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Harry Winston Announces Gift to Smithsonian Institution

Harry Winston Announces Gift to Smithsonian Institution

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Frederic de Narp, president and CEO of Harry Winston Inc., right, removes the Hope Diamond from its case as Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem Collection of the National Museum of Natural History, left, and Cristian Samper, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, take part in the unveiling of the Hope Diamond in its new temporary setting, “Embracing Hope,” Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010, at the Museum in Washington. The temporary setting is platinum with 340 baguette diamonds and took more than eight months to create.

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Harry Winston’s historic donation of the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, the new “Embracing Hope” setting for the legendary gem officially debuted during a press conference this morning in Washington, D.C. This marks the first time ever that the fabled 45.52-carat deep blue gem has been exhibited in a new jewelry setting since it was given to the museum by Mr. Winston in November 1958 to help found the National Gem Collection.

Designed and handcrafted in the Harry Winston design studio and jewelry workshop in New York, the temporary “Embracing Hope” setting suspends the Hope Diamond in a sculptural ribbon of 340 baguette diamonds set into platinum. Eight master jewelers devoted more than 1,000 hours to creating the exquisite new setting, which was selected from three different Winston designs by popular vote in an online poll in 2009.

Behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the necklace is featured in the new documentary Mystery of the Hope Diamond, scheduled to air on the Smithsonian Channel on November 21, 2010, including exclusive coverage of Estée Lauder global spokesmodel Hilary Rhoda wearing the jewel during an exclusive photo shoot at the museum.

The centerpiece of the National Gem Collection, the Hope Diamond was given to the museum by Mr. Winston as a gift to the world and to “help educate the public more about precious stones.” One of the most renowned museum icons in the world, the Hope Diamond is today the most visited object in the entire Smithsonian, receiving more than 7 million visitors annually.

Continuing Mr. Winston’s legacy and commitment to the Smithsonian and National Gem Collection, the Company announced a gift of at least $1 million to support the museum’s educational initiatives, which will be generated by the future sale of “Embracing Hope” reset with a new precious gemstone. Harry Winston’s gift to the Smithsonian marks the inaugural gift of the Company’s newly created Harry Winston Hope Foundation, dedicated to inspiring hope and changing lives through education.

Earlier this week (Tuesday), the Hope Diamond made an extremely rare appearance in New York City at Harry Winston’s Fifth Avenue salon for the Company’s historic recreation of its Court of Jewels exhibition, featuring more than $1 billion of Harry Winston fine jewelry and gemstones.

Below, model Hilary Rhoda models the new temporary setting for the Hope Diamond.

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