Harry Winston’s Big Post-WWII Diamond Boom

In the Spartan days of World War II, American women went without diamonds. Even after the armistice, ladies wore jewels only when going out on the town. But Harry Winston had a different vision. In 1946, he fashioned 219 diamonds (26.18 cts. t.w.) into this giant Maltese cross brooch. The next year, Carol Channing was singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” on Broadway, and in Paris, Christian Dior debuted his New Look of ladylike, cinched-waist suits—all of which cried out for sparkly jewelry. “We were coming out of a dry spell,” says Joyce Jonas, president emeritus of the American Society of Jewelry Historians, “and Harry Winston was ahead of everybody. By 1947, women were finally back in wonderful feminine suits. By the early 1950s, they were wearing diamonds in the daytime.” When the brooch—then 10 years old—made the cover of Vogue’s Feb. 1, 1956, edition, i

This content is exclusive to JCK Pro subscribers. Subscribe now to access this and much more with discount code GOPRO21 for $199 for an entire year of access (reg. $249).


Already a JCK Pro? Log in

A JCK Pro subscription is your all-access pass to people and resources on the
cutting edge of the retail jewelry industry, from the industry authority you
know and trust

Learn about the Perks of JCK Pro

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out