars”—and with good reason. His collections caught the attention of the 20th century’s most illustrious personalities. He started dressing celebrities as early as 1935, the same year that he purchased the Jonker diamond, which weighed an eye-watering 726 carats. Winston had the rough gemstone photographed with actresses Claudette Colbert and Shirley Temple before it was sliced and diced to make 12 individual stones, with the largest—an emerald cut—weighing in at an impressive 125.35 carats.
Later came the flawless 69-carat pear-shaped diamond that Richard Burton bought for his wife Elizabeth Taylor in 1969, and the Lesotho III ring that Aristotle Onassis proposed to Jacqueline Kennedy with. Heads of state, royal dignitaries and Hollywood stars have all since professed allegiance to the maison, but it’s the brand’s Winston Autumn high jewellery collection that currently has tongues wagging thanks, in part, to a rather glamorous showcase at Shanghai’s Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao, a 600-year-old courthouse that’s now a luxury hotel.
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Larger Than Life
Finding large diamonds is, of course, extremely rare and finding extra-large coloured diamonds even more so, which is why the Winston Autumn collection is such big news. Yellow diamonds serve as its focal point, having long held an important place in Harry Winston’s brand history. The company is known for its expertise in handling the jewels, which is why yellow diamonds continue to inspire designs today. Much rarer than run-of-the-mill white diamonds, a yellow diamond—first discovered during the late 1860s in South Africa—can fall outside the typical D-to-Z grading range and is, instead, assigned one of six Fancy grades to indicate its colour intensity.
Although scarce, yellow diamonds make up 60 per cent of all fancy coloured diamonds, so they don’t carry the same price premium as pinks or blues. Furthermore, the more nitrogen in the stone’s chemical make-up, the stronger its saturation of colour, which impacts the yellow diamond’s overall desirability. But whatever its shade, certain things ensure its value, including the expertise and craftsmanship that go into setting each stone, which is of the highest level with the Winston Autumn high jewellery collection.
Standout pieces include a very rare emerald-cut fancy-vivid yellow ring that weighs 25.53 carats, as well as a heart-cut yellow-diamond ring weighing 45.22 carats. Much softer than their bright white counterparts, these yellow diamonds add a warming luminosity to the skin that’s akin to candlelight. Undeniably romantic, the collection’s beauty was only emphasised by its surroundings at the showcase. An hour’s drive from Shanghai, Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao dates back to the Ming dynasty and has been beautifully restored. It’s the most decadent backdrop for the Winston Autumn collection’s 100 pieces that, when combined, weigh a total of 1,400 carats.
Despite the caramelised autumnal sunlight, grandiose location and distant tinkling of Chinese musical instruments, it was Harry Winston’s 80.07-carat radiant-cut yellow diamond ring that stole the show. The largest stone in the collection, and also the most expensive at a bank-busting HK$100 million, it’s indisputable evidence that, despite the universal beauty of white diamonds, yellow jewels offer a punch of personality that simply cannot be rivalled.
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