Harry Winston such a well-known name outside of the diamond industry that numerous books have been written about his legacy and the many famous stones and people he was associated with. He became known as the "jeweler to the stars" with his focus on the Hollywood A-list. The list of magnificent and important diamonds that he bought and sold in his lifetime trumps anyone else in history. Through his brilliant marketing with famous celebrities, he made diamonds a coveted treasure of their fans, which continues to this day.
He was born in New York in 1896, six years after his parents emigrated from Ukraine. His father Jacob set up a small workshop and jewelry repair business, and Harry worked there as a child while going to school. His mother passed away when he was seven, and the family moved to California to establish an outlet in Hollywood. He learned the jewelry and gem trade at a very early age. As legend has it, at the age of 12, he bought a ring from a pawnshop 'junk tray' for $0.25. He realized that the ring held a 2-carat emerald, which he apparently sold a few days later for $800.