By and  on March 26, 2012

Back in 1938, when his company was six years old, Harry Winston came upon a newspaper article about a 726.6-carat diamond — nearly the size of a tennis ball — discovered in Brazil’s San Antonio River. He instantly gathered a few belongings and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Rio de Janeiro.

By the time he arrived, the precious stone was already gone, en route to Belgium to be sold. Winston located a faster ship than the one carrying the diamond and arrived first, snapping it up just before the Belgian buyer had the chance. Winston had the stunner divided into 29 gems, one of which is the famous 48.26-carat, emerald-cut Vargas Diamond — named for Getúlio Dornelles Vargas, Brazil’s president at the time.

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