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The Trouble with Harry Winston

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Industry observers praise Winston for maintaining its first-class reputation. Russell Shor, who covers the diamond industry for a trade publication, says, "Harry Winston associated himself with people of a certain class. He wasn't into pop culture. The intrinsic value at Winston is still from the gems, not the design or hipness. With Winston, you got rocks. And it's still that way. Winston and Tiffany were the real anchors of the high-market trade. Today, you could spend a hundred dollars at Tiffany. You can't spend a hundred dollars at Winston. Whether or not you approve of the way Ron Winston has done things, that part of it has been a wise move."

In the meantime, the battle between the brothers continues, less wisely. To protest what he sees as unfair court rulings against him, Ron has resorted to theatrical protest. He attended one deposition in New York wearing handcuffs. He and his brother do not communicate privately and have not done so for four years.

"I was really hoping maybe you could talk to him," Ron says to me one evening after we've been sitting in his office for two hours. "He really needs to talk to someone other than his lawyers."

I tell Ron I'll keep trying to get his brother to talk to me. Later that night, Ron calls again. He just wants to see whether he can be of further assistance, he says. His friend Jay Lewin gets on the line and asks if I want to join them for dinner. Unfortunately, I have other plans. A week later, Ron is on the phone one more time, calling from L.A. "Something told me you needed to talk to me," he says.

I tell him I still haven't talked to his brother.

"I've got to ask you," he says. "What do you think is going on here?"


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