Photo: Harry Winston
The extravagant blue stone proves that this jewellery house doesn't necessarily have to focus only on diamonds...
Harry Winston was often called the King of Diamonds thanks to his knack for buying some of the rarest stones ever discovered, from the 726-carat Yonker to the 94.8-carat Evalyn Walsh McLean Star of the East. It's a reputation that has endured throughout the jewellery magnate's lifetime, with recent brand acquisitions including the flawless, colourless 101.73-carat Winston Legacy acquired in 2013 and the vibrant 18.96-carat Winston Legacy Pink in 2018. The latest gem to take in to consideration is the Winston Sapphire Legacy, a 43.1 carat Kashmir sapphire set in platinum that adorns the brand's latest decadent necklace, decorated with a total of 67.5 carats of assorted diamonds.
Sapphires of this size are extremely rare – especially when we are talking about the Kashmir variety. According to Benoît Repellin, head of jewellery at Phillips auction house, the stones were originally discovered after a landslide in the Himalayan mountains of Kashmir in the early 1880s and were first used by locals to trade and exchange for salt and other consumer goods; after traders recognized their value, the Maharaja sent troops to protect and control the mines. And although the gem's exhumation operation was exhausted by the end of that century, the project yielded some of the finest sapphires on earth.
"For connoisseurs and collectors, the most distinctive feature of Kashmir sapphires, what elevates them above all other gems, is their unique combination of rich, intense blue with a soft and velvety appearance," Repellin says. "Finding a large crystal from these mines is a real discovery, and the combination of velvety blue colour, good clarity, large dimensions and important weight make the Kashmir sapphire a wonder of nature”. And, of course, a collector's wonder - especially in such a once-in-a-lifetime piece.